Wild Food Sources – aka weeds

Having crossed the channel and now residing in the french countryside, we are foraging regularly for wild fresh sources of lizard food, I have mentioned in previous posts the wonders of dandelions (or pissenlit) as they are fondly known as here, but  have also discovered some other sources of wild foods, that probably grow in your garden that you can use to feed your iggies and uromastyx. (these are often found in the boxes of dry mixes you buy from the pet shop.

Ribwort (plaintain) leaves

Sow Thistle (sonchus), leaves and flowers (not as prickly as they look, especially young leaves)

Clover, leaves and flowers

Whilst our Uromastyx has embraced the move and the new foods, Iggy is not entirely convinced yet.

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Can’t believe its been nearly a year since I last posted.

To cut a long story shorts, Ive been running my own craft business, working full time, helping my husband set up his business, visiting sick relatives, and of course looking after my precious lizards – to time has flown pretty quickly, especially since I broke my arm in January.

Anyway back in business now and have planted up some lovely treats for the lizards including the staple nasturtiums, collards, turnips, carrots and leeks, some chives and spring onions (for Pooky, they are his favourite if you don’t have any dandelions)

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Nasturtiums are flowering

the nasturtiums have finally flowered,  although they are quite short and stumpy examples this year, a few flowers from each will give the lizards a nice treat in their dinner each day.


The peas and mangetout are over, I think the combination of long dry periods (although I was watering) and heavy downpours slightly spoiled the peas, they swelled up to be really big peas, but the lizards don’t care how they look, just as long as they taste great, and the did until this week.  Now they are over, so I can feed any shoots to the lizards then use the container for something else.

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First mangetout ready to eat

I’m so excited the first of the seasons mangetout peas are ready to harvest and it’s only been 4 and half weeks since I planted out the tiny specimens I bought, they are now a good three feet tall, very bushy and not only have delicate white flowers but pods too.

Cheech and Pooky had some in their dinners last night (and I had a sneaky taste while I was picking them).  Small but perfectly formed (they are best eaten before they grow too large) these peas are at their best right now, I will keep picking daily to prolong the fruit production, but we only need a handful every night to satisfy the lizards.

Any spare mangetout are going into a stir-fry.  We also feed pea shoots to the lizards, to add variety and and reduce wastage.

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lizard shaped gifts

Father’s day is fast approaching, and I will be off to see my dad on Sunday, unfortunately he is not keen on lizards but my brother owns a fat-tailed gecko, and I’m sure IF he were a dad he would love to get one of these lovely 100% silk hand painted ties or maybe a knitted reptile, this company has chameleons, crocodiles and snakes.  Brother’s birthday is coming up soon, maybe I’ll buy him a tie.

brown gecko type lizard hand painted 100% silk tie

brown gecko type lizard hand painted 100% silk tie


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watercress is an ideal staple food for herbivorous lizards

Watercress is a nutritionally sound green leafy staple food as it has a calcium to phosphrous ration of 2:1, it also has 2% protein and 0% fat.

The green mustardy, slightly spicy tasting leaves are also sources of  Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Copper, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.

Both our Iggy and uromastyx love watercress, and will eat it from our hands.

For smaller lizards separate the leaves from the stalks and give just the leaves but if you have a uromastyx they do generally like stalky bits too, just break them into manageable bits.  Our big iguana has the stalky bits left attached to the laves but not in big clumps as he can be a bit of pig at feeding times and gobble too  much at once.

Watercress is not easy to grow in most peoples back gardens as it requires large quantities of semi-alkaline water but is readily available in most supermarkets but at over £1 per bag, so my alternative is to grow american landcress, it does have a slighttely higher ratio of phospherous than watercress it is still fine to feed to herbivorous lizards.

As with all foods for lizards never limit your reptiles to one type of food, always alternate between a variety of foods and never consistently offer one type of food.

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Time savers in the Lizards veggie garden

Life has been so busy and spring kind of crept up on me.  I realised I had been neglecting the lizards veggie garden and had a spurt of activity.

I eagerly set about getting the containers ready with compost on a really Saturday afternoon, only to find out all my vegetable seeds had gone mouldy over the winter and I had nothing left!

Panic! Luckily we live very close to a Range store which stocks ready to plant out vegetables and fruit plants.

I’m saved: with 15 minutes to store closing time, I leave with two Courgette plants, two Butternut squash plants, a Coriander (or Cilantro as our American cousins like to call it) and some Mangetout plants., along with a selection of Nasturtium and Parsley seeds.

All ready to be planted out, with none of the hassle of waiting for seeds to germinate, careful picking out and replanting into containers.  This is a great time and space-saving tip.

If you are new to growing veggies for your lizards then this is agreat way for you get started with commonly available veggies from reputable stores.

Alternatively I find local craft fairs and markets a great source of ready to plant veggies.

if you have neighbours who are into growing vegetables get talking and ask them if they have a surplus of a vegetable you need, they might be able to give you some ready to plant out specimens, from their prickings, as generally when growing from seed gardeners produce too many seedlings

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Just received the new veg and flower seed catalogue for 2011

Decision time, which veggies to grow in 2011 and which seeds to buy.

I just received my 2011 seed catalogue and enjoyed mulling over the new varieties available this year, true watercress is a definite addition to the garden this year.

Now the garden has thawed somewhat I can start to think about the possibilities and wonder how I’m going to fit in gardening with all my other hobbies; running, crafts, a small online business and day job as well as a husband, family and friends, it may a busy year but my lovely lizards deserve it, so I’ll find the time somehow.

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Autumn is here in the lizard garden

Its been such a busy year, time has flown by so fast and I didn’t realise how quickly until the hibiscus finished flowering, although the nasturtiums are hanging in there still, despite the colder weather we are still getting a couple of flowers for the lizards to eat.

The slugs and snails seem to have the leeks and lettuces that I grew, but the lizards have been eating plenty home grown strawberries and runner beans. My friend gave me some runner bean seedling which I planted out in grow bags, and they have been providing lots of long green beans since July, which the lizards seems to be enjoying, although you have chop them as the peas inside can be on the large side. These are almost over now though. Cheech the iguana likes to eat these from our hand, biting off mouthfuls.
It’s time to start thinking about the over winter foods, I think mustard and collard greens outdoors and clover, alfalfa and mustard/cress sproutings indoors are a good start.
I have never tried to grow clover before so I will do a special post on growing sprouts from the start to finish.
I think the landcress might survive the winter if its kept under the sun tunnels, so plan to plant these this weekend.

I have to try and get as many food types sown before the weather gets too cold and definately before the nights start to draw in, once the clocks go back at the end of October.

We are still missing our dear little Bindi madly and decided not to get another female companion for Pooky, he’s happy being a mummies boy and playing on the sympathy of being a widower.

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news from the garden

Well, I didn’t get round to posting the schedule but have been getting on with planting seeds in the garden.

I planted the seeds a few weeks ago and now the mustard greens, collards and landcress are nice little seedlings.

The pea and nasturtium seeds didn’t sprout, so I bought a new batch of nasturtium seeds and planted those last weekend, fingers crossed they will come up in time for the summer.

The hibiscus have started to grow new leaves and are starting to fill out.

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