In this Instructable I will teach you how to create a miniature garden out of everyday household items. There are optional parts to this project where the Step will be labeled with (optional). All optional items are not typically found in an everyday household.
-Plastic Take-out tray (be creative, you can use anything that can retain water)
-seeds (I'll be using three maple seeds that I found in the front yard)
-soil (I'm going to use soil from a compost pile)
-empty water bottle + cap
-industrial epoxy or super glue or PVC glue
-natural clay (not Sculpey)
Step 1: Germinating the Seeds
1) Wet a paper towel and place in tray
Optional) If using maple seeds, gently peel away seed coat that allows the seed to float in the air. All that should be left is a green oval seed.
2) Place seeds beneath paper towel
3) Fill tray with water
4) Check everyday to see if the root and stem sprout. Once the stem sprouts, move onto Step 2 "Creating the Garden"
Personal Opinion) I used damp paper towel to wrap the roots and keep the stem upward. In doing this I believe the stem is now more erect than before. I let it sit like this for 2 days.
Step 2: Creating the Garden (Optional Version)
If you wish to go on with the optional items, I suggest doing them before adding the seeds. Personally I plan on making a second one later, during the summer, with the optional automatic 7 day automatic water irrigation. To do this you need to:
1) Create a thin yet sturdy clay pot to keep water for the main plant(s).
2) Drill a hole in the bottom of the area of where you plan to place the plant. Drill multiple miniature holes on the bottom, away from the main plants.
3) Paint if you wish to.
4) Cut the eyedropper(s) top part where water is stored. Cut two small holes into the storage area.
5) Install eyedropper(s) into the hole(s). (Don't be immature and laugh...)
6) Glue PVC pipes together to create a flowing network to both main plants and miniature holes.
7) Glue bottle cap to network.
8) Place clay pots into tray.
9) Add soil and add plants/grass.
10) Fill water bottle with water and screw into bottle cap.
-May I remind you that if the bottle isn't upside down it will not work.
-PVC pipes are on the bottom of tray, eyedropper(s) are on top.
- Eyedropper(s) must be in the water and soil. You should not be able to see it if done correctly.
How it works?
Water creates and air-tight seal when contacted with soil. As water dries up, so does that air-tight seal. Once the air-tight seal is gone, water seeps back into the ground through the irrigation ports (eyedropper(s)). I came up with this idea from Aqua Globes.
Step 3: Creating the Garden (Be Creative)
As I was trying to get the miniature forest/plain, I thought there are a lot of ways to create your garden. Be creative is my best tip when creating this garden. Research the plants, figure out what soil, what environment, etc. You can make the Sahel plains, or a pine forest, or maybe you just want a flower.
These instructions are based on my garden:
1) Choose fertile soil from the compost pile or store.
2) Fill tray with soil.
3) Plant your plants into the soil just enough so the roots are unseen.
4) Sprinkle water onto your new compact apartment garden.
Step 4: Conclusion
Try adding some earthworms and dead, dry leaves to the garden. The earthworms will eat the leaves and go #2... Thus creating fertile soil for the plants.
Why is a compact garden so amazing?
Any type of plant is an automatic air filter. They take in Co2 and exhale Oxygen through stomata(s), usually underneath the leaf. Without oxygen, all animals on Earth would not be able to breathe. Sorry for the little 7th grade science lesson...
Comments and questions are always welcome. Please rate this based on, if you actually attempted to build it, not opinion. I'll try and post pictures of the original design I set up for this instructable, during the summer.