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CAGIS Clubhouse

Jungle in a Jar

Closed jar containing soil and plant matter

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Have you ever dreamed of creating a miniature world in a jar? In this session, we will build our own closed terrariums—self-sustaining ecosystems with plants, rocks, and more. Once you seal your terrarium, it will never need to be watered again! Discover the balance between plant growth, the water cycle, and a thriving environment as our tiny ecosystems come to life

Materials and Preparation:

You will need a container, substrate, filter material, soil, plant material, and some decorations (plus a bit of water). Click below for a list of what materials are suitable to use.

Tip: everything you need can be found at the Dollar store and your garden / a local park!

One air-tight glass container, 500 mL – 1 L in size, such as:

  • Glass canning jar with lid (can be found at the Dollar store)
  • Clean peanut butter jar
  • Clean pasta sauce jar
  • Clear tupperware with lid
  • Glass with a plastic-wrap cover

Enough small pebbles, aquarium gravel, or outdoor gravel to make a 2-3 cm layer in your jar

Enough filter material to cover the base of your jar. The filter can be made of:

  • Loofah, cheesecloth, pantyhose, moss, burlap/ribbon with holes, horticultural charcoal, net fabric, or any other material that will let water but not soil through (can be found at Dollar store)
  • You may need scissors to cut your filter material during the session

Enough soil to make a 5 cm layer in your jar (enough to cover your plant’s roots and give the roots room to grow). You can use:

  • Potting mix for houseplants, or
  • Soil from your garden or from a public park

You will need to collect plant material to put in the terrarium. Collect your plants the day before and make sure they have roots, then keep the roots in a moist tissue until the session.

You can use any of the following:

  • Violets
  • Clover
  • Woodsorrel
  • Mosses – collect from middle of a clump, no more than 10% of the patch, or collect from between paver stones
  • Purslane
  • Ground ivy
  • Plantain
  • Henbit
  • Speedwell
  • Any other small, shallow-rooted garden plants from a shady area in your garden or other public place
  • Small, shallow rooted tropicals that can withstand humidity (e.g., ferns from the grocery store)

 

You can get these from a grocery store, your garden, or a public place like a park or outdoor garden. You could also use fresh herbs or try to plant vegetables like celery or spring onions (as long as they have roots!)

Feel free to bring more than one plant! 

Bring things to give your terrarium its own unique twist! You can use:

  • Small twigs
  • Small pebbles
  • Miniature items for crafts (ex: beads, charms, shells)
  • Stickers for the outside of your jar
  • Pine cones 
  • Charms

Not sure where to find this stuff? 

At your local grocery store or dollar store, you can find: a jar; aquarium gravel; filter material; some small tropical plants (ferns, etc), fresh herbs, or you could try regrowing vegetables like celery or spring onions; decorative items

At your local park or in your garden, you can find: small pebbles or gravel; soil; small plants in shady, moist areas; decorations.

Experts:

Hareem Haider and Alexandria Carrick are apprentices in horticulture with the Niagara Parks Commission.

Hareem Haider in a field of flowers
Alex Carrick
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