Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Soil Settlement in Terrariums
One of the easiest to procure and most useful tools for use to manage your terrariums is a bamboo skewer. When I add the gravel, charcoal, and soil layer to a new terrarium I always make sure to mash down through the layers with a bamboo skewer as I go. This helps to settle the layers into an even surface and prevent any air pockets. Air pockets won't hurt your terrarium as far as I can tell- but I have noticed that if you skip this step the layers will do it on their own eventually and the end result may not be the surface you originally anticipated.
As water seeps through the terrarium system it will level and condense the soil layers - so don't be stingy with the soil as it will "shrink" even further as time passes. I also use a bamboo skewer to poke around the inner circumference of the terrarium "wall" occasionally in order to prevent the soil from layering up as a bank against the glass. When the soil is allowed to bank up against the glass you are more likely to develop green algae on the side of the bottle- especially if the terrarium is too damp.
Sometimes when I am planning on making a terrarium soon but my new plants are in quarantine I will build the terrarium soil layers and let it sit sans plant for a few days or longer. The soil then has a chance to settle on its own and the ecosystem will actually get a head start in development.
See additional posts on terrarium maintenance