Thursday, February 9, 2012

Green-Thumbing It

     My mom is such a talented green-thumbed-gardener, and I'm still baffled on how I just killed my rosemary bush in a matter of 2 measly months. But she is just sweet enough (or plain crazy enough), to never lose faith in her daughter, so this week she made me a terrarium! It's super cool.
     We'll see how long I can keep these plants alive. I told her if they died, I'd just replace them with fake plants, and she'd never know, because the ones she used were so pretty, I had to ask if they were real!
     I asked her to do the honors of writing a guest post on how to make one of these bad boys, because I think having a mini-green house inside your house is the niftiest thing since sliced bread. So without further adieu, meet Sandy, the lady who's responsible for blessing the world with my presence:

Gathering Supplies:

1. The Container 
     I shopped hard for glass containers and found a large, thick glassed jar with a lid (it looked like a Tom's Candy Container) in the dishes section at Target, for the best price {$15}. The second place with a decent selection was Marshall's Department Store.  Remember, it doesn't have to have a lid. And I preferred the taller and wider mouth containers for easier assembly.
2. The Plants
     Use 3, 5, or 7 plants. An odd-numbered arrangement tends to be more interesting than even-numbered arrangements.
3. The Soil
     1 bag of potting soil. I think the organic moisture control is the best choice.
4.  The Stones
     1 small bag of stones. You can pick small stones the size of marbles from your backyard and save a bit of money, or I purchased a 30 pound bag of City Gravel at Lowes {$3.20}. 

Making the Terrarium:

1. Put a one inch layer of stones in the bottom of your terrarium**
2. Fill the container about half full of potting soil
3. Remove the plants from their plastic pots and arrange them in your terrarium. Move this arrangement around, looking for something that pleases you.
4. Once you have found an arrangement you like, fill the rest of the container with potting soil and gently tap it down so it is firm and the plants are supported.
5. Water with a moderate amount of H20.
6. Put the terrarium in a place with moderate or occasional sunlight. 

**Want your terrarium to last longer and be even hardier?

     You can add 1 step to this whole process. 
     Purchase a bag of something called Spaghnum Moss, or Spanish Moss. This is a stringy material that will keep the roots of your plants drier and healthier. After you put your drainage rocks in the terrarium, add a one-inch thick layer of the moss (as if it were a carpet covering the rocks). Then add your soil. 
     What this does is prevent the soil from slowly, over time, draining down into the rocks.

Caring for your terrarium:
     A terrarium is really easy to care for. Check on it every day by sticking your finger in the soil. If it is dry, then water it. Examine the bottom of the terrarium. If there is water among the stones then you should not water it for a few days.

If you use a really dramatic container and choose an attractive set of plants, you can make a beautiful terrarium in one hour. And it is something you will really be proud of, especially when other people comment on how beautiful it is!

Kayla gives me too much credit for a green thumb.  I take care of my gardens with great insult.  It's hard work, but good therapy for me, mentally and physically.  I feel like a failure when I manage to kill a plant because I cannot figure out how to care for it, or maybe I over-care for it.  Who knows.  But I have a system: when I kill it, I try another type of plant.......and hopefully if it survives 2 years, it will become a strong plant.  One thing is for sure, nothing lives for ever!

Thanks Mom!

Any tips for me {K} on keeping plants alive?

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