Volume 5 Issue 8
March 1999


Small Greenhouse
Indian Nations Council

Learn to grow and care for plants by making a terrarium. It is a little garden sealed in a glass container. Rich soil and moisture inside the jar make the garden grow quickly. In planting your garden, use wild ferns, violets, moss, and small cuttings of ivy or any houseplant that will grow in water.


  • A clear, wide-mouth 1-gallon glass jar and lid (ask at your neighborhood grocery, restaurant, or delicatessen for an empty pickle jar.)

  • Sand or bird gravel

  • A piece of burned wood or some charcoal

  • About 2 cups of rich garden soil
  • Plywood, 12" x 8"

  • Strips of wood 1/2" thick and 1" wide

  • Thin brads or nails

  • Hammer, saw & sandpaper

  • Paint or stain, if desired

  • Variety of small plants

Build the base for the garden

  1. Five pieces of wood are used to make the base. The base measures 12"x 8". Set up as a rectangle the smaller pieces of wood, squaring it on the on the base. This is where your jar will fit. Two of the pieces are 6" long and the others are 5" long. Nail these to the base, sand the inside of this rectangular to make the jar fit snugly within it.

  2. Place the jar, thoroughly clean, on its side on the wooden base.

  3. Put a 1/2" layer of sand or bird gravel in the bottom of the jar as it lies on its side.

  4. Crush a piece of charcoal o r burned wood between newspapers and sprinkle a layer of charcoal over the sand.

  5. Add a layer of rich dirt. The garden can be higher at the backside of the jar, but be sure the dirt is smoothed away from the mouth of the jar so that it will not spill out.

  6. Set your plants at least an inch deep in the soil.

  7. Spay the garden with water. Do not get dirt to wet.

  8. Seal the jar with the lid and set the tiny greenhouse in a spot where it will get some sunlight each day.

  9. Watch the garden carefully for a day or two. If it appears to be too wet, take off the jar lid for a day or more until the garden dries some.

  10. The garden will grow for 2 or 3 months without having to be opened.

Foam Tray Raft
Indian Nations Council


  • Plastic Foam trays (meat or produce trays)

  • Rubber cement or waterproof tape

  • Balloon

  • Toothpicks

  • Craft glue (thick)

  • Pencil

  • Thread spool

  • Colored Paper

  • Pint milk cartons or Tops of plastic bottles

  • Latex or acrylic paint


  1. To make each raft, use two identical foam trays. Invert one tray and use rubber cement to glue the edges of the two trays together. You could tape the trays together instead, but be sure to use a waterproof tape so as to prevent any naval disaster.

  2. . On the balloon raft, inflate and insert the neck of the balloon in a small hole in the top tray before gluing the trays together. Make a toothpick railing, simply inserting toothpicks into the tray for vertical posts. Use thick craft glue to attach toothpicks for the horizontal top on the railing.

  3. For a paper sail raft, insert a pencil for the mast into a thread spool. Then use rubber cement to glue the spool to the raft. Cut a sail from colored paper and insert the mast through it.

  4. For shelters on the raft, use either pint milk cartons or the tops of plastic bottles. For the milk carton shelter, paint the carton with latex or acrylic paint. Glue on a colored paper roof over the peaked top of the carton. Cut doors and windows in the shelters; add any decorations you want.

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that USSSP, Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

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