Unless you live in the tropics, having a year-round garden is probably out of the question. For those of you who live in the lovely land of seasons, one great way to grow in the off-season is by building a terrarium.
A terrarium is a small container that allows you to control the conditions of the plant that is grown inside. A terrarium can mimic a variety of climates – from the rainforest to the desert – which means you can use them to grow just about any plant that you want, regardless of your natural climate. Terrariums can also add a lovely touch of greenery to the inside of your home when outside conditions are at their bleakest. Terrariums are also low-maintenance and take up a small amount of space.
Making a terrarium is actually a fairly simple project that can reap big rewards. Here is how you do it:
Start with a clear glass container. There is not a “best” type of container – you can use anything from a vase to an old pickle jar. Just make sure that the container has a wide enough mouth through which you can insert your plant.
Lay rocks at the bottom of your container. For rocks you can use anything from normal pebbles to gravel to charcoal to decorative marbles. The rocks are there to help with aeration and drainage. The amount of rocks should be relative to the size of the container (i.e. the taller or bigger the container, the more rocks you add), but the general level is 1-2 inches. Then cover the rocks with a layer of damp moss or sphagnum.
Once you have your initial layer in your container, the time has come to lay down your soil. Use the correct soil for the type of plants that you are choosing to grow inside your terrarium.
At this point you should have a varied, lumpy, and interesting terrain. You can now take your plants and transport them into your terrarium. You plant your greens in a terrarium in the same way that you would plant them outside – gently release the roots, place them in the soil, and add soil around the plant. Make sure there is enough space for them to grow and that the plants are not coming out of the container. You also want to push down the soil so that there are not too many air pockets.
Before you leave your terrarium to grow, take the time to water your plants. Watering now and in the future will depend on the type of plants that you put inside the terrarium. Always make sure you follow the plant guide so that you don’t overwater your plants. If you need to create a warm and humid environment, place a lid on the top of your container. For a cooler environment, you can leave your terrarium open. If you leave it open, is always a good idea to place a screen on top of the terrarium in order to protect your plants from animals or insects.
At that, you’re ready to sit back and enjoy the greenery in your home!