Wednesday, March 7, 2012

HTW: Building a terrarium


I have something to admit: I have two green thumbs. I have two veggie patches and a fruit patch which I am tending slowly. If I ever managed to have a day off from working, uni and writing I would probably spend it in the garden. We don't all have the space for a full on garden though. So today, I wanted to share something beautiful with you; the art of creating a terrarium.

A terrarium is a contained environment which is designed to hold small plants under a controlled condition. Because of the aspect of control, you are essentially able to create your terrarium to look like anything from a desert to a rainforest. Terrariums are also very small, about the size of a necklace pendant even, however, yours can be whatever size you wish it to be.

1. The container: First of all you need to find something for your terrarium to live inside of. It is most common to use a glass bowl however you could use anything really. An opened space will be easier to maintain whilst a closed one harder. It is really up to your skill level.

2. Sand: To start off your terrarium you want to lay down a layer of course sand or pebbles at the bottom of your container. This will allow for water to drain away from the plants and stop them from rotting.

3. Activated Charcoal: This step is only needed if you are making a closed terrarium. The charcoal is used to filter oxygen and keep everything fresh. You can buy this from a pet store in the fish section.

4. Spaghnum Moss: This moss is now placed on top of your sand in an open terrarium or on top of the charcoal in a closed terrarium. This prevents the soil from settling down into the lower layers and essentially destroying your creation.

5. Soil: Now this is where the fun really begins! Just plain old regular potting soil will work fine for this step. Just lay down a thick enough layer that the plants will take to the soil and continue to grow.

6. Plants: You want to select plants which will not grow any larger than a bonsai tree for this stage. Terrariums are supposed to be relatively small so the plants should be also. Try to be careful that your planting scheme is aesthetically pleasing so that you will love it forever. 

7. Decorations: If you choose to, you can add ornaments or decorations to your terrarium to make it look even nicer. This is basically the same as decorating a fish tank.


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