Maintenance: the Tent

A tent photographed on top of my propagator. Ypu can see the condensation.


The Tent


I've developed my own Professor Branstawm solution to the various problems of the last three months - the tent. This provides a humid sterile environment in which seeds can germinate and seedlings grow; as well as enabling me to take pictures more easily.

The tent consists of:

  1. one 7 cm pot filled with vermiculite and perlite [all purchased from The Garden Superstore];
  2. some cling film wrapped around the bottom of the pot, secured with a rubber band. The lowest layer in the pot is of perlite, which helps to prevent water from leaking out and making the cling film soggy;
  3. four plastic party straws, one to each corner of the pot;
  4. four wooden toothpicks to provide a square frame on the top of the straws. This is useful for photography;
  5. a large piece of cling film wrapped over the frame and straws, secured to the top of the pot with a rubber band. With a bit of care, the film can be adjusted so that the surfaces are flat, and any bunching is restricted to the corners;
  6. and, of course, seeds and seedlings inside.

The inside of the tent contains of various layers of perlite and vermiculite (all previously soaked in a feed). The bottom layer is perlite, the top vermiculite (though as the seedlings grow I will probably add a perlite top layer to keep them from rotting). I put in as much very soaked vermiculite as possible, to increase the humidty in the tent.


I sow cactus and succulents now by drilling holes in the vermiculite and placing one seed in each (using a moist wooden toothpick). The holes aren't covered. I find that the holes help the seedlings to root - which sometimes they fail to do if sown just on the surface.


This seems to work well, both in germination times and success rates; and in seedling growth. I've tested the functionality by sowing another pact of Cactus E (the seeds I used initially) - compare the results at:

Progress: First Attempt

Progress: Second Attempt

What photographing from the top looks like without using a macro lens ...

and with a macro lens