Na­ture in a jar

Kids Go Gardening - - News -

When the days are shorter and there’s less time to play out­doors win­ter is a good time to bring a bit of na­ture in­doors! Grow your own house­plants or take it a step fur­ther and cre­ate a mag­i­cal ter­rar­ium!

A ter­rar­ium is a glass con­tainer with plants grow­ing in it. Look around home or in a sec­ond hand shop for some­thing to up-cy­cle into your ter­rar­ium. It might be an old glass vase, a fish bowl, or a cof­fee plunger. Trop­i­cal plants are great for ter­rar­i­ums be­cause they love hu­mid­ity - damp misty air around their leaves. Look for tiny house­plants in the gar­den cen­tre. Once plants start grow­ing, the ter­rar­ium be­comes a mini cli­mate of its own. The leaves re­lease water vapour (gas), which turns back into liq­uid on the glass and trick­les back down onto the soil, just like rain! If the ter­rar­ium has a lid, it can go weeks with­out wa­ter­ing. Some ter­rar­i­ums have just one plant. In a large con­tainer you can make a fairy for­est, Juras­sic jun­gle or a trop­i­cal rain­for­est.

YOU WILL NEED:

−− A• glass con­tainer −− Some• small peb­bles −− Spagh­num• moss (or a piece of fab­ric) −− Pot­ting• mix −− Small• plants

1 Start with a layer of peb­bles, at least 3cm deep (deeper for a larger con­tainer). This is for drainage. 2 Lay a thin bed of damp sphag­num moss (or fab­ric) over the peb­bles. This stops the pot­ting mix falling down into the peb­bles, while let­ting the water drain through. 3 Add pot­ting mix, deep enough for your plant roots. Ideally the con­tainer should be no more than half full at this stage. 4 Try out your plant (or plants) un­til you are happy with your ar­range­ment. Take the plant out of its pot, make a hole and care­fully plant it. A spoon or chop­stick may be help­ful. Leave some space for plants to grow and spread.

TER­RAR­IUM CARE …

Keep your ter­rar­ium where it gets plenty of light but not di­rect sun. Sun shin­ing through the glass will burn the plants. Make sure your plants are clean of dis­ease. Pick off any leaves that look sick. Water very care­fully. Not too much! If there’s con­den­sa­tion on the glass, don’t water. Feed about once a fort­night with house­plant food (1/4 strength). If the ter­rar­ium gets crowded you may need to prune off some leaves or take out a whole plant. Re­move any plant that looks very sick or dies.

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