Gardening Glossary

Seeds per gram

Seeds per gram (s/g) refers to the actual number of seeds of a given variety per gram. As some seeds are very small, there may be as many as 10,000 s/g, whereas very large seeds like beans may have to be measured abstractly as in 175 seeds per 50g in order to achieve an accurate average. The term seeds per gram is always used as an approximation, as the relative size and weight of seed may vary by as much as 50%, depending on freshness, dryness, and even ambient humidity. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency uses a commercial standard scale...

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Self-Sowing

Many flower and herb varieties are prone to self-sowing. If their flowers are allowed to mature and set seed, the seed will fall and lay dormant until the following spring. In some cases self-sowing plants can become weedy. Prevent self-sowing by “deadheading,” or removing spent flowers before they set seed. Some examples of plants that are likely to self-sow: Dill, Foxglove, California poppy, Calendula, Nasturtium, Poppies, Verbena, Cilantro, Chives…

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Raised Bed

This refers to any garden planting area where the soil is elevated above the regular soil level. Typically, a frame is built out of boards, beams, or stones, and then filled in with soil. The elevation of the soil in a raised bed allows for better drainage and causes the soil to heat up faster than it would otherwise. Warm, well-drained soil is perfect for many vegetables, particularly heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, melons, and so on. Raised beds can be any depth – even raising the soil 6 inches above the ground will improve its properties for growing vegetables...

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Row Cover

This refers to coth or polyethylene fabric that is used to literally cover a row of vegetables. Lightweight row cover can be used in the spring to protect seedlings from insects. The cover is placed over the whole planted area and its edges are tucked into or stapled into the soil. This is a very effective way of protecting carrots from the carrot rust fly – as just one example. Heavyweight row cover is thicker, and is meant to be used as an insulating blanket in the fall or early spring. This will keep frost from damaging vegetables. Heavyweight row...

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Permaculture

Permaculture is an approach to garden design and landscaping that focuses on ecological responsibility, sustainability, and cultivating the environment as part of the agricultural process. There are many principles associated with permaculture, but the primary concept is that growers observe and interact with the environment, and work to produce no waste. The term was coined in the 1930s as a shortening of “permanent agriculture.”

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