“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Glossary of Gardening Terms
pH below 7.
Action or damage threshold
The level of a pest population at which control is initiated.
Injury that occurs soon after exposure to a pesticide.
Contains plenty of air.
pH above 7.
A form of nitrogen that is commonly found in the soil.
Plants that reproduce by seed and live for a single year.
Organisms that release toxins or otherwise change conditions so that activity or growth of the pest organism is reduced.
Small soft-bodied insects with long, slender mouth parts with which they pierce stems and leaves to suck out plant fluids.
A type of bacteria found in compost piles that can fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form plants can use.
Single celled organisms that require a host plant or some other organic material as a food source.
Growing vegetables in closely spaced rows that grow together at crop maturity.
Insects that are beneficial for crop production because they pollinate plants, attack insect pests or serve other useful purposes.
A plant that lives for two years. It produces leaves in the first and flowers in the second.
Biodegradable plastic mulch
Plastic mulch that degrades in the environment.
Any activity of one species that reduces the adverse effects of another.
Black plastic mulch
A plastic mulch that is black in color.
The formation of a seed stalk instead of an edible portion of the plant.
A calcium deficiency in tomato and pepper fruit that causes the tip of the fruit to blacken and rot.
Ground up animal bones that are an excellent source of phosphate, calcium and trace elements.
Dicot weeds that have meristems at the terminal end of their branches.
Mild-flavored and the skin is free of bitterness.
Butter and sugar corn
White and yellow colored kernels are mixed on the ear.
Caterpillars that attack cole crops.
A muskmelon of the round-to-oval, firm fleshed, no sutured, heavy-netted type.
Carbon to nitrogen ratio
The ratio of the amount of carbon in organic matter to the amount of nitrogen that it contains.
A somewhat rounded melon with a smooth rind and white flesh.
The ability of clay and humus to attract and exchange positive ions.
Injury that occurs after long-term exposure to a pesticide.
A constituent of soils that consists of particles less than 0.002 mm in size.
Clear plastic mulches
Plastic mulch that is clear and allows light to penetrate.
An unheated structure used to start transplants.
Plants that protect neighbors by repelling pests.
Decayed organic matter that contains nutrients and organisms, which enrich the soil.
Cool season vegetables
Plants that grow best when temperatures are cool.
A vigorous fast-growing plant that covers the soil surface and improves the soil.
Fruit are elongated with slim, long, slightly to very curved neck.
Planting different crops in the same place two years in the row.
Plants within varieties that breeders have developed and are distinct from each other.
Cultural weed control
Cropping practices that optimize vegetable growth.
A disease that attacks seedlings, causing rotting near the soil line.
The conversion of nitrates into atmospheric nitrogen by soil microbes in water logged soils.
Pesticide is absorbed through the skin.
Lime that supplies both calcium and magnesium.
A process whereby the gardener works the topsoil and also loosens the subsoil.
Movement of water away from the surface of a garden either down into the soil or by flow across the surface.
Blood of animals that is collected from slaughterhouses. It contains high levels of nitrogen.
A bacteria associated with animal wastes that can cause serious health problems.
The female flower of corn that produces seed after pollination.
The structure within a seed that develops into a plant.
On hillsides, it is the direction your garden faces.
Cultivars resulting from a cross between two different true breeding (referred to as inbred) parents.
The maximum amount of water your particular soil will hold.
Ground up fish. Contains nitrogen and phosphorus.
An easily worked soil.
A low-lying area where frost occurs late in the season.
The average last day of frost for a specific area.
Multi-celled organisms that reproduce by spores and rely on living or dead organic matter for food.
A fruit with a hard outer rind that is used for decoration.
A category of weed that are monocots, have narrow leaves and a growing point at our just below the soil surface.
A cover crop used to add nutrients to the soil and choke out undesirable plants.
A ground rock material that contains potassium and trace elements.
Hybrids whose plants have all female flowers.
The process whereby transplants top growth and develop greater tolerance to stress.
The combination of a pesticide’s toxicity and your exposure to the pesticide
A soil that contains a high proportion of clay and is poorly drained.
Cultivars that are more than 100 years old and whose seeds are passed down from generation to generation.
Planting multiple seeds together in clumps.
A round melon with smooth rind and green flesh.
Individual structures placed over a vegetable plant that warm the temperature and protect the plant against frost.
A heated cold frame.
A substance that results from the decay of organic matter by living organisms.
A fine threadlike structure of cell formed by fungi affecting a plant.
Organisms that have little or no impact on crop production.
Pesticide is absorbed by breathing-in through the lungs.
Integrated Pest Management
An approach to pest management that uses a variety of techniques to identify and if necessary manage a pest.
Planting more than one crop in an area at the same time.
Interplanting (companion planting)
Growing two or more plants together in a close association.
Mulches that allow infrared radiation to penetrate through the mulch but reflects photosynthetically active radiation.
Dose required to kill 50% of laboratory test animals.
The downward movement of water and nutrients from the soil surface to the water table due to gravity.
Small (less than 1/2 inch long) wedge-shaped slender insects that disperse rapidly when disturbed.
Leggy or spindly
Excessive and weak stem growth due to exposure to adverse environmental conditions.
Plant that has a symbiotic relationship with rhizobium bacteria.
A soil that contains a high proportion of sand.
Structures that occur where the leaf blade attaches to the stalk.
The overall climate of a particular region.
The warmest temperature that germination occurs for seed of a particular vegetable.
The specific environmental conditions of your garden site.
Plant nutrients that are needed in very small quantities.
Stage of development when the juice of the kernels on sweet corn ears appears milky.
Coolest temperature that seed germination or growth occurs for a particular vegetable.
Fertilizers that ontain the major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium).
A layer of material covering the soil surface to exclude sunlight.
A melon that has a musky aroma and salmon to orange colored flesh when mature. It has a netted rind with deep sutures.
The network or mass of hyphae formed by fungi.
Mulches made from natural materials such as compost or bark.
The form of nitrogen that plants use. It is easily lost through leaching.
Weeds that government agencies want to prevent from establishing in a particular area.
Plants that provide factors or serve as breeding grounds for beneficial insects, increasing populations of beneficial insects.
Plants that are left to become pollinated on their own.
The temperature at which the greatest or most rapid seed germination occurs for a particular vegetable.
Pesticide is ingested through a person’s mouth.
Decaying plant, microbe and animal remains.
A pesticide made from a natural product that has undergone only a little processing.
Applying too much mulch.
Roots cannot get the oxygen they need.
Mulches made from newspaper or paper fibers.
The partially decayed remains of sphagnum moss.
Plants that live two or more years.
Lightweight volcanic material often used in soil less media.
Permanent wilting point
The point where a plant can no longer remove the small amount of water remaining in the soil and the plant wilts.
Plants, fungi, bacteria, nematodes, insects and animals that occur in a place they are not wanted.
A chemical that kills undesirable plants, plant diseases, insects or other pests.
Is – Log [H+] and a scale from 1 to 14.
The form of phosphorus used by plants.
Mulch that contains chemicals that cause the plastic to degrade when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
Photosynthetically active radiation
Wavelengths of radiation (mostly reds and some blues and yellows) used by plants for photosynthesis (production of sugars).
Cucumbers that are one to six inches long with a warty skin that is used for pickling and sometimes for salads
Structures made from cloth or plastic that keeps out migrating insects while allowing sunlight, rain and wind to enter. They generally do not protect against cool temperatures.
A variety of corn that has small ears, kernels that are pointed at the base and apex and very hard starch in the kernels which explodes when heated.
A form of potassium contained in the soil and fertilizers and utilized by plants.
Preventative weed control
Practices whose aims are to prevent weeds from occurring in the garden.
Preventing problems before they occur.
The edible fruit of any Cucurbita species that is harvested mature and is not used as a baked vegetable.
The seed is true to type and does not contain undesirable contaminants.
Mound the soil up in the planting area above the surrounding soil level.
The amount of time you must wait to enter a garden after it has been treated with a pesticide.
Bacteria that grow in close association with the roots of legumes and can convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrate.
A finely ground natural rock powder that is used to supply the soil with phosphate.
Removal of diseased plants.
Root resistant cultivars
Vegetable cultivars that are resistant to one or more disease, insect, nematode or virus.
A disease that attacks plant roots causing them to rot.
Plastic sheets that can be used to cover rows of a crop and provide protection from cold temperatures and some insect pests.
Growing vegetables in single or double rows with aisles between each row.
Soil particles ranging in size between 0.2 to 2 mm.
Removing sources of pests so as few pests as possible get into your garden.
Regularly checking crops for pests and damage symptoms; looking in your garden to determine if pests are a problem.
Seaweed that has been dried and ground into a fine powder. It contains many different compounds that may affect plant growth.
A dormant undeveloped plant.
The outer “skin” on a seed that protects it from the environment.
Self-sterile watermelon hybrids that develop normal looking fruits, but no fully developed seeds.
Semi-organic or organically based
An organic fertilizer that has had potassium sulfate added.
The process of applying soil amendments or fertilizers next to an emerged vegetable crop.
Applying fertilizer in a band near the crop row after the crop has emerged.
Soil particles between 0.002 and 0.05 mm in size.
Cucumbers that are 8 to 14 inches long with dark skin and used for salads, sandwiches, and soups
A hard surface layer that can form on some soils after rains.
The coarseness or fineness of soil particles.
A growth media not containing field soil.
Chemical compounds, many plant nutrients, that disassociate into positively and negatively charged ions.
Starch-based biodegradable mulch
Mulch made from plastic that contains starch, which is degraded by bacteria.
Growing crops so that they mature at different times.
Sugar enhancer sweet corn cultivars
Cultivars that contain the sugar enhancer (se) gene, which significantly raises the sugar content of their kernels above standard cultivars.
Sugary sweet corn cultivars
Cultivars that contain the “sugary gene,” have less initial kernel sugar than other sweet corn types, and that sugar is rapidly converted into starch after harvest.
Weeds that germinate in the spring, grow during the spring and produce seed during the fall.
Squash whose fruit is harvested when immature before the rind hardens.
Cultivars that contain the shrunken-2 (sh2) gene which slows the conversion of sugar to starch, allowing these cultivars to hold their sweetness much longer than su or se types.
Types of corn that produces and retains large amounts of sugars in its kernels, the skins of the kernels are tender and wrinkle when dried.
The outward appearance of a plant, which is attacked by a disease or insect.
A fertilizer whose nutrients are concentrated and converted into a form that is readily available in the soil.
Mulch from a man-made product such as plastic.
A pesticide synthesized from petroleum – derived chemicals.
The structure at the tip of the corn plant, which is the male flower.
The uppermost and the darkest layer of the soil that contains most of the organic matter, living organisms and plant roots.
Inherent capacity of a material to produce death or injury.
Shifting of a plant from one soil or growth medium to another.
Plants that attract insect pests keeping them away from the vegetable crop.
The plants are actually the vegetable and variety the label indicates.
Fertilizers that contain only one plant nutrient
A botanical subdivision within a species.
Lightweight expanded mica often used in soil-less media.
The percentage of seed that will germinate.
Crops that produce vines that grow along the ground including watermelon, muskmelon and pumpkins.
Particles containing DNA or RNA that are much smaller than bacteria and require a host cell to multiply.
Warm season vegetables
Vegetables that germinate and grow best when temperatures are warm.
The air spaces in the soil are filled with water.
An oscillating or stationary hoe blade mounted on a wheel with handles.
Germinates during the fall, overwinters and produces seed during the spring.
Melons that have a smooth rind surface, do not separate from the vine when ripe and lack a distinctive flavor.
A squash whose fruit are harvested when uniform in color and rind is hard.
A squash whose fruit is harvested immature, have a green colored skin and are long cylindrical-shaped with little or no taper.