This weekend I decided to head down to the Lake to create my big terrarium. While I was there, I took the time to acknowledge that the lake is on the unceded lands of treaty territory six. While I was there I took the time to appreciate my relationship to and with the land. Being that I was taking from the land, I made the effort to give back to it and laid down some tobacco to honour the reciprocal relationship we share. I prioritized doing this as I had failed to acknowledge the land I was on creating my tiny terrariums. As a treaty relative and having taken ECCU400, this did not sit well with me. Land acknowledgements are something I need to continuously work on.
I started the large jar in the typical fashion, layering in differing sizes of rock into the bottom. I then started to add some soil. This soil was more a combination of sand, sediment, and clay. After adding close to an inch of soil, I took my charcoal log and stuck it standing upright into the jar. I then finished off my soil layer by filling in around and above the log.
I am slightly concerned about the effect the charcoal is going to have. Majority of the videos I watched where charcoal was used, it was in a powdered form known as activated charcoal. When I looked around town for the broken down form of charcoal, I was unable to find any. However, Home Hardware has charcoal briquettes and ended up having actual charcoal logs as well which is what I decided to go with. Being that I through an entire mini log into the jar, I am interested to see if there is such a thing as too much carbon within a sealed system. Will the plants not be able to filter out the carbon that comes from the charcoal? Will the log reduce the oxygen level or benefit it as there is more carbon that the plants can convert? How will the access carbon affect the other organisms within the terrarium?
After my base was completed, I set out looking for a small piece of driftwood to include. My mom ended up finding the perfect piece in the water, floating not far from the dock. In hindsight, I probably should have left the jar on dry land while I went to retrieve the stick; however, the anxiety one can induce from having their jarrium almost break on a swaying dock is quite a thrilling experience… Ok, maybe not… and luckily, my jar did not break. After safely getting the jar and stick back to land, I decoratively placed the stick into the soil layer as if it were a tree growing out of it.
Then, I set out to add some plants. I started with some moss that was growing on a sandier patch of soil. While walking along the lake’s edge, I found a different kind of moss that appeared to grow on water soil.
I then came across a cluster of wild daisies, clovers, small green-leaved ground coverage, dainty white flowers, and a tamarack sapling. I gently picked off a the head of a clover flower, the dainty white showers, and daisy. I then gently pulled out the ground coverage plant and tamarack sapling, ensuring that the roots came with them. While collecting and transplanting, a ladybug found it’s way into the jar.
I then sealed the jar before coming back home. On the way home I noticed I had a plethora of different insects which I was excited to see. Once home, I added around a 1/4 cup of water to the jar. I chose to go with this amount as it is a much larger jar than the tiny ones I had used initially. Furthermore, being that there is a sapling in the jar, any additional water will be absorbed by its roots.
I am really interested in seeing how this terrarium does due to the different plants I’ve included. I think the plant that I am most curious about surviving is the tamarack being that it is a pine tree. Assuming that it does grow, I am interested to see how the sealed jar affects it’s process. Additionally, I am excited to see how the different bugs interact within this ecosystem compared to my boyfriend’s.
In conclusion, as hinted at by the title, the jar size one is using for their terrarium matters. Jar size is important in the sense of what and how much of it you want to put inside it. Starting with the tiny terrariums was nice as it gave me a chance to learn the process with a small impact before trying something that may have a larger impact on an ecosystem. However, I have determined that I prefer larger terrariums as they are easier to design, decorate, and include elements such as the charcoal log that would not have fit in the smaller jars. Furthermore, with the larger jars, there is more room for plants to grow which in turn may affect the overall health of other plants within the containment.