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Gardening lingo 101.

Acid soil: Soil with a pH below 7.0 -- most fruits and vegetables grow best in a soil pH of 5.2-7.1.

Aeration: Free movement of air through the root zone; this is prevented in compacted and waterlogged soils.

Alkaline soil: Soil with a pH above 7.0

Annuals: Plants that live one year or less.

Axils: The angle or upper side where the leaf is attached to the stem.

Blanching: The process of blocking out light around certain plants (such as celery and cauliflower) to improve quality and whiten stems.

Broadcast: Scattering geed or fertilizer rather than placing it in rows.

Chlorosis: Lack of green color in leaves, caused by nutritional deficiencies, environment or disease.

Companion planting: Growing two or more plants together in a given area to improve each other's quality or to maximize the use of garden space with plants that have different lengths of maturation.

Compost: Decayed organic matter.

Cool weather crops: Vegetables that do not thrive in summer heat.

Corm: Enlarged, fleshy base of a stem -- bulb-like but not solid -- in which food accumulates.

Damping off: A condition in seedlings caused by a fungus that attacks at the soil level, causing them to rot, wilt and die. This usually happens under moist, airless conditions.

Drip irrigation: A method of watering plants so that only the soil in the plants' immediate vicinity is moistened, usually by use of a plastic tube at a low flow rate.

Everbearing: Plants such as strawberries which bloom intermittently, producing fruit throughout the entire growing season.

Friable: A term for soil that breaks or crumbles easily when handled.

Green manure: A crop grown primarily to add nutrients to the soil when plowed under, e.g., vetch, clover, or grasses.

Hardening off: The process of gradually acclimating plants to outdoor conditions by withholding water and lowering temperature before transplanting outdoors.

Hardy plants: Plants that are adapted to winter temperatures or other climatic conditions of a certain area.

Herbaceous plants: Perennial, non-woody plants that die back to the ground each winter but whose roots live and produce new growth the next spring, such as asparagus or rhubarb.

Humus: Decomposed organic matter used as a soil conditioner.

Leaching: Loss of nutrients caused by the draining of water through the soil.

Leggy: Weak-stemmed, spindly plants caused by too much heat, shade, fertilizer or crowding.

Mites: Extremely small sucking insects which infest various plants.

Mulch: Organic material placed on the soil surface around plants to conserve moisture, prevent crusting, reduce soil erosion, control weeds and improve soil structure.

Nematodes: Microscopic, worm-like animals that attack roots or stems, causing stunted or unhealthy growth.

NPK: Nitrogen, phosphate, potassium -- symbols for the three primary nutrients needed by plants.

Node: Region of a plant stem which normally produces leaves and buds.

Perennials: Plants which normally live more than two years.

pH: Chemical symbol used to give the relative acidity or alkalinity of soil.

Pinching: Removing terminal buds or growth to stimulate branching.

Rhizome: Horizontal underground stem distinguished from a root by the presence of nodes and buds.

Rust: Plant disease caused by a fungus and characterized by a round red or yellow lesion.

Sunscald: Cracking or splitting of tree trunks and large branches caused by the sun warming them during the winter.

Tamping: Lightly firming soil over seeds or around newly set transplants.

Tuber: Thickened or swollen underground branch or stolon (stem) with numerous buds or eyes; thickening occurs because of the accumulation of reserved food, as in potatoes.
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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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