Gardening Glossary

Perennial

Unlike annuals, which mature fully in one year, and biennials which take two years, perennials are plants that last for more than two years. Scientifically, the term refers to any woody-stemmed plant, but includes everything from tiny, low-growing thyme varieties to towering maple trees. Perennial plants overwinter by storing food either in their trunks or roots. Unlike annuals, they do not need to attempt to self-sow each summer. Some perennial plants may only last three years, or will benefit from being lifted and separated at that time by root division.

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pH

The pH scale measures relative acidity and alkalinity in soil. A pH of 7.0 is absolutely neutral and expresses the relative acidity of pure water. A pH of 1.0 would be extremely acidic (stomach acid), and 14.0 would be extremely alkaline (lye or drain cleaner). Nearly all crop plants prefer growing in a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Outside of this range, many soil nutrients become unavailable to plants which leads to stunting, discolouration, poor fruit set, and general poor growth. Without the correct soil pH, there is no point in adding fertilizers or other nutrients...

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Pelleted Seeds

Small seeds like carrots, onions and lettuce are sometimes “pelleted.” Each seed is coated with a layer of clay to increase its size for easier handling. This makes spacing the seeds much easier and enables growers to use set spacing on their seeding machines. It also increases evenness in germination. The few varieties of seeds we offer as pelleted are prepared with organic materials, and contain no seed treatment or chemicals. NOTE: Extra care must be taken with all pelleted seeds. Be sure to keep the seed bed EXTRA moist until germination. If the seed bed is allowed to dry out, the clay...

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Parthenocarpic

The fruits of parthenocarpic varieties (some tomatoes and cucumbers, for instance) develop without pollination, so they do not require male flowers or insect pollinators. As a result of this, they also don’t form seeds. Parthenocarpic varieties should be grown in isolation from non-parthenocarpic types to ensure that no cross-pollination takes place. If it does, the parthenocarpic fruits may develop seeds.

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Organic

Organic is a broad term given to food that has been grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, seed treatments, pesticides, herbicides, and so on. In the case of meat, animals are raised without the use of antibiotics, steroids, etc… Vegetables (and other plants) grown in this way produce “organic” seeds. It should be noted that an organic seed does not necessarily produce an organic plant, because it is the method of growing that determines whether something is organic. Likewise, conventionally grown seeds (seeds that have not specifically been grown in an organic fashion) may produce organic vegetables if...

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