This is the time of year when most of us begin to yearn for the outdoors. Those four walls that seemed so cozy in December start feeling a bit too much like permanent detention come February. Venture beyond them, though, and you may not find much to cheer you, especially if you live in the northern latitudes. But if we can't hurry the world beyond our windows into bloom, we can at least alter the interior landscape.
Nothing cures a family-wide case of cabin fever--and makes a home more fun to live in--like a little gardening in the great indoors. So here we offer a handful of projects that are easy to create and care for. Most, in fact, can be put together with materials you probably already have around the house. And because extra space is as rare as roses during these stuck-indoors days, most have been designed to fit snugly on a sunny windowsill. With a little luck, they'll do double duty in the waning weeks of winter, brightening both your home and your family's spirits.
Desert In A Box:
We started with a plastic drawer organizer filled with a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and builder's sand (you can also use premixed cactus soil). We selected a variety of miniature cacti (look for them in garden centers and florist's shops), transplanted them into the soil mix using salad tongs, and lightly watered them in.
We then added a thin layer of gravel (from the pots the cacti came in), along with some desert decorations: a steer skull crafted from modeling clay, a guardian lizard (from a local craft shop), a plastic cowboy, and a road marker made from craft sticks.
To keep your cacti happy, water them once a month until the soil is damp to the touch but not soggy.
Popcorn in a Picket Planter:The planter's base is a wooden clementine box. We glued a line of wooden clothespins to the top edge, and wooden beads atop the corner posts and the adjacent clothespins.
Once the glue was dry, we gave the planter two coats of paint (we used latex semigloss wall paint). We set plastic seedling trays--easily removed for watering--inside the box and filled each to an inch from the top with potting soil. We then sprinkled on popcorn kernels (not the microwave kind) and covered them with another half inch of soil. We kept the soil moist, and our corn was up in about a week. The greenery lasted for several weeks more.