Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our 1st terrarium with a step by step guide - Activity for "SCHOOL OUT" Day 17

Our long awaited to-do list ! Finally, we sat down and build our first Terrarium. Thanks to a friend who passed us his remaining materials from a Terrarium making Workshop.

What is a terrarium ?
It is a collection of small plants growing in a transparent, sealed container.  The enclosed environment can actually be used to illustrate how an ecosystem works.

What you could observed on the inside the terrarium’s walls could be some natural processes like; photosynthesis, respiration, and the water cycle. The water in the terrarium is recycled, passing from liquid form to gas and back again. As the moisture in the air condenses on the glass walls, it returns to the soil and is absorbed by the plants.

Back to the materials used, we went to Japan Home to get the air tight container and another friend helped to get us the potted plants. Big thanks to these friends around who are always ready to lend a helping hand ! We are definitely blessed !

I got Xav to choose what he wanted to decorate his terrarium with and there came his trashies !

Ready to embark on building the terrarium with us ? Here goes after cleaning the container inside out, start with laying a layer of charcoal.

Follow by a thing layer of pebbles/ granite.

Helicopter view

A closer look of the moss.

Pour the  compost and sand together and start mixing. Depending on what plant you are going to put in,  cactus needs more sand to compost ratio. But for normal green plants, ratio would be 1 : 1 .

Start filling the container about 1/3 of the height of the container and flatten the soil.

What I did here was I took a piece of A4 size paper and rolled into a cylinder, with the intention of making a hollow space for the plant to sit in.

Next gently pulled up the plant from the pot and placed it into the hollow space.

After covering the roots with soil, cover the soil with beautiful pebbles and put in the toy that you like.

After placing it, use a water spray (those use for ironing would do  as well) and spray about 20 -  30 times before closing it airtight.

Here we present our completed Terrarium !

Materials needed :
- Air tight container (You can recycle the containers from those Chinese New Year Ccookies)
- Charcoal
- Soil
- Coloured pebbles
- Moss
- Potted Plant
- A favourite toy

How to care for your terrarium :
-  Place the terrarium in a bright area with indirect sunlight. The plants may burnt if  the terrarium  gets too hot as it is a closed system.

-  A properly maintained terrarium can last for weeks or even 6 months without needing water.

-  If too much condensation is taking place and the sides of the terrarium area is constantly wet (You can visually see your plant clearly). Open up the top of the container temporarily to allow it to dry.

- Pruning may be required to keep the plant small enough to be fitted in the container. Use a scissors to tidy it up.

- For terrariums, normally rapid growth of the plant is not encouraged. Hence, do not add any fertiliser.

You can also refer to the 6 simple steps guide here for building your own terrarium.

Where can you buy Terrarium kits ?
The Garden Shop at the Visitor Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tel: 6471 7501) for $29.90.

- Far East Flora has these kits available at $29.90 too. I found them at the Citysquare Mall outlet.

Have fun building your own Terrarium !

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