Introduction: Fern Nursery

Picture of Fern Nursery

Are you an enthusiastic tennis player/botanist? chances are you have several cases of tennis balls laying around. This Instructables will show you how to use up those empty containers to grow a your own (nearly care free) baby ferns right on your windowsill! I tried this just as an experiment and it worked so well that i felt i should share this idea.

Please Note: I had to go back and retake pictures of the whole project so some of the things aren't exactly they same from picture to picture.

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Step 1: Tools & Supplies

Picture of Tools & Supplies

There are very few things needed for this project.

Materials:
Tennis Ball container
Cardboard tube
Tape
Soil
A pinch of love

Tools:
Drill
Scissors
Garden Trowel

Step 2: Watering Holes

Picture of Watering Holes

Your fern should not need to be watered very often at all because very little water escapes the container, but eventually you will need to add a little more. That's where the water holes come in handy, they're little holes drilled into the top (actually the bottom) of the container. Any size drill bit will work but the smaller it is the more holes should be drilled. I used a 3/16 drill bit and drilled 2 holes.

Step 3: Plant-holder

Picture of Plant-holder

This step is to make a porous receptacle to hold the dirt in, making the tennis ball container easily cleaned if removed. First, cut a section longer than you think you will need. next, find the seam and tear along until it is no longer a tube. Tape it back together (taping on the inside improves aesthetics). When taping, make the tube larger in diameter than original, this is to give the fern more room and to fit the tube better. It also helps to trim at least one side to make it sit flatly on the tennis ball lid.

Step 4: Collecting and Planting

Picture of Collecting and Planting

Fill the receptacle about 2/3 full of soil (best to use natural/organic soil) and go find the baby fern you wish to transplant. Look in shaded, moist areas near other ferns. Once located, gently dig out the fern. Pack the ferns roots gently into the receptacle.

Tip: Leave extra space when removing the fern as to not damage the roots, then gently brush off the excess soil.

Step 5: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

Add just a tad bit of water and place on a window ledge that gets minimal sun. Enjoy!

Step 6: The Ferns

Picture of The Ferns

I live in the Pacific Northwest where ferns abound in several species. For this project I used the Western Sword Fern and the Lady Fern. The Lady Fern grows in moist-wet soil in mostly shade while the Western Sword prefers things a little drier.

The Lady Fern has been in this container longer and has been thriving! I'm curious how well the Western Sword will do.

Comments

hydrnium.h2 (author)2009-07-07

I sort of assumed you were going to eat the fiddle heads, not just grow them. I hear they taste like spinach.

QueenQuill (author)hydrnium.h22010-09-23

I didn't know that any ferns were edible! So I looked it up, and yes, at least one variety is edible!  See: http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4060e/  I wish these grew where I live (Utah).  I wonder if I could buy some....

Father Christmas (author)2009-06-25

Is the pinch of love really necessary? Because, I am kinda running low right now.

monkeysee (author)2009-06-22

I've only tried it with ferns, don't know if it would work with other plants but i don't see why not...

lemonie (author)2009-06-22

I'm surrounded by ferns, they're like weeds. Still they're quite nice. Good Instructable. L

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