How To Grow A Plant In A Bottle For 50 Years
His name is David Latimer and in 1960 he decided to plant a little garden into a fairly large bottle. He watered it once, and then in 1972 he sealed it up tight. Once in a while he moves to a windowsill so that it can get some light, but other than that it is completely self sustaining.
How does this work? The magical thing about bottle gardens is that their closed in space is the perfect self sufficient ecosystem in which plants use photosynthesis to re-used their nutrients. The only thing that they need to live is light, which is the source of energy that provides them with the ability to create their own food and grow.
The beautiful process (and it really is beautiful) of photosynthesis works when the light shines onto the leaves of any green plant it is absorbed by proteins in the leaves that contain chlorophyll. This light energy is stored into the form of ATP (adenonsine triphosphate).
Okay, the light is provided, but how does the water part work? The fascinating part is related to the water! We all need water to survive and how does this system make it possible so that the plant gets water when none is given through man or through the sky? Since the bottle garden is sealed up, this means that the water cycle is also self sufficient. The water that is in the bottle is drank up by the plants roots and then is released into the air in the bottle during a process called transpiration and then condenses down the again into the soil, and the cycle begins once again.
How do I build my own?
It all begins with the glass container with a large opening and neck for easy access. A great idea is a goldfish bowl or a very large food jar. The key is a large neck. You will also need high quality potting compost and your plants. You do not need a lot of plants and they should be tiny varieties (small ferns or miniature trailing plants work well). Use a large spoon and add a layer of sand or grit and cover that with compost so it is deep enough for your plant roots. Gently plant your plants where you want them to live. Add a final layer of grit (very fine gravel) to hold down the compost. Add enough water to moisten the compost and place them in a well light spot but avoiding a south facing window that gets too hot.
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