Wednesday, January 3, 2007



Glossary F


A first generation offspring of two purebred strains. An Fl hybrid is generally more vigorous than an ordinary hybrid.

One genus or several genera which have a basically similar floral pattern make up a family.

A flattened or cockscomb-like growth - can be normal or not

Having a narrowly columnar or pillar-like growth form

Spreading out roots before planting a potted plant

Capable of producing seed - sometimes used to denote edible fruit

A queen, inseminated instrumentally or mated with a drone, which can lay fertilized eggs.

A chemical breakdown of honey, caused by sugar-tolerant yeast and associated with honey having a high moisture content.

Mixing or puting fertilizer into the irrigation water so fertilizer is delivered with irrigation water.

Worker bees at least three weeks old that work in the field to collect nectar, pollen, water, and propolis.

An unfurling fern frond that resembles the end of a violin

The slender stalk or stem of the anther or pollen sac

A serious bacterial disease that kills members of the rose family

The act of or the actual substance added to soil to provide additional nutrients for plants. May also be used to describe the pollination process flowers undergo with the help of bees and other insects.

A root system which contains many thin roots rather than a single tap root.

A shallow box or tray used to start cuttings or seedlings.

A small flower which is part of a much larger compound flower head; e.g Cineraria.

A flower head made up of a central stem with the flowers growing directly on it.

A device for heating honey very rapidly to prevent it from being damaged by sustained periods of high temperature.

A low plastic or wooden tray used for propagation or transplanting

A discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants. Flowering plants are cultivated all over the world both indoors and out. The development plant breeding of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists.

Fluorescent lamps (also called tubes) use electricity to excite a gas in the glass tube. This causes ultraviolet light to be emitted and to strike the inside surface of the tube, which is coated with a special coating which fluoresces (the radiation causes it to emit visible light).

Fluorescent lighting is typically five times as efficient as incandescent lighting in converting electricity to light, and the lamps last about 8 times as long (8,000 hours compared with 1,000 hours). Tri-phosphor fluorescent lamps which produce about 20% more light for the same electricity consumption, have gained popularity in the early 1990s. In 1996 tri phosphor lamps were introduced with double the life (now 16,000 hours) and a much better performance maintenance over their life.

A pl ant with abundant flowers. Cornus florida is the best known example.It has nothing to do with the state of Florida which was named for the same characteristic. A plant from Florida would be called floridana or floridanus in most cases.

Having many flowers compared to most cultivars or species

A thin board used in place of a frame usually when there are fewer than the normal number of frames in a hive.

A hive body filled with honey for winter stores.

A fertilizer applied in liquid form to a plant's foliage in a fine spray so that the plant can absorb the nutrients through its leaves.

Flowering herbaceous plants that are not grasses and sedges. As grasses and sedges do produce (relatively inconspicuous) flowers, the term "forbs" is often used (instead of "flowering plants") to specify the plants with conspicuous flowers the grow among the grasses in a meadow or prairie. Technically, this use of the term excludes small shrubs (such as leadplant, Amorpha canescens) that may grow among the grasses and forbs, produce flowers, and have a form similar to herbaceous plants.

The process of making a plant grow or flower before its natural season.

A plant with form or color calling attention or focus to an area

Leaves or vegetative tissue in the collective sense or mass'

Of or concerning foliage or leaves - ie. foliar spray or foliar mass

A pesticide that is sprayed on the leaves of plants.

Stimulation of flowers or growth by controlling light and temperature

A botanical variation of a variety differing in only 1 trait like color

A plant suitable for planting around houses and below windows

leaf-like portion of a fern - technically they are not true leaves

Being fruticose or shrub-like - often in a genus of smaller form

Being a shrub or shrub-like - a 'fruticose woody plant' is just a 'bush'. Potentilla fruticosa was named to distinguish it from the many herbaceous members of that large genus.

The use of gas or vapors that sterilize soils or containers

Easily crumbled. Healthy soil is friable, so if you hold up a handful of soil and wiggle your fingers the particles of soil should fall out of your hand.

Four pieces of wood designed to hold honey comb, consisting of a top bar, a bottom bar, and two end bars.

In botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary—together with seeds—of a flowering plant. In many species, the fruit incorporates the ripened ovary and surrounding tissues. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants disseminate seeds.

In cuisine, when discussing fruit as food, the term usually refers to just those plant fruits that are sweet and fleshy, examples of which include plum, apple and orange. However, a great many common vegetables, as well as nuts and grains, are the fruit of the plant species they come from.

Technically classified as a species of fruit, the tomato is popularly considered a vegetable.

Complex fungal structures containing spores.

The predominant simple sugar found in honey; also known as levulose.

The trade name for Fumagillin, an antibiotic used in the prevention and suppression of nosema disease.

A rectangular frame, the size of a super, covered with an absorbent material such as burlap, on which is placed a chemical repellent to drive the bees out of supers for honey removal.

A chemical used to control diseases caused by fungi. A chemical or biological product applied to plants to prevent infection by disease-causing organisms.

A microscopic organism lacking chlorophyll and the ability to manufacture its own food, with a body of spider web-like filaments.
A primitive form of plant life which is known to the house plant grower as the most common cause of infectious disease -- powdery mildew. sooty mould and area mould.

Glossary E


Manure, i.e., excretion, of earthworms. Earthworm castings are high in nutrients for plants and microorganisms.

Development that does not degrade (often improves) the quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.

Stable, though not necessarily permanent, community of plants that have developed interrelationships with each other and with native wildlife to form a distinct, self-sustaining system. A few examples of ecosystems are tallgrass prairie, boreal forest, estuary, and oak savannah. Though ecosystems are a useful concept, in real life a "pure" ecosystem is unusual; more common are areas in which several ecosystems overlap to various degrees.

a compact and short plant used to line or trim borders

Landscaping using vegetables and fruit plant.

A member of the nightshade family, the eggplant is related to the potato, tomato, and pepper and has its origins in India and Southeast Asia. Arab and Asian traders brought eggplant to the Middle East, North Africa, and finally Europe. The first eggplants were small, round, egg-shaped and white (that's how this vegetable got its name). The prime eggplant season is July through October, but the purple variety is available all year long.

native or local to your area - used to apply to species

A measurement of how much electrical current a solution can conduct; corresponds to amount of fertilizer dissolved in solution.

The purple/black fruit of the elder tree, elderberries can be eaten raw but are quite sour and tart. They are better used to make jams, pies, and homemade wine. The creamy white elderberry flowers can be added to salads or batter-dipped and fried like fritters.

botanical name suffix meaning from a region or country. Canadensis or nevadensis are two examples.

Having a smooth (uncut or untoothed) margin as with many leaves. An undivided and unserrated leaf.

Plants that emerge and bloom during one season, then die back for the remainder of the year. Many spring ephemerals bloom in woodlands, including trillium and ladyslipper.

A word used as part of a species or variety name for a plant

A plant which grows above ground attaching itself to trees or rocks. The Amazon Air Plant seen in many nurseries is a good example.

Trained woody plant in a lattice-like or fench-like pattern

Natural occuring gas that ripens fruit - used to ripen bananas

Stretching of a plant and loss of color due to a lack of needed light

An infectious brood disease of honey bees caused by streptococcus p/u ton.

The process of loss of water from a plant's tissue and soil

A flowering plant that retains colors when cut and dried

Plants whose leaf cover remains alive year-round, though individual leaves may die and fall. Includes species, such as Rhododendron, whose leaves go dormant and change color at the end of the growing season, then green up again for the new season. Other evergreens, such as Pinus banksiana (Jack Pine), discard batches of leaves periodically. Evergreens may have needles (pine and spruce, for instance) or "broad" leaves (holly and rhododendron). Perennial plants whose leaves all die at once (and usually fall) at the end of each growing season (i.e. maple trees) are deciduous.

Of or according to a particular expert. This is an expression used by taxonomists who have differing definitions of a species or other taxon.It is sometimes used in nursery catalogs when the identify of a plant may be in question (ie. Plantus viscosum ex J. Doe). The expert may or may not be the physical source of the plant.

Usually said of bark (ie. sycamore) that peels and sheds off.

Abreviated as ET, it is the amount of water that transpires through a plants leaves combined with the amount that evaporates from the soil in which it is growing. Used as a guide for how much water a plant needs per day/week/year.

Flowers with papery petals which retain some or all of their color when dried for winter decorations.

Strictly speaking, a plant which is not native to the area, but popularly any unusual or striking plant, like those grown from GreenWeb seeds!.

Honey removed from the comb by centrifugal force.

An undeveloped growth bud or the center of a flower.

Glossary D


Decay of young seedlings at ground level following fungal attack. Often the result of soil borne diseases and over watering.

The removal of old blossoms to encourage continued blooming or to improve the appearance of the plant. The removal of faded heads of flowers.

The changes that occur as plants grow, die, and break down in the soil.

Plants that shed all their leaves annually, usually in the fall.

Decay. Rot. The breaking down of organic materials into smaller particles until the original material is no longer recognizable.

To break down into component parts or basic elements; decomposition of organic materials by bacteria is an essential life process because it makes essential nutrients available for use by plants and animals.

Loss of forest, usually as the result of clearing for agricultural (especially for cattle grazing) or other land uses such as roads and buildings. Deforestation destroys what may be an important sink for excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

A measure of the demand for heating ("heating degree-days") or cooling heating ("cooling degree-days") in a geographical location, expressed as degree-days per year to a base temperature. One degree-day means that the temperature needed to be changed by an average of 24 degree-hours during the year.

Macroorganisms that eat decaying matter. Includes ant, beetle, centipede, cricket, earthworm, earwig, enchytraeid worm, millipede, mite, scorpion, slug, snail, spider, springtail, termite, woodlice.

One of the two principal sugars found in honey; forms crystals during granulation. Also known as glucose.

Dehydration or loss of water.

These are plants that loose their leaves at the end of the growing season. Maple trees are a good example.

Trailing stems on the ground with lateral shoots upright

The loss of leaves such as premature summer leaf drop.

A stick or tool that makes planting holes in the soil or media

Death of shoot tips such as by winter cold or chemical damage

Having two set of chromosomes - normal for most species.

Germination of seed in their final spot as opposed to a nursery.

The processing of removing extra buds to promote larger flowers.

A plant which bears either male or female flowers. (Compare to Monoecious)

The flat central part of a compound flower. It is made up of short, tubular florets.

Cut or lacerated into segments - said of fringed petals or leaves.

Pure water free from dissolved salts. Formerly made by distillation, now produced chemically by demineralisation.

A method of propagating plants by separating each one into two or more sections and then repotting.

A wooden or plastic compartment which is hung in a bee hive like a frame and contains sugar syrup to feed bees.

Sometimes used when 'liming' soil that has an acid pH level that is too high. As it contains calcium and magnesium carbonate it should be used only with soils that are also deficient in magnesium as well.

A state of suspended growth. A state of rest and reduced metabolic activity in which plant tissues remain alive but do not grow.

The Latin name for this is "flore pleno." It refers to flowers that have many petals present, such as roses.

An American term for placing a potted plant in a larger pot with damp peat moss surrounding it. The peat is kept moist and provides a humid evaporative effect for the potted plant nestled between it.

Oil sprayed on deciduous trees while they are dormant. Dormant oils are used to kill overwintering insects or insect eggs on plant bark.

Relating to the back or outer portion of a plant part.

Soil bed preparation done by 2 or more spading sessions.

Said of Narcissus bulbs with two growing apices or 'noses'.

A wooden frame, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, with two layers of wire screen to separate two colonies within the same hive, one above the other. An entrance is cut on the upper side and placed to the rear of the hive for the upper colony.

Excessively tall and weak growth, caused by plants being grown in too little light or too closely together.

Watering plants by small droplets over a long period of time each day

The line that marks the outer edge to which a tree's (or other plant's) branches spread. The drip line usually signals a change in microclimate, where the area under the tree, which sees less precipitation, sunlight, and wind and may also be subject to competition from the tree's roots, meets an area that isn't sheltered by the tree.

Combs with cells built out by honey bees from a sheet of foundation.

The failure of bees to return to their own hive in an apiary containing many colonies. Young bees tend to drift more than older bees, and bees from small colonies tend to drift into larger colonies.

The male honey bee.

Comb measuring about four cells per linear inch that is used for drone rearing and honey storage.

An infertile or unmated laying queen.

Pounding on the sides of a hive to make the bees ascend into another hive placed over it.

Varieties bred togrow smaller than their parent plants. Dwarf plants may lose the ability of the parents to set fruit (Bailey's dwarf highbush cranberry, Viburnum trilobum 'Bailey's Compact'). They may not resemble miniatures of their parents (dwarf Alberta spruce, Picea glauca var. albertiana 'Conica').

The rapid dying off of old bees in the spring; sometimes called spring dwindling or disappearing disease.

An abnormal condition of adult bees characterized by severe diarrhea and usually caused by starvation, low-quality food, moist surroundings, or nosema infection.

Glossary C


There are over 70 varieties of cabbage. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, collards, kale, turnips, and many more are all a member of the cabbage family. These plants are all known botanically as members of the species Brassica oleracea, and they native to the Mediterranean region of Europe

According to horticultural historians, barbarians were eating the juicy, slightly bulbous leaves of wild cabbage in Asia long before the dawn of recorded history. The Greeks revered the cabbage for its many medicinal properties. Cato, an ancient Roman statesman, circa 200 BCE, advised people to eat plenty of raw cabbage seasoned with vinegar before a banquet at which one plans to "drink deep." Even the ancient Egyptians advised starting the meal with raw cabbage, including cabbage seeds, to keep one sober. It is an historical fact that the laborers who built the Great Wall in China were fed sauerkraut to prevent scurvy and other debilitating diseases that come from eating only rice. Europeans were devouring stewed cabbage during the cold winter months because it was one of the few staples available when the ground produced little else.

A common material used for 'liming' soil that has an acid level that is too high. This type is most commonly used and contains calcium carbonate.

A soil condition found in some areas of the arid Southwest, or as the result of synthetic fertilizers, caliche is a deposit of calcium carbonate (lime) beneath the soil surface. This condition is more commonly called 'hardpan' and creates an impervious layer in lower levels of soil.

The outer ring of flower parts, usually green but sometimes colored.

The Latin name for a plant having campanulate or bell-like flowers.

From Canada in the wild - or more accurately northern North America.

A stem of a rose or raspberry - from a thin multi-stem plant

A major stem from a budded plant - typically a rose

A branch from a basal or primary cane/stem - often a rose

A sunken, discolored area of diseased plant tissue that is usually dry and corky in texture.

The uppermost layer in a forest, formed by the crowns of the trees. Also called crown canopy.

The natural upward movement of water in confined areas, such as the spaces between soil particles.

The Latin name for a plant with a head-like or large clustered feature

Apiculture. Pupae whose cells have been sealed with a porous cover by mature bees to isolate them during their nonfeeding pupal period; also called sealed brood.

Apiculture. Melter used to liquefy the wax from cappings as they are removed from honey combs.

Apiculture.The thin wax covering of cells full of honey; the cell coverings after they are sliced from the surface of a honey-filled comb.

The main greenhouse gas and the gas to which other greenhouse gases are compared. Most of the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is attributable to:

Increasing the source of CO2 by burning fossil fuels and so releasing carbon which has been previously stored out of the atmosphere, and
Reducing the capacity of the earth to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by destroying forests (see carbon sinks).
Human activities add about 26 Gigatonnes (26 billion tonnes) of CO2 to the atmosphere every year.
carbon sink
A way of removing carbon from the atmosphere, including natural mechanisms such as photosynthesis in trees (CO2 to wood) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) formation by marine molluscs.

The relative amount of carbon to nitrogen, e.g., a 2:1 ratio means that there is twice as much carbon as nitrogen. Bacteria, like all living organisms, require quite a bit of carbon and comparatively less nitrogen. By providing them with materials that provide these elements in the correct proportion, they thrive, grow, and multiply. Therefore, they can decompose your compost pile at their highest speed. Achieving a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of about 30:1 is one factor in creating favorable conditions for backyard pile composting.

Used in the gardening world to denote a plant (usually tropical) that typically lives in highly acidic soil that doesn't adequately provide enough nourishment. Nature has adapted these plants to trap and consume insects for this need. An example is the Venus Flytrap plant.

Macroorganisms that feed on other animals. Includes ant, beetle, centipede, enchytraed, fly, mite, mole, scorpion, slug, snail, spider, springtail.

A single pistil in a female flower part containing several pistils

Carrots are a member of the parsley family and are the roots of the plant. Other root crops are celeriac, parsnip, beets, potatoes, and turnips. Carrots are always in season and can be found with their curly green tops, pre-trimmed for easy use, cut into sticks for use as snacks, or in packages of miniature varieties perfect for school lunches.

History: Carrots were in common use during the times of ancient Rome and Greece. They are native to Afghanistan, and early varieties were black, red, and purple and not the familiar orange. It was in Belgium that the carrots was refined and bred to the orange rood in the 1500s. In 1776, Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations refers to them as a crop that changed "cultivation from the spade to the plough."

Manure, i.e., excretion, of earthworms. Earthworm castings are high in nutrients for plants and microorganisms.

The three types of bees that comprise the adult population of a honey bee colony: workers, drones, and queen.

The cayenne is one of the most widely used peppers in the world. The cayenne is about 3 to 5 times hotter than the jalapeno, and when ripe, has it's own distinct, slightly fruity flavor. Heat range is 6-7.

Also known as celery knob, celery root, celeri-rave, and turnip-rooted celery. Though known by many names, celeriac or celery root is easily identified where specialty vegetables or root crops (such as turnips and parsnips) are found. A member of the celery family, celery root is a brown-to-beige-colored, rough, gnarled looking vegetable. It hints of celery with an earthy pungency (its aroma is a sure indicator of its membership in the celery family). It is in season from late fall through early spring. Look for as smooth a surface as you can find to aid in peeling. A one-pound weight is preferred. It should be firm with no indication of a soft or spongy center.

Celery is ordinarily marketed as the whole stalk, which contains the outer branches and leaves. Sometimes the outer branches are removed and the hearts are sold in bunches.

The ancient Chinese credited celery with medicinal qualities and used it as a blood purifier. The Romans like to use it to decorate coffins at funerals. The Romans also felt that wearing crowns of celery helped to ward of headaches after a lot of drinking and partying.

Celery seeds are the fruit of a plant related to the parsley family and are not to be confused with the plant we recognize and serve as a vegetable. They are now grown extensively in France, Holland, India, and the United States. Celery seeds are tiny and brown in color. They taste strongly of the vegetable and are aromatic and slightly bitter. They are sometimes used where celery itself would not be appropriate.

A soil additive to increase moisture intake and 'sweeten' media

In science, chemicals are elementary substances such as oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc. In the context of home composting, however, the word "chemical" is often used to describe a philosophy considered to be in opposition to the organic philosophy. In general, the chemical philosophy encourages people to force nature to do what they want by applying synthetic pesticides and fertilizers which may get the temporary results they want, but may harm or not enhance the general soil condition and environment.

Chile peppers are all members of the capsicum family. There are more than 200 varieties available today. They vary in length from 1/2-inch to 12 inches long with the shortest and smallest peppers being the hottest. Always take caution when handling them (wear rubber gloves when seeding a fresh one). Colors range from yellow to green to red to black. The best antidote for a "chile burn" in the mouth is sugar or hard candy. The heat of chiles comes from a compound called capsaicin. It is located in the "ribs" of the chile. Seeds do contain some heat, but not at the same intensity as the ribs. Chiles are called peppers, but are not related to black pepper. Botanically, they are berries and horticulturally, they are fruits. When fresh, we use them as vegetables. When dried, we use them as spices. Scoville unit is the thermometer of the chile business. Established by Wilbur Scoville, these are the units of heat of a chile's burn. A habanero is considered 100 times hotter than a jalapeno! Units rank from 0 to 300,000.

Chives are a member of the onion family. They are used to delicately flavor soups, salads, dips, cheeses, eggs, sauces, and dressings. They make an eye-catching garnish when sprinkled on top of a favorite recipe. Their lavender flowers are an attractive and tasty addition to salads. Chives are almost always used fresh or added to hot foods at the last minute so they retain their flavor.

Chives have been respected for their culinary versatility for more than 3000 years. In Ancient China, raw chives were prescribed to control internal bleeding. But when chives made their way to Europe, herbalists had a different opinion. They warned that eating the herb raw would induce evil vapors in the brain. Despite the admonishments, chives became everyday sights in European households; bunches of them were hung in houses to ward off evil spirits. Gypsies used chives for their fortune-telling rituals and also hung them from the ceiling to drive away diseases and evil spirits.

Cilantro is the Spanish word for coriander leaves. It is also sometimes called Chinese or Mexican parsley. Technically, coriander refers to the entire plant. It is a member of the carrot family. Chopped fresh leaves are widely used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking, where they are combined with chiles and added to salsas, guacamoles, and seasoned rice dishes. Most people either love it or hate it. Taste experts aren't sure why, but for some people the smell of fresh coriander is fetid and the taste soapy. In other words, while most people love coriander, for some people, coriander just doesn't taste good. When purchasing, look for leaves that are tender, aromatic, and very green. If it has no aroma, it will have no flavor. Avoid wilted bunches with yellowing leaves.

It is the aromatic inner bark of the "cinnamonum zeylanicum", a native tree in Ceylon.

Cinnamon was considered one of the spices that started world exploration. This common spice was once the cause of much intrigue and bloodshed among traders and growers. The Arabs first introduced it on the world market, but kept the source secrets. They invented fantastic tales of bloodthirsty monsters that roamed the cinnamon country. It was once considered a gift fit for a monarch. In ancient times, it was thought to inspire love, and a love portion was concocted from it. When the Dutch were in control of the world spice market, they burned cinnamon when its price went too low to suit them.

Yellowing of normally green tissue caused by the lack of chlorophyll; can be caused by disease, lack of nutrients, shading, age, or other factors.

A modified stem which has taken on the form of a leaf; e.g the needlelike "leaves" of Asparagus Fern.

Soils with clay particles and small air pores. Water retention is high creating poor drainage conditions.

The garden practice of removing all weeds at all times

The long-term average weather of a region including typical weather patterns, the frequency and intensity of storms, cold spells, and heat waves. Climate is not the same as weather.

Vine-like or rambling plant which will grown on or over structures - said of vigorous roses.

The trait that has a spectrum such as blue to green in spruces

A fungal disease causing swollen roots - mostly in Mustard family

Epithet meaning scarlet red or bright red - Salvia coccinea flowers.

When less attention is given to providing and maintaining optimum conditions for compost piles, the resulting environment that will attract psychrophilic bacteria, possibly mesophyllic bacteria, but not thermophilic bacteria. As the psychrophilic bacteria work, the compost pile will reach about 55 degrees F. This is the slow method of creating compost from a backyard pile, and can take as long as 6 months to 2 years to create compost. However, there is little maintenance other than occassionally turning the pile. This type of compost piles requires the least effort.

A low frame with clear top used to aclimatize plants to cold.

COLD GREENHOUSE (cool house)
Naturally heated by the sun, a "cold greenhouse" uses no internal electrical or other artificial heat source. A cold greenhouse usually has a minimum temperature of 28 degrees F maintained through the winter. During these tempratures no growth occurs in this type of house, but you can over winter plants that are not frost sensitive.

Good for growing carrots and root vegetables into fall months. (night temp: 35-45F)

The aggregate of worker bees, drones, queen, and developing brood living together as a family unit in a hive or other dwelling.

The relationships between plants, the properties of plants, and how they can benefit or repel one another. In many ways, opposites attract in a garden: sun lovers can provide shade for those who require it, nitrogen-fixing plants can be paired with heavy feeders to balance soil nutrient, and deep-rooted plants together with those with shallow roots can work together in the same space. Drawing from the wisdoms of sustainable indigenous and traditional cultures we gain forms of companion planting such as The Three Sisters which combines beans, squash, and corn. The beans provide nitrogen to the soil for the corn to thrive, while the shade from the squash leaves prevents soil erosion for all. By creating beneficial habitats, these symbiotic relationships will allow gardeners increased success in both the health and yield of their plants.

Compaction of soil is a lack of air or oxygen. Particles of soil are pressed together so tightly that there is insufficient air space. The obvious way this may occur is when a great weight is present, i.e., during construction when large trucks are daily rolled over the land. However, chemical overuse and poor irrigation are more common causes. In healthy soil, natural processes provide aeration, notably the presence of earthworms burrowing their way through the soil.

A fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three nutrients in which plants are most commonly deficient.

A member of the Daisy or Asteraceae family

Decomposed organic material that is produced when bacteria in soil break down garbage and biodegradable trash, making organic fertilizer. Making compost requires turning and mixing and exposing the materials to air. Gardeners and farmers use compost for soil enrichment. The relatively stable humus material that is produced from a composting process in which bacteria in soil mixed with garbage and degradable trash break down the mixture into organic fertilizer.
A mixture made from peat ("soilless compost") or sterilized soil ("loam compost") plus other materials such as sand, lime and fertilizer. Compost is also a term for decomposed organic matter such is what's left after a compost heap has degraded vegetable and animal matter. An excellent source of organic material for rebuilding and enriching soil.

The result and act of combining organic materials under controlled conditions so that the original raw ingredients are transformed by decay and degradation into humus (or compost).

A flower made up of many florets, e.g Chrysanthemum.

A leaf made up or two or more leaflets attached to the leaf stalk; e.g Schefflera.

Accumulation of water droplets on the inside of plastic covering the greenhouse that can then drip onto plants, resulting in artificial rain on the crop; can also form on leaf and fruit surfaces, promoting disease.

The seed-holding structure (NOT a fruit) of trees like pines and spruce.Botanists usually use the term strobilis since the term cone is widely misapplied.

Woody trees and shrubs that produce cones. Common conifers include pines, firs, spruce, juniper, redwood and hemlocks.

Said of a forest or region mainly composed of conifer species.

A short, solid, enlarged, underground stem from which roots grow. Corms are food-storage organs. They contain one bud that will produce a new plant.

A conservatory is a greenhouse (usually) attached to a house. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the collecting of exotic plants and the production under glass of out-of-season flowers and fruits were popular pastimes among those who could afford this kind of luxury. Grapes and oranges, as well as orchids and other tropical flowers, were among the products of upper-class conservatories. The most elaborate conservatories were warmed by wood- or coal-heated air introduced through under-floor ducts.

Heat transfer by the movement of fluids (liquids and gases) containing heat energy.

COOL GREENHOUSE (cool house)
"Cool greenhouses" are heated during the cooler months (with electricity, gas, oil or propane) to a minimum temperature of 45 degrees F. This is just warm enough for a little plant growth and frost sensitive plants (like tomatoes) can be over wintered in this envrionment.

Good for growing lettuce, cabbage, beets, and leafy vegetables. (night temp: 45-50F)

All of the flower petals considered together make up the corolla.

Epithet meaning cordate or heart-shaped - usually a leaf shape as in Tilia cordata.

A crop grown to protect and enrich the soil or to control weeds.

A member of the Mustard family such Cabbage.

A plant reproducing by spores such as most ferns and algae.

An upright flowering stem from a rhizome - applied to grass.

Any plant arising from cultivation (gardens) and not the wild.

Used when determining plant names. Indicates the variety originated in cultivation and not the wild. This portion of a plants name is usually not Latin.
The term was coined by L.H. Bailey of Cornell University.

An association of related cultivars with a species, subspecies, or variety due to common origin or groups of traits. Typically a cultivar group originates from a single popular cultivar which has many sports or seedlings that differ from it in small ways. In some cases these may be parallel genetic mutations or even have linked genes but no common history.

Wedge-shaped such as a narrow leaf base.

Said of a flower (often a rose) where the center is depressed.

A piece of a plant (leaf, stem or root) which can be used to produce a new plant.

A flat-topped or domed flower head in which the flowers at the center open first.

Organic compounds acting like hormones in plants. Stimulates or alters cellular RNA resulting in a modification to plant development. Generally acts by affecting cellular division and differentiation into roots and shoots. This inhibits aging in the plant.

Glossary B


The bacterium that causes American foulbrood in bee colonies.

Microscopic, one-celled organisms lacking chlorophyll, and causing disease in tomato; such as bacterial canker, bacterial wilt, bacterial stem rot, pith necrosis, and bacterial soft rot.

Microorganisms that break down organic materials in the first stages of composting. It is bacteria that generate the heat associated with hot composting. The three types of bacteria are psychrophilic, mesophyllic, and thermophilic.

Balsamic vinegar is an aged reduction of white sweet grapes (Trebbiano for red and Spergola for white sauvignon) that are boiled to syrup. The grapes are cooked very slowly in copper cauldrons over an open flame until the water content is reduced by over 50%. The resulting "grape must" is placed into wooden barrels where older balsamic vinegar is added to assist in the acetification. Each year the vinegar is transferred to different wood barrels so that the vinegar can obtain some of the flavors of the different woods. The only approved woods are oak, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, cacia, juniper, and ash. Balsamic vinegar can only be produced in the regions of Modena and Reggio in Italy.

History - The first historical reference to balsamic vinegar dates back to 1046, when a bottle of balsamic vinegar was reportedly given to Emperor Enrico III of Franconia as a gift. In the middle Ages, it was used as a disinfectant.

Usually referring to decidious shrubs and trees, and some other perennials, with all the soil removed from their roots that are sold at nurseries.

Barley, as a food, is most commonly identified as pearl barley, which is traditionally used in soups and stews. In the last few years, we've become more creative with barley and have used it in summer salads, casseroles, and side dishes. Barley is also used as a commercial ingredient in prepared foods such as breakfast cereals, soups, pilaf mixes, breads, cookies, crackers, and snack bars. Today it is the world's fourth largest cereal crop.

History - Barley has held a prominent and long-standing place in the history of food, being the world's oldest grain, and has been cultivated for about 8,000 years. Babylonians brewed beer from barley around 2500 B.C. Both the ancient Greeks and Hebrews made use of barley in porridge and bread. Barley remained an important bread grain in Europe until the 1500s when wheat breads became popular.

The Bartlett pear variety originated in Berkshire, England, in the 17th century, by a schoolmaster named John Stair. Stair sold some of his pear tree cuttings to a horticulturist named Williams, who further developed the variety and renamed it after himself. After pear seedlings crossed the Atlantic with the early colonists, the Williams pear found fame and fortune in 1812 under the tutelage of nurseryman, Enoch Bartlett, of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Bartlett, unaware of the pear's true name, distributed it under his own name. Ever since, the pear has been known as the Bartlett in the United States, but is still referred to as the Williams pear in other parts of the world. Bartlett pear trees eventually came out West in the covered wagons of the 49ers heading for the Great California Gold Rush.

Ground level ring of leaves (single or multiple layers) around the plant's central stem where it joins the roots.

The Greek name for basil means "king", which shows how highly it has been regarded throughout the ages. Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a sun-loving annual with highly aromatic leaves that has a pleasant spicy odor and taste somewhat like anise or cloves. Both the leaves and their essential oils are used as flavoring agents. There are many different types of sweet basil – large and dwarf forms, with green, purple, or variegated leaves. Many of these widely grown plants are ornamental, as well as edible.

In Italy this plant is a symbol of love; a sprig of it presented to your lover bespeaks fidelity. When a woman puts a pot of basil on the balcony outside her room, it means that she is ready to receive her suitor.

Manure, i.e., excretions, of bats.

An entire cubic-yard pile is built at the same time, and finishes decomposing at the same time. This is the opposite of the "add as you go"method. Because the entire pile is built at one time, factors such as moisture, C:N ratio, variety of textures and sizes, etc. can be more closely controlled for fast decomposition.

An engine with attached blower used to dislodge bees from combs in a honey super by creating a high-velocity, high-volume wind.

A mixture of collected pollen and nectar or honey, deposited in the cells of a comb to be used as food by the bees.

A brush or whisk broom used to remove bees from combs.

The three stages through which a bee passes before reaching maturity: egg, larva, and pupa.

The 1/4 to 3/8-inch space between combs and hive parts in which bees build no comb or deposit only a small amount of propolis.

A complex mixture of organic compounds secreted by special glands on the last four visible segments on the ventral side of the worker bee's abdomen and used for building comb. Its melting point is from 143.6 to 147.2 degrees F.

A tree with one of more hollows occupied by a colony of bees.

A cloth or wire netting for protecting the beekeeper's head and neck from stings.

The poison secreted by special glands attched to the stinger of the bee.

A petal bearing a tuft or row of long hairs.

A volatile, almond-smelling chemical used to drive bees out of honey supers.

A flower with petals which bear two distinctly different colors.

A plant that grows, flowers, produces seeds or fruit, and dies in two years. Some herbacous flowers and vegetables are biennial. Most biennial plants produce foliage the first year and bloom the second year.

bifid or divided into two parts or portions. In the case of Phlox bifida the petal lobes (corolla) are cut into two lobes.

A hybrid produced by crossing two different genera.

Using living organisms such as beneficial insects or parasites to help control a pest or limit populations of garden pests.

The ability of a substance to be broken down physically and/or chemically by microorganisms. For example, many chemicals, food scraps, cotton, wool, and paper are bio-degradable; plastics and polyester generally are not.

In an environments created solely by nature, there is a variety of plant and animal life, ranging from the very small to the very large. Nature has created a natural system for post and disease control. However, when we only incorporate limited variety in our landscapes, the system of checks and balances breaks down. In general, the more diverse we can make our gardens, the healthier they will be.

Term to describe the resource of energy stored in plants and animals or released during their use or processing including as a by-product or "waste".

The system comprising the earth and its atmosphere, which supports life.

The expanded part of a leaf or petal.

The loss of sap from plant tissues which have been cut.

The loss of the growing point, resulting in stoppage of growth. Also, failure to produce flowers or fruit.

A device for feeding bees in warm weather, consisting of an inverted jar with an attachment allowing access to the hive entrance.

Annual vegetables or flowers that grow quickly to flowering stage at the expense of their best overall development.

The art of dwarfing trees by careful root and stem pruning coupled with root restriction.

A ring of prominent and decorative stamens.

The Latin scientific name of a plant is its botanical name. There is only one botanical name per plant so if you want a specific variety, use it's botanical name to be sure you're getting what you want.

Botany is the scientific study of plant life. As a branch of biology, it is also sometimes referred to as plant science(s) or plant biology. Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines that study the growth, reproduction, metabolism, development, diseases, and evolution of plants. Vegetation: all the plant life in a particular region or period; "Pleistocene vegetation"; "the flora of southern California"; "the botany of China."

A form of terrarium in which a large and heavy glass container such as a carboy is used.

Undersurface heat provided in the soil by electric cables or hot water pipes.

A sunken, leathery brown or black spot on the bottom or near the bottom of a tomato fruit; not from a disease; usually from lack of water or not enough calcium in the fruit.

A bit of comb built between two combs to fasten them together, between a comb and adjacent wood, or between two wooden parts such as top bars.

A modified leaf, often highly colored and sometimes mistaken for a petal. Examples of house plants with showy bracts are Poinsettia, Aphelandra and Bougainvillea

The scientific name of a wingless fly commonly known as the bee louse.

Production of a side shoot after removal of the growing point.

Any of various Mediterranean shrubs of the genus Cytisus in the pea family, especially C. scoparius, having mostly compound leaves with three leaflets and showy, usually bright yellow flowers.
Any of several similar or related shrubs, especially in the genera Genista and Spartium.

Bees not yet emerged from their cells: eggs, larvae, and pupae.

The part of the hive in which the brood is reared; may include one or more hive bodies and the combs within.

The term "browns" is used to denote organic materials high in carbon, more specifically, materials whose carbon to nitrogen ratio is higher than 30:1. (Materials high in nitrogen are referred to as "greens"). Achieving a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of about 30:1 is one factor in creating favorable conditions for backyard pile composting.

A dorment growth point.

The number of early buds - not all may be allowed to develop fully.

A swollen and distinct node when a bud has been grafted.

A storage organ, usually formed below ground level, used for propagation. A true bulb consists of fleshy scales surrounding the central bud, but the term is often loosely applied to corms, rhizomes and tubers.

An immature small bulb formed on the stem of a plant; e.g Lily.

An immature small bulb formed at the base of a mature bulb; e.g Hyacinth.

A plant with thick, leathery, darkgreen leaves, little or no fruit, and very vegetative; may be caused by overfertilization with nitrogen or genetic off-type.

Planting intending to attact and feed members of Lepidoptera

A double rose flower with unexpanded central petaloid parts

Like the common honeybee, the bumblebee feeds on nectar and gathers pollen to feed its young. They tend to be larger than other members of the bee family. Most, but not all, bumblebee species are gentle. Queen and worker bumblebees can sting, which is not barbed like that of the honeybee, so they can sting more than once.

Bumblebees are characterized by a larger black body with white, yellow, orange, or even red stripes, while some species may be entirely black. Another distinguishing characteristic is the nature of the soft long pile that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy.

Bumblebees are incredibly important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers, and are increasingly cultured for agricultural use as pollinators. Bumblebees can pollinate plant species that other pollinators cannot by using a technique known as buzz pollination. For example, bumblebee colonies are often emplaced in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of "buzzing" that a bumblebee exhibits, effectively pollinates tomatoes.

Glossary A


Apiculture. An entire colony of bees that abandons the hive because of disease, wax moth, or other maladies.

To aerate soil is to introduce air into the soil. This can be accomplished by many methods including plowing, roto-tilling, using a pitch fork or pole to punch holes into the earth.

A compost pile that is not turned (static), but is aerated through ventilation pipes that run through the pile. These may be PVC pipes with holes drilled into them.

Containing air, containing oxygen.Usually used for describing a characteristic of compost heaps. Describes organisms living or occurring only in the presence of oxygen.

Apiculture. A small swarm, usually headed by a virgin queen, which may leave the hive after the first or prime swarm has departed.

A mass or body of individual units or particles. Healthy soil has good aggregation. As microorganisms and worms feed, they form polysaccharides which act like glue to hold individual soil particles together, creating groups, or aggregates, of particles. This loose formation allows soil to hold both water and air, and does not restrict the growth of roots.

A soil is considered to be acidic when the pH is measured to be lower than 7. The lower the number, the higher the level of acid in the soil.

Activators are additives to the compost pile which contain a nitrogen source or sugars. Their purpose is to increase microbial activity. Generally, adequate nitrogen organic waste is the only activator needed. If you have insufficient nitrogen, a substance like cottonseed meal may be added to encourage decomposition.

AIR LAYERING -- A method of propagating single-stem plants, such as Ficus elastica decora, which have lost their lower leaves and become leggy. An incision is made to a portion of outer stem layer, damp sphagnum moss is wrapped in a bag around it until roots develop. Then it is cut and replanted with its shorter stem size

Epithet meaning white or whitish - usually applied to flowers.

Spotted in white.

Epithet meaning white edged or margined - almost always about leaves.

Striped or striated in white - usually a variegated plant.

Soil that has a pH level of about 7.0 or more. Sometimes referred to as "sweet" soil by gardeners.

A plant that produces chemicals affecting other nearby plants' growth. Usually used to indicate a negative effect, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) trees inhibit the growth of many other plants.

any plant that is normally found in wild on mountains or rocky areas

Leaf form, where the leaves are arranged singly at different heights on the stem. Compare opposite and whorled.

German for old as in cultivar names. Latin prefix meaning tall

Tall compared to other species - at least in the wild state.

Amaranth is from the Greek for "never-fading flower” or "everlasting.” It is an annual herb, and therefore not a true grain. It has broad leaves and large flower heads that produce thousands of tiny, protein-rich seeds. There are hundreds of varieties of amaranth. It is grown for its leaves-some varieties are good in salad, some are delicious steamed or stir-fried-and its somewhat peppery seeds. Amaranth can be cooked as a cereal. The seeds are very tiny-looking, a bit like caviar when cooked, and their lack of substance makes them rather unsatisfactory as the base of pilaf-type dishes. Amaranth is most often ground into flour, which has a fairly strong malt-like vegetable taste and is beige in color. It is the only known food that contains between 75% and 87% of total human nutritional requirements.

Amaranth is used in several cultures in very interesting ways, In Mexico, it is popped and mixed with a sugar solution to make a candy called alegria and the roasted seed is used to create a traditional Mexican drink called atole. People from Peru use fermented amaranth seeds to make chichi (beer). During the carnival festival, women dancers often use the red amaranth flower as rouge, painting their cheeks, and then dancing while carrying bundles of amaranth on their backs.

History:  There is evidence that it has been in Central and South America for nearly 8,000 years. Amaranth was a staple in the diet of pre-Columbian Aztecs. Aztec Indians in Mexico grew it alongside maize as the main ingredient in their diets. They thought that it gave them supernatural powers and incorporated it into their religious ceremonies. On religious holidays, Aztec women ground the seed, mixed it with honey or human blood, then shaped it into idols that were eaten ceremoniously, a practice that appalled the conquistadors. After conquering Montezuma in 1519, the Spanish missionaries forbade its use because of its association with human sacrifice.

In ancient Greece, amaranth was considered sacred and was used to decorate tombs and images of gods as a symbol of immortality. The early Christian Church also adopted the amaranth as a symbol of immortality.

By the middle the 20th century, the cultivation of this grain had declined to the point where it was grown only in small plots in Mexico, the Andean highlands, and in the Himalayan foothills of India and Nepal. It was used to make tortillas even before the cultivation of corn. It remained in obscurity until the 1950's when its nutritional values were again recognized through scientific development.

Apiculture. A brood disease of honey bees caused by the spore-forming bacterium, Bacillus larvae.

From the Amur area of Asia - many fine plants bear this epithet. They are frequently very cold hardy plants.

Refers to processes which are caused by the action of anaerobes which are micro-organisms which require or can survive in an oxygen-free environment. Usually term used when talking about compost heaps.
Methane is created by the anaerobic decomposition of organic material.
Anaerobic is the opposite of aerobic processes.

Mild, long green chile peppers that are named after the area near Los Angeles where they were first cultivated. Also known as Chile Verde (green), Chile Colorado (red) or the California Long Green, the Anaheim Chile is light green in color and slightly bent. It is the most commonly found variety in the United States. Mild, sweet, and slightly bitter in flavor, this chile pepper can be used fresh or roasted and is often available canned. If you buy them fresh, Anaheim Chile peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

The internal structure of plant - mostly vessels and growing tissues

A large root that holds a plant in a physical soil mass.

A plant that normally lives one year or is used for just one year.

A plant which can survive two+ years but is most useful for just one year.

An annual which grows over winter but flowers the seasons after.

A concentric circle of wood produced in the tree trunk.

The pollen-bearing portion of a flower - a male part.

A fungus disease that causes spots and often death of foliage.

Tip or terminus - usually applied to a leaf or petal.

Colonies, hives, and other equipment assembled in one location for beekeeping operations; bee yard.

The science and art of raising honey bees.

Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that have long antennae and a characteristic pair of cornicles (short tubes) extending on either side of their abdomen. Their translucent bodies are most usually green, red, brown, yellow or white.

Although aphid damage is most noticeable on ornamental, fruit and shade trees, they can also infest flower and vegetable gardens. You will find aphid colonies on the underside of leaves, the tips of branches or anywhere there is new growth. An initial infestation of aphids is usually localized, but can spread quickly if allowed to develop unchecked. Aphids damage plants by sucking the sap from leaves, twigs, stems or roots and can sometimes transmit plant virus diseases in the process.

The process of producing viable seed without fertilization.

A plant which grows partially or completely in water.

An organized collection of trees and other woody plants.

The science of the culture or care of trees; usually urban or park trees.

A specialist in woody plant culture. One must be certified and licensed to use this term in business.

The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family that is native to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. A name shared by three unrelated plants: the globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke and Chinese (or Japanese) artichoke. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about six feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. The part that we eat is actually the plant's flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue color. The size of the bud depends on where it is located on the plant. Larger artichokes are found on central stems towards the top of the plant, where they receive maximum sunshine. Smaller or "baby" artichokes are found lower down on the plant where they are shaded from the sun by the larger buds above.

It is also known as rocket, rulola, Italian cress, and roquette. It is a delicate salad green that is related to mustard. When the leaves are young, they are tender and nutty, with a subtle peppery flavor. The leaves look like radish leaves. The white blossoms are also edible. It is used as a salad green, as a garnish, and in combination with other ingredients in sandwiches.

The name asparagus comes from the Greek language meaning "sprout" or "shoot," and it is a member of the lily family. Plants in the lily family are also related to various grasses. In the dialects of 18th and 19th century cookbooks, asparagus was referred to as sparagrass or sparrowgrass. People throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States use fresh Asparagus in their favorite cuisine. In China, Asparagus spears are candied and served as special treats. It is widely popular today as a scrumptious, fresh, healthy vegetable.

History - Asparagus cultivation began more than 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean Region. Greeks and Romans prized asparagus for its unique flavor, texture and, alleged medicinal qualities. They ate it fresh and dried the vegetable to use in winter. In the 16th Century, asparagus gained popularity in France and in England. Asparagus is often called the "Food of Kings." King Louis XIV of France was so fond of this delicacy that he ordered special greenhouses build so he could enjoy asparagus all year round.

Multiplying plants without the use of seeds.Vegetative reproductions - e.r. cuttings and division.

The botanical name prefix meaning dark or intensely colored.

Dark or bloodish red or maroon.

Dark or blackish green.

Becoming yellow or yellow part of the season.

Coming from southern regions of a range. Not necessary from Australia, whose name has a common derivation.

Of the fall season - ie. fall leaf color or fall-blooming

The angle between the upper surface of a leaf or leaf stalk and the stem that carries it. A growth or flower bud ("axillary bud") often appears in the axil.


Someday, over the rainbow, I will actually place all these in a bibliography. With Claire's help perhaps even annotated. Someday. :)