This year, as a reminder to be more aware of my impact on the environment, I decided to make a terrarium for Earth Day. Terrariums are containers with fascinating and beautiful plantscapes inside—they’re like little worlds.
My terrarium project was inspired by the expert tips and ideas at stormthecastle.com. Here’s what I did.
First, I did was not spend a lot of money. The most expensive item was activated charcoal and it cost 7 dollars at my neighborhood pet shop. I decided to splurge because activated charcoal will filter smells from any future decomposing plant matter. In total, all of my materials cost less than 12 dollars and I was able to walk to all of the stores!
• Small Stones or Pebbles (Not pictured. I found mine in the driveway.)
• Activated Charcoal (Most pet stores will have this.)
• Small plants or seeds (I used thyme and some type of fern from my neighborhood flower shop)
• A container (I had this green pitcher lying about. Plastic soda bottles and small jars with lids are great for making terrariums with kids. Try to recycle a container for your terrarium or find something cool at home.)
• Soil (Also from the flower shop. This little bag only cost 94 cents!)
• Spanish moss (I didn’t know where to get this and it’s optional. It would keep dirt from settling into the charcoal, while allowing air and water to cycle through.)
• Cover the bottom of the container with some stones. This will keep the soil from getting too wet.
• Add a layer of activated charcoal.
• Now cover that layer with the Spanish moss if you have it. I did not.
• Arrange your plants. Doing this in a container was a little harder than I anticipated. My terrarium looks jungle-wild! Make sure that the roots are well covered and have room to expand downward. I mixed taller plants with the thyme to give the scene visual appeal.
• Water! The soil should always be damp but not soggy. Check it every few days. Enclosed terrariums need less frequent watering. They go through a water cycle, reusing their own condensation. Open terrariums, like mine, also collect condensation, but more water escapes through the top.
• After I watered my terrarium I patted down the soil. If you’re using Spanish moss, the last step is to cover any open soil with a layer of it.
I added my favorite Schleich cow figure for fun. Like the pitcher, it was also lying about uselessly. Even though it looks out of place in such a wild environment, I think the cow gives a sense of scale to my terrarium and makes it interesting.
You still have 10 days before the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. That’s plenty of time to prepare this simple craft and get really creative. We’d love to see pictures of the terrariums you make. Send them to ellen (at) growingtreetoys (dot) com and we’ll put them on the blog!
Happy planting, everyone!
This post is a part of the Growing Tree Toys Earth Day 2010 Series. Terrarium Kits will be for sale on our site within 2 months—so look out! And for anything else that you ever wanted to know about terrarium making, explore stormthecastle.com.