Wednesday, January 3, 2007

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.