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GROWING PLANTS IN TERRARIA

We are going to grow plants in terraria. A terrarium is a
glass, globe-shaped bowl with an opening that is less wide
than the widest part of the bowl. Some terraria have glass
lids, and some have no lids. Only a small amount of soil is
used, often with fine gravel on the very bottom, and
sometimes two or three pretty rocks are put on top, to make
the terrarium more interesting. A very fancy terrarium might
have a very little statue (or "figurine") of an animal, like
a squirrel or a kitten, among the plants. Small goldfish
bowls can be used for our terraria. Each terrarium should be
labeled with a sticker with the name of the student on it.

Put about one-half inch of clean gravel (the kind used in
fish tanks) into the bottom of a goldfish bowl, and add about
two inches of moist potting soil. If you have some clean,
pretty rocks, put two or three on top of the soil, not close
together. With your finger, make three holes in the potting
soil, about one-half inch deep, not close together, and not
close to the sides of the bowl, and put one seed in each
hole. Cover the seeds with potting soil and press the soil
down gently.

Decide if you want to put on a lid, or not, and if you want
your terrarium to be in a sunny place or a shady place.
Since we are doing this to find out how plants grow best in
terraria, they should not be all the same. There should be
some terraria in shady places; some with lids and some
without lids. There should be some terraria in sunny places;
some with lids and some without lids. Some of the terraria
without lids should be in places where they get a draft, like
from an open door or window. Write down where your terrarium
is, whether it has a lid, if it is in the sun or the shade,
if it is near a draft or not.

When the soil is dry on top, it should have some water.
Don't just pour it in, because the seeds will wash away, and
it would also make a ditch in the soil. Dip your hand into a
bowl of water and shake the water off your fingers into the
terrarium. Do this a few times each time you water it, and
it will have enough water.

Watch your terrarium, and write down how many days it takes
for the little stems to show above the soil, and how many
more days it takes for the stems to get leaves. Make a note
when you water the terrarium. See how tall the stems get by
measuring them every few days, and write it down.

Compare your terrarium with those of the other students, and
see what makes the plants grow best. Ask your teacher to
help you make a graph to show the plants' growth.


 
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