Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Present...

I couldn't post this earlier, because my mom would've figured out what she was getting for mother's day.  I was at a nurse practitioner conference recently and one of the silent auction items was a closed container terrarium.  I really liked it and the bid went a little higher than I was willing to spend so I just asked how she learned about making the terrarium.  She said a friend and herself put their terrariums together following step by step container garden instruction.  So I figured I could do the same.  The kids helped me make a smaller one for myself and a larger one for my mom.  I was surprised to find the glass containers so reasonable at Walmart.  ($6.97 for small and $9.97 for larger one).  Here are the steps and some pictures from our adventure.  One comment- I think I should've put more activated charcoal in both because there seemed to be quite a bit of condensation.  I've overcome the condensation issue by removing the lid from time to time to let the container air out.  Happy planting. The below step by step process minus pictures and captions is from: http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/terrarium-basics.htm

1. Selecting a container - The container can be almost anything at all. You can choose something dish like to create an open air container or something bottle like to create a closed environment terrarium which is a bigger challenge to make and to maintain.

2. A Layer of course sand or pebbles is placed in the bottom of the container. This allows for good drainage of the water in the terrarium.

3. Activated Charcoal - If you are making a closed container terrarium you should next place a layer of activated charcoal over the pebbles/sand layer. In a closed environment this charcoal will filter the air and keep it fresh. This is the type of charcoal used in aquarium filters so you can purchase it at any pet shop with aquarium supplies. If you are making an open top terrarium there is no need for this charcoal.
charcoal found at pet store- Walmart doesn't carry in their pet area
4. Add a layer of Spaghnum Moss on top. This prevents the soil in your terrarium from settling down into the pebbles. It is kind of a like a filter that will allow the water to filter down but not the soil. If you don't have spaghnum moss a very fine screen will work well here but over time the screen will rust and need to be replaced.
Moss found at Earl May probably the priciest piece of the project considering it came in 8 x 11 size envelope for $10

5. Add Soil - Regular potting soil works fine. There is no need to try a fancy mix. But if you are creating a desert scene and using cactus you may want to get potting soil specifically designed for them.

6. Add the plants and or seeds. Care should be taken in this step. You want to arrange things in a way that is pleasing to the eye. You may want to make sketches before you plant. Or you may want to dig some small holes and move the plants around -trying different locations and arrangements.
I'm horrible about knowing the names of the plants I plant- likely never to reach master gardener status

7. Finishing touches - Add ornaments or other decorations. These add a nice touch to your terrarium.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry the first post didn't go through with my pictures or the step by step process. Hope this is more helpful