Hello, fellow gardeners - let's start with the basics - terminology. as this section grows, you might find it helpful to understand some basic gardening terminology. So here goes, with thanks to Tricia Drevets at Dave's Garden website:
General Terms Annual - A plant that has a one-year life cycle. Bare root - Dormant (sleeping) plants removed from the ground, with their soil, and preserved for later planting. Biennial - A plant that has a two-year life cycle. Bolting - Plants producing premature flowers or seeds instead of a crop, usually due to excessive heat and sun exposure, Botanical name - The scientific name of a plant, consisting of the Genus (always capitalized) and species (not capitalized). Deciduous - A plant that loses its leaves each fall or winter. Dormancy - The period—usually winter—when a plant rests. Evergreen - A plant that keeps its leaves throughout the growing season. Family – A term for classifying similar organisms. Fertilizer - Substances used to feed plants. Fungicide – Substances used to control fungi. Genus - A term for a group of plant species that are closely related. Germination - The beginning of a seed’s growth. Groundcover - A low-growing (usually 18 inches or less), spreading plant. Hardy - A plant that can withstand exposure to frost without protection. Heirloom - An open-pollinated plant variety that has remained unchanged for 50 years or more. Herbicide - Substances that kill plants or inhibits plant growth. Humus - Decomposed plant matter that has broken down in the soil. Invasive - A plant that is quick spreading and difficult to control. Native – A term usually used to describe plants that are indigenous to a given area before an intrusion. Non-native or exotic – A term usually used to describe plants that were artificially introduced into an area. Open pollination - Seeds that are developed and distributed naturally through wind, insect activity, or soil movement. Ornamental - Plants grown for the way they look, rather than for consumption or for economic use. Perennial – A plant that lives for multiple growing seasons. Pistil - The female seed-bearing organ of a flower, consisting of the ovary, style, and stigma. Pollination - The transfer of pollen from a flower’s stamen to the pistil, which results in the forming of a seed. Seedling - A plant that has just emerged from its seed. Self-pollinating – A term to describe plants that do not need pollen from another plant to produce fruit. Stamen - The male organ of a flower, consisting of the filament and the pollen-containing anther Weed - A plant growing where it is not wanted and where it adds no value. Woody – A plant with bark on older stems that usually survive the winter and increase in size each year.
Soil Terminology Acidity - Soil pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral, above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic. Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic with a pH of 6 to 6.5. Clay - Soil that contains 50 percent or more clay. Clay soil is heavy and drains slowly. Compost - A mixture of decayed plant matter that is used as a soil conditioner, mulch, or fertilizer. Inorganic – Substances derived from non-living material. Loam – Rich soil that contains relatively equal parts of sand, silt, and clay. Mulch - Materials that help to cool the soil and/or reduce erosion, evaporation, and weeds. Organic – Substances derived from living material. pH - A measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity of the soil on a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Neutral soil has a pH of 7. Sand - The largest particles of minerals that comprise soil. Silt - Medium-size pieces of minerals that comprise soil (smaller particles than sand and larger than clay). Soil - The layer of material on the earth’s crust composed of tiny mineral pieces, living and non-living organisms, air, and water. Soil texture – The proportion of clay, silt, and sand in the soil. Sludge - Sediment from wastewater treatment plants that is often used as a fertilizer or as an additive for livestock feed. Vermiculite - A light, spongy mineral (also called "mica") that has been heated to the point of expansion so as to retain water and air. Waterlogged - Soil that is completely saturated with water.
General Gardening Techniques and Terminology Dead heading – Pinching or snipping off spent flowers. Direct sowing - Germinating seeds at the planting site rather than growing them indoors to transplant later. Full sun – At least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Hardening off - Slowly exposing a plant to cooler temperatures to help it adapt to them (also called acclimating). Hardiness zone - A geographic temperature zone that categorizes where certain plants can thrive. Horticulture - The art and science of plant cultivation. Hybrid - Crossbreeding of two different plants with distinct characteristics. Naturalized - To plant without a deliberate design or pattern. Pest – A term used for any insect, weed, or plant pathogen (bacteria, fungus, virus). Pesticide – Substances used to control or kill pests. Pruning - The process of removing dead, diseased, damaged or unwanted leaves or branches. Raised bed – A garden bed that is elevated off the ground. Side dressing – The process of working small amounts of fertilizer into the soil surrounding a mature plant. Staking - The practice of using a stick, pole, or other object to support a plant as it grows. Thinning - To reduce the number of seedlings in order to allow better air circulation and light exposure. Transplant - To remove plants from one location and replant them in another. Trellis - Latticework that supports climbing plants.