The Terrarium Experiment
March 15, 2014
I do not have a green thumb, or fingers for that matter. I've always wanted to have green, (living and growing) things around me. But I really battle to keep indoor plants alive. As for growing anything from seed, that for me has been as unlikely as me becoming the President of the United States! Kevin is a green thumb. I am green with envy. (HA - get all the green? I think I may be channeling my inner Irish in honor of St Paddy's day on the 17th!)
So last year at the end of summer I decided to try an experiment. I had some cuttings of basil that I had put in jars, and old bottles. The basil cuttings came from my outdoor containers. I noticed a funny thing. The cuttings were starting to sprout roots. I was amazed! (I did some research (thanks google) and found out that basil readily grew roots!) Since winter was coming, I wanted to do something with my basil cuttings, and I thought it would be really cool if we could have fresh basil all through winter! (And before you think to suggest that I should just go out and transplant my outdoor plants and bring them inside... just remember - I do not have a green thumb!)
So I decided to plant these cuttings into a terrarium.
I did some more googling, and visiting my local Walmart, and got to work.
I selected three glass vases of various sizes. I decided to have open terrariums (and decided I'd just put a plate over the opening.) I already had some potting soil from the spring time. I also decided to get some cuttings from other plants that I had growing outside (hen n chick for example) that I knew to be particularly hardy. I also toyed with the idea of buying accessories to make an actual "fairy garden." (Yes I know, I was getting ahead of myself.) I restrained myself from buying any fairy garden accessories - but you have got to admit who wouldn't want to buy all that cute stuff? - and settled for some colored marbles. I also got some crushed stones, charcoal and some filter fabric from the aquarium section of Walmart.
I then looked up on WikiHow how to mix the soil. Idea is to start with a layer of small rocks. Then I put in a layer of charcoal, and I cut some of that filter fabric and put that on top of the charcoal. I put the soil layer on top of that, and I was ready for planting. I had three cuttings of basil - I placed two of those in the largest container, and the third in a small container. I also placed my "hardy" cuttings including some hen n chicks and some other succulent types. (I am sorry I simply don't know their names.) Sprayed the soil down. You must be careful not to over water as there is no place for the water to drain. I found a spot by a south facing window. I placed my plates over the openings.
I watched in amazement as the plants grew roots and grew. The two basil cuttings in the larger container developed a funny smell, and had tiny white bugs. I let nature take its course, and was very careful to watch the remaining basil plant. Its doing wonderfully. The bugs have not attacked any of the other plants, but have completly demolished the basil plants. I keep a tight lid on them, and in a couple of weeks I plan to clean it out, and disinfect completely.
The smaller basil plant is doing well. We are able to have on occasion fresh basil. It smells right. (I wonder whether the off smell I was smelling in the other basil plants was because they were infected?) I have flourishing hen n' chick, and other succulents.
Above: The Terrarium Experiment!
Below: Infected basil...
And the healthy, good smelling basil...
My succulent terrarium is doing well.
I am hoping that my healthy basil makes it so that I can plant it in my outdoor container once danger of frost is over (that's after Mother's Day.) Hang in there little plant!