Farming · Gardening · humor · Turtles

Never Heard of Garden Turtles?

Gardening is not my calling, but this time of year brings out the farming instinct in many of us.

I had a brief conversation with a recent retiree and he was explaining how he has discovered the joy of planting a garden. turtles 5He has 30+ tomato plants, rows upon rows of potatoes, and multiple other vegetables he is carefully nurturing. I was surprised that this business man turned gardener was so excited about his new passion. His face beamed with enthusiasm as he talked about the size of his plot of acreage designated for vegetables. His zeal was contagious, and I briefly contemplated joining the planting craze.

Then I recalled having done that years ago, when I was young, flexible, and energetic.

turtles 6
My dream garden bounty

I eagerly planted lettuce, squash, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe and okra. I watered, weeded, babied, and watched over what I hoped would be a plethora of delicious bounty from my very own garden. It was going to be healthy, beautiful, and delicious.

But I began to notice problems in my small patch. Leaves were chewed on. The ground messed with. And my plants suffering. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. How could this be happening when I was caring for these plants with fervor and diligence?

An unknown enemy was invading my garden, and I couldn’t catch him/her/it…until…I noticed a turtle lumbering around my yard.turtles 1 It didn’t dawn on me that this benign creature could cause damage to my dreams of food production, until I saw a second one, then a third one, and yes, you guessed it, a fourth one.
Now you wonder how I know I was not seeing the same turtle. I decided to paint a number on the back of each turtle, just to make certain there were multiple ones.

By the time I put the number 9 on my garden invaders, I realized I was feeding an extended family of hungry creatures. These critters were feasting on all this new growth I was providing for their edification, and all they had to do was move slowly up and down the rows nibbling on the fresh sprouts emerging from my efforts.

I found the turtles such fun to watch. They were determined, persistent, methodical, and thorough. In fact, I kept working on the garden just to make certain they had something to eat. I didn’t have the heart to kick them out of my yard, and if they were living there, the least I could do was offer them a meal or two. Right?

Let it be known that my garden efforts lasted 2 years, and the number of turtles grew to a total of 14. caution-turtleWe moved from that house, leaving behind the remnants of a garden, and a growing number of yard residents. Well, and yes, my enthusiasm for having a garden.

Thanks to Bernadette at I learned this is National Turtle Day. Learn more at :


12 thoughts on “Never Heard of Garden Turtles?

  1. Wow! Thanks for the laugh, Margo! I know bunnies can eat up gardens…and had a few. And for reasons I will never understand, the squirrels who live here in abundance like to take bites out of my tomatoes…just bites. It’s like they taste the tomato and say “…yuck, I don’t like tomatoes, but wait, what is that red thing over there, hummm, maybe I should taste it…oh, yuck, I hate this…but wait…” so I have to act fast! I’d leave some for them but they only seem to take only one bite. I actually did see a turtle one summer, but that year I had only grown some herbs, onions, jalapeño peppers and tomatoes, which he couldn’t reach…He left quickly! You sure you don’t want to garden again? Sounds like you’ve left those turtles behind you! Loved this post! Jo


    1. Thanks. I left out the active breeding life those cumbersome turtles enjoyed. Well the males enjoyed. The females raised quite a ruckus when it came time to consummate the relationship.


  2. What a sweet story. Your action was a truly kind and thoughtful one. Most people would have tried to keep the turtles out. You showed a truly loving side of your personality. Thank you for sharing.


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