University of Maryland Extension

Vegetable Gardening Glossary

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A

Acid soil—A soil with a pH value below 7.0. A soil that has a preponderance of hydrogen over hydroxyl ions in the soil solution.

Aeration—To be exposed to air; to cause air to circulate through a medium.

Aerobic—In the presence of oxygen.

Aggregate, soil—A group of soil particles cohering so as to behave as a unit; includes mineral soil and organic matter.

Alkaline soil—A soil for which the pH reading is above 7.0.

Amendment—Any material, such as lime, gypsum, compost, sawdust, or synthetic conditioner, that is worked into the soil to make it more productive. Strictly speaking, a fertilizer is also an amendment, but the term amendment is used more commonly for added materials other than fertilizer.

Anaerobic—Able to live and grow where there is no air or free oxygen.

Anion—A negatively charged ion, such as sulfate (SO4-) and phosphate (PO4-).

Annual—A plant that germinates, grows, flowers, produces seed, and dies in the course of a single growing season.

Anthocyanin—Any of a class of water-soluble pigments, including most of those imparting red or blue color to fruits or flowers.

Available nutrient—That quantity of a nutrient element or compound in the soil that can be readily absorbed and assimilated by growing plants.

Available water—The amount of water held in the soil that can be extracted by plants.

Axil—The angle formed by a leaf or branch with the stem.

B

Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.)—A bacterium that produces a protein crystal that damages the gut of insects (mostly caterpillars), formulations of which are used as insecticides.

Band application—An application in which a material such as fertilizer or herbicide is applied in a narrow line along a row of plants or in a circle around individual plants.

Biennial—Plant that completes its life cycle in two years or growing seasons, with a dormant period in between. It produces leaves the first year and flowers and seeds the second.

Biodegradation—The breaking down of a chemical by organisms in the environment.

Biological control—The action of parasites, predators, or pathogens in maintaining another organism’s population density at a lower average level than would occur in their absence. Biological control may occur naturally or from manipulation or introduction of biological control agents by people.

Blanch—Protecting plant stems (leeks), bulbs (fennel), or heads (cauliflower) from sunlight and the elements. This enhances succulence and prevents discoloration.

Blight—A disease characterized by sudden, severe, and extensive spotting, discoloration, wilting, or destruction of leaves, flowers, stems, or entire plants, usually attacking young, growing tissues (in disease names, often coupled with the name of the affected part of the host, e.g., leaf blight, blossom blight, shoot blight).

Bolting (going to seed)—Flowering prematurely, usually due to unsuitable climatic conditions at certain stages of growth. Spinach, lettuce, celery, broccoli, and endive are plants that are prone to bolting.

Bone meal—Cooked bones ground to a meal without any of the gelatin or glue removed. Steamed bone meal has been steamed under pressure to dissolve part of the gelatin.

Bramble—Any shrub with thorns in the rose family; usually refers to blackberries and raspberries.

Broadcast application—The application of a fertilizer or herbicide to the entire surface of a bed or field, or the sowing of seed by scattering it uniformly or randomly over the soil or container surface, rather than sowing in rows.

Buffer capacity of soils-The ability of the soil to resist a change in its pH (hydrogen ion concentration) when acid-forming or base-forming materials are added to the soil.

Button—The small heads of broccoli or cabbage that form as a result of seedlings being exposed to freezing temperatures.

C

Cane—The flexible stem of a plant such as raspberry, blackberry, or grape.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)—A colorless, odorless gas found in the air that is absorbed by plants and exhaled by animals.

Carbon:nitrogen ratio—The ratio of the weight of organic carbon to the weight of total nitrogen (mineral plus organic forms) in soil or organic matter.

Carotenoid—Any of a number of orange-red or yellow pigments similar to carotene found in leaves, fruits, and flowers.

Caterpillar—The larva of a butterfly, moth, sawfly, or scorpionfly.

Catfacing—Disfigurement or malformation of fruit, caused by low temperature at flowering, insects, and other factors.

Cation—An ion carrying a positive charge of electricity. Soil cations include calcium Ca++ and sodium Na++.

Cation exchange capacity (CEC) –The capacity of a soil to exchange cations with the soil solution. Often used as a measure of potential soil fertility.

Certified seed or planting stock-Seeds, tubers, or young plants certified by a recognized authority to be free of or to contain less than a minimum number of specified pests or pathogens.

Chlorophyll—The green pigment of plants that captures the energy from sunlight necessary for photosynthesis.

Clay—A minute, mineral soil particle less than 0.002 millimeter in diameter.

Cloche—A portable glass or plastic cover for a plant or row of plants to protect plants from cold temperatures.

Cold frame—A low structure with a translucent top, used for protecting plants from the weather and for hardening-off young seedlings.

Cole crops—Member of the species Brassica oleracea, including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Compaction—A state where soil particles are forced closely together, reducing pore space.

Companion planting—The practice of interplanting different plant species to reduce pest problems or improve plant growth.

Complete fertilizer—A fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Compost—The stable, earthy smelling end-product of animal and plant decomposition.

Compost tea—A low-nutrient liquid fertilizer that results from hanging a mesh bag of compost in water for 1 to 2 days.

Cool-season crop—A crop that grows best during the cool temperatures of spring and fall.

Cotyledon—The leaf or leaves of the embryo, also called seed leaf or first leaf. The “true leaves” are the larger leaves that emerge next.

Cover crop—A crop that covers and improves the soil in which it is grown; usually grasses and legumes sown in late summer or fall.

Crop rotation—Growing crops of a specific family in different areas of the garden each year to avoid soil-borne diseases and nutrient depletion.

Cross-pollination—The movement of pollen from one flower to another, either on the same plant, between different plants of the same cultivar, between plants of different cultivars, and sometimes between plants of different species.

Crown—The part of a plant where the roots and stem meet, usually at soil level. Also used to refer to the shortened stem of a strawberry plant, from which roots, leaves, and fruit arise.  On a tree, all the branches that hold the leaves are collectively called a crown.

Cultivar—Cultivated variety; a subdivision of a species; a result of human selection.

Cultivation—Preparation of the soil for growing plants; tilling or hoeing soil to eliminate weeds.

Cultural control—The use of gardening techniques to control pest populations.

Curing—Holding potato tubers or sweet potato roots under warm, humid conditions that favor wound healing.

D

Damping-off—A complex of water molds (fungi) that attacks seedlings, causing them to wilt and die. These fungal pathogens—Phytophthora, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia—thrive in wet, humid conditions and are the causal agents.

Day-neutral plant—A plant that will flower under any day length.

Days to maturity—The number of days between planting and first harvest.

Determinate—Growth that is limited; “self-topping” type of tomato plant having a terminal point that stops growing and sets fruit.

Direct sow (“in situ”)—Sowing seed in the ground where the plant will grow to maturity.

Dolomite—A natural material used for liming soils in areas where both magnesium and calcium are needed. Made by grinding dolomitic limestone, which contains magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, and calcium carbonate, CaCO3.

Double-dig—Method of soil preparation used by bio-intensive gardeners. Requires removing the soil to the depth of one spade blade and then digging down an equal distance, breaking up and mixing organic matter into the subsoil.

Drill—A shallow furrow in which seeds are sown.

Drip irrigation—A water-conserving irrigation system of plastic tubing with small holes that allows water to drip out and reach the root zone of plants.

Drainage—The movement of water through the soil.

E

Erosion—The gravitational loss of soil by the action of wind, water, and ice.

Eutrophication—Nutrient enrichment and oxygen depletion of a water body.

Evapotranspiration—The combined evaporation of water from soil, water, and plant surfaces, and the transpiration of water through the plant and out through leaf stomata.

Eye—A collection of several buds on the surface of a potato tuber, one of which will sprout and form a new stem when conditions are favorable.

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Fallow—Cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle to accumulate moisture and restore nutrients.

Family—A taxonomic division of an order. Usually a family comprises two or more genera, but one genus possessing sufficiently distinctive characters may form a family.

Feeder roots—The youngest roots with root hairs, important in absorption of water and minerals.

Fertilizer—Any natural or manufactured material added to the soil in order to supply one or more plant nutrients.

Fertilizer burn—The browning or wilting, and in extreme cases, killing of plants from exposure to excessive fertilizer salts on the leaves or roots.

Fertilizer grade—An expression that indicates the weight percentage of plant nutrients in a fertilizer. Thus a 10-20-10 grade contains 10 percent nitrogen (N), 20 percent phosphoric acid (P2O5) and 10 percent potash (K2O).

Floating row covers—Lightweight, gauzy, polyester fabric laid directly over a crop to accelerate growth and give protection.

Floret—A small flower, usually one of a dense cluster.

Floricane—Two year-old cane on raspberries and blackberries that flowers, fruits, and then dies.

Foliage—Leaves in general, such as on a branch.

Foliar—Applied to or affecting the foliage (i.e., foliar fertilizers, foliar nematodes).

Frass—Plant tissue mixed with excrement produced by boring insect larvae. It often resembles wet sawdust.

Frost pocket—A depression in the terrain into which cold air drains, but cannot escape, thereby subjecting plants to freeze injury.

Fruiting wood—On grapevines, the one-year-old cane that will produce the current year’s fruit.

Full sun—A site that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sun each day during the growing season.

Furrow—A shallow trench made in garden soil for planting seeds or transplants.

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G


Genus (pl. genera)—1) Groups of closely related species clearly distinguished from other plants. 2) The first name of an organism in the binomial system of classification.

Germination—The initiation of active growth by the embryo, resulting in the rupture of seed coverings and the emergence of a new seedling plant capable of independent existence.

Glycoalkaloid—A bitter-tasting compound present in potato foliage and in the epidermis of potato tubers.

GMO—A genetically modified organism.

Green manure—A cover crop that is turned into the soil before it flowers and is allowed to decay and enrich the soil.

Greensand—A natural source of potassium containing about 7% potash plus 32 trace elements.

Growing season—The period from the last spring freeze until the first freeze in the fall.

Guano—The decomposed, dried excrement of birds and bats, used as a fertilizer.

Gypsum (CaSO4•2H2O)—The common name for calcium sulfate, also called landplaster, a mineral used in the fertilizer industry as a source of calcium and sulfur.

H


Hardening off—The process of gradually acclimatizing a plant that has been raised indoors to lower temperatures or more severe conditions, so that it is not severely checked when planted out.

Heavy metals—The heavy metals of concern to gardeners are lead, zinc, nickel, arsenic, copper, and cadmium. These metals can be toxic to plants (and a potential risk to humans) when they accumulate to high levels in the soil.

Heeling in—Covering the roots of dormant plants with soil or mulch for short periods.

Heirloom plants—Cultivars of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that are open-pollinated, in use prior to 1945, and preserved by farmers and gardeners.

Hilling-up—The process of periodically putting soil around the stems of plants to encourage rooting and protect plant parts from the sun. Examples: Potato, leeks.

Horticultural oils—Highly refined petroleum-based or seed-derived oils that are manufactured specifically to control pests on plants.

Hotbed—A cold frame with soil heated by electric cables or decomposing animal manure, used for raising plants and forcing vegetables early in the year.

Humus—A complex colloid resulting from the end-state of organic matter decomposition in the soil. Humus holds relatively large amounts of water and nutrients.

Hybrid—Plant or animal derived from a cross between genetically different parents. F1 hybrids are seeds harvested from the crossing of two pure inbred lines, to produce plants with desirable traits, such as increased vigor, uniformity, and disease resistance.

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I


Indeterminate—Often used to describe a type of tomato plant with a vegetative, terminal growing-point that does not set fruit and continues to grow through the season.

Inoculant—A microorganism that is introduced into the soil to improve growth of legume crops.

Inorganic—Being or composed of matter other than plant and animal (carbon-based); often of mineral origin.

Instar—The stage in the life of an arthropod between molts. These are usually numbered, such as “2nd instar.”

Integrated pest management (IPM)—A pest management strategy that focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems through a combination of techniques such as biological, physical, cultural, and chemical control practices.

Invasive—A species of plant, animal or insect that is 1) alien to an ecosystem, and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Ion—An electrically charged particle. In soils, an ion refers to an electrically charged element or combination of elements.

J

Juglone—A toxic, natural, chemical defense mechanism of certain trees, e.g., walnut, butternut, to reduce competition for resources. Plants such as tomato, potato, blackberry, blue- berry, azalea, mountain laurel, rhododendron, red pine, and apple may be injured or killed within one to two months of growth within the root zone of these trees.

K


Kelp—Any of several species of seaweed harvested for use as a fertilizer or plant-growth activator.

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Landscape fabric—A loosely intertwined fabric that is placed over the soil as a mulch to inhibit weed growth.

Larva (pl. larvae)—The immature form of insect that develops through the process of complete metamorphosis, including egg, several larval stages, pupa, and adult. In mites, the first-stage immature is also called a larva.

Leaching—The movement of salts, nutrients, and other materials in water through the soil profile.
Leaching accounts for nutrient losses but can also be beneficial in ridding a soil of excess salts.

Legume—A dry fruit with two seams in the outer wall. Example: Black locust.

Lime—A white or grayish mineral compound (limestone) used to reduce soil acidity and to supply calcium for plant growth. Ground limestone (calcium carbonate), hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide), and burned lime (calcium oxide) are types of lime.

Loam—The textural class name for soil having a moderate amount of sand, silt, and clay. Loam soils contain 7 to 27 percent clay, 28 to 50 percent silt, and less than 52 percent sand.

Lodging—When high winds push over tall, unsupported plants like corn or hollyhock.

Long-day plant—A plant that requires a night shorter than its critical dark period, usually 12 hours or less, to flower.

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M


Macroclimate—30-year weather patterns that are independent of soils or topography (state and regional level). Example: Average spring and fall frost-dates.

Macronutrient—A nutrient needed in large amounts by plants: oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.

Mature (plant)-Able to produce flowers (reproduce); contrasts with juvenile, which is unable to produce.

Mesoclimate—Affected by bodies of water, impervious surfaces, and topography (neighborhood and town/city level). Example: Heat sinks in cities; dry, southern slopes.

Microbe—Microorganism; an organism of microscopic size.

Microbial pesticide—Pesticide that consists of bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other microorganisms and is used for control of weeds, invertebrates, or plant pathogens.

Microclimate—Environmental conditions around a plant- from 2 feet down in the soil to 3 - 4 times the height of the plant. Example: Plants shading one another.

Microorganism—An organism of microscopic size, such as a bacterium, virus, fungus, viroid, or mycoplasma.

Micronutrient—A nutrient needed in small amounts by plants; also called a trace or minor element.

Midrib—The central or main vein of a leaf.

Mulch—A material applied to the surface of a soil to conserve moisture, stabilize soil temperature, suppress weed growth, protect plant roots from heat or cold, or to keep fruit clean.

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N


Natural enemies—Predators, parasites, or pathogens that are considered beneficial because they attack and kill organisms that we normally consider to be pests.

Natural selection—The natural process in which individuals best suited to the environment are more likely to survive and reproduce.

Nematodes—Microscopic, unsegmented, parasitic round- worms that live in water, soil, and plants; usually not visible to the naked eye.

Nitrogen fixation—In soils, the conversion of free nitrogen from the air by soil organisms to nitrogen compounds that eventually become available to plants.

Nodules—Swellings on the roots of legumes where nitrogen-fixing bacteria live.

Nutrient—Substance needed by an organism for growth and reproduction.

Nutrient cycle—Path of a chemical through the environment.

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Offset—Plant produced at the base of the parent plant and easily detached from it.

Open-pollinated—Seed produced from natural, random pollination. Open-pollinated cultivars come true to type when seed is saved and replanted.

Organic—Of plant or animal origin; containing carbon compounds.

Organic matter—Plant and animal residues, such as leaves, trimmings, and manure, in various stages of decomposition.

Organic soil—A general term applied to a soil or to a soil horizon that consists primarily of organic matter, such as peat soils, muck soils, and peaty soil layers.

Ovary—Swollen bottom part of the pistil that contains the ovules or immature seeds. 

Ovipositor—The egg-laying apparatus; the external genetalia of the female.

Oxygen, O2—A colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that is 1/5 of the volume of the atmosphere and shields the earth from UV radiation.

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Parasite, parasitoid—An organism that lives on or in another living organism (called a host) and obtains its food supply from the host.

Parthenocarpic—Species or cultivar that produces fruits without pollination and fertilization.

Pathogen—A disease-causing organism.

Pelletized—1) The coating and forming into pellets of very small seed so they are easier to handle. 2) Coating and forming lime into pellets for ease and safety of distribution.

Pesticide—Any substance or mixture intended for preventing, repelling, or killing insects, rodents, weeds, nematodes, fungi, or other pests.

Pesticide resistance—The genetically acquired ability of an organism to survive a pesticide application at doses that once killed most individuals of the same species.

Petiole—1) The leafstalk that connects the blade(s) to the twig. 2) The narrow stalk or stem by which the abdomen is attached to the thorax (Hymenoptera, wasps). 3) In ants, the node-like first segment of the abdomen.

pH—A measure of acidity or alkalinity of a medium. A pH value of 7.0 indicates neutral; lower values indicate acid, higher values indicate alkaline.

Pheromone—A substance secreted by an organism to affect the behavior or development of other members of the same species; sex pheromones that attract the opposite sex for mating are used in monitoring certain insects.

Photosynthesis—The chemical process that green plants use to produce sugars (and oxygen) from carbon dioxide and water, thereby capturing solar energy for use in other chemical processes and tissue building activities of the plant.
6 CO2 + 6 H2O-----------------> SUGAR (C6H12O6) + 6 O2

Physiological disorder—A disorder caused by factors other than a pathogen; an abiotic disorder.
Phytochemical—A chemical found in plants that provides human health benefits, including disease prevention.

Pistil—The female seed-bearing organ of a flower consisting of ovary, style, and stigma.

Pollen—Dust-like male bodies capable of fertilization of ovules. Each pollen grain contains two cells: the vegetative cell, from which the pollen tube develops and the generative cell, which produces sperm. 

Pollination—The transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma.

Pollinator—An insect or other source by which pollen is carried from one flower to another.

Pollinizer—The producer of pollen or the cultivar used as a source of pollen for cross-pollination.

Polytunnel—A structure covered with plastic films used for plant protection. Walk-in polytunnels (high tunnels) are approximately 6- to 8-ft. high at the ridge; low polytunnels are rarely more than 18-in. high.

Potting medium (pl. media)—Material used for growing plants in containers. It may include vermiculite, perlite, coir, sand, peat, compost, bark, and/or soil.

Predator—Any animal (including insects and mites) that kills and feeds on other animals (prey).

Pre-sprout—Germinating seeds indoors between moist paper towels, rolled up and placed inside a perforated plastic bag. The sprouts are planted in the garden after radicles develop.

Pricking out—Transferring thickly sown seedlings from the pot, pan, or seed tray in which they were sown into a larger container, giving them more space to develop.

Primocanes—New, first-year canes on raspberries and blackberries.

Puparium (pl. puparia)—A case formed by the hardening of the next to last larval skin, in which the pupa is formed (true flies, Diptera).

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R


Raised bed—A technique where the soil in the planting bed is elevated above ground level; it is often used where drainage is poor.

Rhizome—Horizontal underground stems that serve as storage organs and a means of vegetative reproduction. An underground stem, unlike a root, may have nodes, buds, and primitive leaves, and may give rise to new plantlets.

Root-Vegetative plant part that anchors the plant, absorbs water and minerals in solution, and often stores food.  It is distinguished from a rhizome by not having nodes.

Row-cover fabric—A spun-bonded polyester fabric used to protect plants from pest damage or harsh climate.

Runner—1) A slender stolon with elongated internodes that grows vigorously across the ground. These root at the nodes that touch the ground, e.g., strawberries. 2) Stems (vine) of certain types of vegetable plants that grow vigorously across the ground, e.g., runner beans.

Russeting—Thickening of the periderm on tubers of russet potato cultivars that occurs after vine senescence.

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Sand—Individual rock or mineral fragments in soils having diameters ranging from 0.05 millimeter to 2.0 millimeters. Usually sand grains consist chiefly of quartz, but they may be of any mineral composition.

Sanitation—Any activity that reduces the spread of pathogen inoculum, such as removal and destruction of infected plant parts or cleaning of tools and field equipment.

Scarification—The chemical (soaking in buttermilk) or physical treatment (rasping with file or sandpaper) given to some seeds to break or weaken the seed coat sufficiently for germination to occur.

Scientific name—A Latinized name, internationally recognized, of a species or subspecies. The scientific name of a species consists of the generic and specific names and the name of the describer of the species.

Seed—Plant embryo with associated stored food encased in a protective seed coat.

Seed piece—Portion of a potato tuber containing at least one eye that is planted to produce a new potato plant.

Self-fertile (self-fruitful)– Plants that will set seed without cross-pollination.

Self-pollination—The process by which pollen is transferred from the pollen-producing section of the plant to the pollen-receiving part of the plant of the same flower.

Senescence—Natural process of decline and death of an entire plant or plant part.

Side-dress—To apply fertilizer to the soil on the side(s) of growing plants to promote fruiting or more vigorous plant growth.

Silt—(1) Individual mineral particles of soil that range in diameter between the upper size of clay, 0.002 mm, and the lower size of very fine sand, 0.05 mm. (2) Soil of the textural class silt containing 80 percent or more silt and less than 12 percent clay. (3) Sediments deposited from water in which the individual grains are approximately the size of silt, although the term is sometimes applied loosely to sediments containing considerable sand and clay.

Skeletonize—To remove leaf tissue between the veins, leaving the network of veins intact.

Slow-release fertilizer—A fertilizer that is made by coating the particles with a wax, clay, or other material to provide a predictable, slow release of the encapsulated nutrients.

Soil—The outer, weathered layer of the earth’s crust that has the potential to support plant life.

Soil block—A cube of compressed soil (or growing medium) made with a blocking tool. A single seed or sometimes a group of seeds is sown in the block.

Soilless mix—Potting medium that contains a mixture of peat, vermiculite, perlite, compost, or other materials, but no mineral soil.

Soil structure—The arrangement of individual soil particles.

Soil texture—The relative proportions of sand, silt, and clay of a mass of soil.

Solarization—The practice of heating soil to levels lethal to pests and pathogens through application of clear plastic to the soil surface for 4 to 6 weeks during sunny, warm weather.

Soluble salt—Salts from fertilizers and tap water that are dissolved in water.

Stamen—The male, pollen-bearing part of the flower consisting of the anther and the slender filament that holds it in position.

Staminate flower—Flower in which only the stamens (male reproductive parts) are present.

Stolon—An aboveground stem that reclines or becomes prostrate and may form roots where nodes come into contact with the ground.

Storage root—A root modified to store large amounts of water, carbohydrates, or starch. Example: Carrot.

Subsoil—Soil layers of varying consistencies found beneath the topsoil. They contain little or no humus.

Sucker—A shoot arising from the root or lower part of the stem of a plant. If suckers grow from stumps or around the bottom of the trunk, they are called stump sprouts. Common with species such as oak, elm, and birch.

Systemic—Capable of moving throughout a plant or other organism, usually in the vascular system.

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T


Tender—Plants that can be injured by cold weather or frost.

Thinning—1) Pulling or clipping the weak seedlings in a pot or row in order to leave the others room enough to develop. 2) Removing a branch or water sprout at the point where it joins a main stem, branch, or trunk. Watch this video that includes a clip on how-to thin seedlings.

Tilth—The physical condition of a soil, e.g., aggregation, porosity, etc., and its ability to support seed germination and plant growth.

Top dressing—A fertilizer or soil amendment applied to the soil or surface; usually incorporated by raking or irrigating.

Topsoil—Uppermost layer of soil, usually darker and richer than the subsoil and with a higher content of nutrients and organic matter.

Toxin—A poisonous substance produced by a living organism.

Translocation—The movement of food or other materials from one part of a plant to another.

Transpiration—The process in which water vapor is lost through the leaves, pulling water up from the roots.

Trap crop—A crop or portion of a crop intended to attract pests so they can be controlled by treating a relatively small area or by destroying the trap crop and the pests together.

Tuber—A short, thick, usually but not always, subterranean stem or branch bearing buds or “eyes” and serving as a food- storage organ.

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V


Variety—An identifiable strain within a species, usually referring to a strain that arises in nature as opposed to a cultivar, which is specifically bred for particular properties; sometimes used synonymously with cultivar.

Vegetable—The edible portion of an herbaceous garden plant.

Viable—The ability of a seed to germinate, which diminishes with age.

Volunteer crop—The emergence of a stand of a self-seeded, previously-planted crop in a garden or field.

W


Warm-season crops—Crops that are harmed by frost and do not grow well until average daily temperatures are in the 70s.

Weed—A plant growing where it is not wanted. A plant that grows in a disturbed site.

Wet feet—A condition where plants are exposed to excess soil moisture caused by flooding, a high water table, or compacted soil.

Wilt—Loss of rigidity and drooping of plant parts caused by dry soil conditions or interference with water conduction inside the stems, e.g., boring insects, pathogens.

Winter annual—A plant that germinates at the end of the summer and overwinters as a small, dormant, but green, plant. It usually completes its life cycle by mid-summer. Examples: Henbit, hairy bittercress.

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