April 24, 2020
These teeny-tiny, mini gardens are easy to care for and a magical way to explore ecosystems! Truly understanding an ecosystem in all of its beauty, wild collaboration, primitive dependency, unimaginable hardiness, and, sadly, fragility could leave all of us overturning every stone for the next hundred years. Fortunately, explorers, scientists, and curious wanderers that came before us have documented findings, allowing us to have some understanding of how these global, microbiological communities sustain.
But the cycle continues….
The surprise, the awe on our kiddos’ faces as they see their first salamander, taste the saltiness of ocean water, perhaps even experience their first bee sting—all of these encounters engage curiosity, wonder, and are potential teaching moments that can provoke primal joy, the kind we hope radiates within us forever.
As we create this mini, home-dwelling ecosystem, let us think of the systems we are part of. Our home, how it fits into our neighborhood, all the creatures that also inhabit that area. How do we impact one another? An empathic exercise that serves greatly during Earth Week and throughout our lifetimes.
You will need
*To source these materials, take a walk in the woods, near a river or pond, you will find what you need there. Take time to explore each item. Some moss is hard to pull up, why? Moss also grows on sticks and rocks. Where is the sand in relation to larger stones? How did they get there?
- A jar, get creative, what do you have at home? Perhaps something that was bound for the landfill?
- Gravel or small stones
- Potting soil
- A small plant
- Add a layer of gravel or larger stones.
- Add a shallow layer of sand.
- Add some soil. If your container has a narrow opening, using a piece of paper rolled into a funnel will make this step much easier!
- Place your moss gently into the container.
- With your finger, tongs, or tweezers, push the moss aside making enough room for your plant’s root ball.
- While holding the plant in one hand, gently break apart the lower part of the plant’s roots. This will encourage the plant to expand its roots in its new home.
- Nestle your plant into the area next to the moss.
- This ecosystem needs water to survive. Gently water your terrarium once a week. One TBSP of water will do.
- This ecosystem also needs the sun. Find a nice sunny spot for your little ecosystem to flourish in your home.
For more terrarium inspiration, click here and take a look at this terrarium that has only been watered once in 53 years!
Above all, be well and stay healthy!