Growing Medium Question

Maarten van Helden maarten.vanhelden at
Wed Nov 29 03:22:47 EST 1995

In article <49c9ck$6s6 at>, djohnson at says...
>        My end goal is create a small greenhouse, perhaps the size of a 
>small aqaurium for my Mom... The challenge is to make it as hassle free 
>as possible to compensate for Mom's notorious 'black thumb.' As I am a 
>mechanical engineer, a small self contained environment is no problem to 
>manufacture, but a suitable growing medium represents the challenge. Mom 
>seems to kill everything that grows in soil... I'm not sure how, she just 
>does. Any suggestions for flowers or plants to grow in the 'greenhouse'
>would be appreciated as well.
>As I'll be heading into the downtown area tonite, any info you can 
>provide today would be extremely helpful!!!

MINI-greenhouses or "victorian cases have been used since meny decades. 
Planting plants in a closed (glass) container of any kind in rather dry soil, 
then close the whole thing hermetically and place it in a light spot without 
sun *et voila* you got it. A good book on house plants should be able to give 
you all the details, plus a choice of good plants. I used to make these things 
in milk bottles (1 liter) with a single plant and give then to friends with 
"black fingers". The main problem seems to be cutting back the plants after 
they have filled the whole container, they usually thrive in these warm and 
humid conditions.

Another option for your mom could be hydroponics, watering once a month is 
then usually enough.

Good luck !!


||\\  //||  Dr. Maarten van Helden
|| \\// ||  Dept. of Entomology
||  \/  ||  Wageningen Agricultural University
||||||||||  Binnenhaven 7, 6709 PD
||      ||  Wageningen, the Netherlands
||      ||  Tel +31-317-485118 Fax +31-317-484821
||      ||  Email: <maarten.vanhelden at>

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