Now it is time to bring life to his project!
The plants that made the cut-off for the demijohn are:
- Maidenhair Fern
- Peperomia Peppermill
- Ficus Benjamina Var
The Parlour Palm almost made it but he was concerned about space.
This is important – you do not want to crowd your terrarium. You need to create a balance of life-cycle with moisture, light, and air-flow. Too many plants and you start to lose light and moisture while creating the wrong balance in air-flow.
If you’re observant (and all aspiring Evil Genius should be), you have noticed the Maidenhair Fern … And how big it is.
Good news is: ferns are fairly easy to break up. Sinister found a “how-to” video on Martha Stewart’s website. Seriously. Despite her jail time, she is pretty close to EG-material.
Divide and Conquer:
Any plant you put in has to fit through the opening.
Maidenhair Fern can be divided fairly easily with a knife. Find the nodes on the plant (cluster points for the roots) and cut around them.
When putting the foundation layers in, Sinister used a tube to direct the flow. That probably would have worked here too.
Once in the vessel, move the plant gently with a long stick. When you have it in place, gently push the plant into the soil with the stick.
Each plant needs to have space away from the others (just like any sibling relationship). Sinister used some long-ish tweezers to “direct” his drop. His aim was pretty good.
The last step was to add a little top up soil for the plants, and a few table-spoons of water. Enough to moisten the soil but don’t saturate it. The condensation cycle should start within a day or two, and that should start producing enough moisture for your plants.
He is now in ‘Observation/Maintenance Mode’; Checking it every day and noting down any changes or maintenance required. This project is due for submission at the end of March so we’ll keep you updated then.
UPDATE: Sinister received 94% for the entire project, with special mention and a Merit Award for his terrarium. The teacher was most impressed with his detailed report on all of the steps preparing and building the mini-ecosystem. There’s the secret, minions: write EVERYTHING down.
UPDATE: 12 months later – and the terrarium is still going strong. One of the plants has brown leaves but is not dead. Condensation is still cycling inside and it looks strong and healthy. Man, he really knows how to do a science project!