Tuesday, 21 April 2015

How to make an Umbrella Greenhouse & create your own Biodome

This is a great little gardening project for children & a wonderful way to explore & observe growing plants.


We're currently growing a number of seedlings ready to plant out into our vegetable patch. Some of these we're growing indoors, other hardier seedlings we've planted out already, but there are few seeds that we're growing in our new 'biodome'. 

Creating our biodome was super quick & easy! To make it we used:
A transparent bubble umbrella (We bought ours from a charity shop, but they can be found fairly cheaply in stores & online.)
One large planting container
Planting compost
Seeds


To make the biodome cover you need to remove the umbrella handle. To do this carefully bend the central pole (where the handle is) back & forth a couple of times until the metal pole snaps. Alternatively you could use metal cutters, but I found that the metal pole was so thin it snaps pretty easily with just a little pressure. If you wish you could secure the sharp end with duct tape but we left ours as it was.


Once the handle has been removed the umbrella can be placed in a container to create your biodome.


We had an empty wooden planter in our garden that made a perfect base & after filling it with compost, we added our seeds. The important thing to remember when planting is to avoid the centre of the container where the umbrella spike will go. After watering the compost we carefully placed the umbrella over the planter making sure the pole was central.


To give growing plants more protection & warmth, you can let the umbrella down slightly so the the edges of the plastic touch the sides of the container. This helps keep the heat in, & the bugs out. 


Our seedlings are growing very well in our new outdoor construction, & seem to be growing at a similar rate as the seeds we're growing indoors. This has offered my little gardener an opportunity to think about why these seeds are germinating faster than the outdoor varieties. She's been able to compare & contrast the benefits of the biodome with alternative environments, & think about which seeds would benefit from it's use in the future, i.e. those plants that grow best in a warmer climate.

This has been a wonderful outdoor experiment & sparked much investigation, & it won't be long before our seedlings are ready to transplant.


If you're looking for more gardening ideas you might like 

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