Friday, October 31, 2008

Understanding Gardening Terms

Sometimes, especially if you are a new gardener, terms used in growing guides can leave you with questions.  This post is designed to illuminate the gray areas.  loamy soil

Acid soil   Soil with a pH below 7.0.

Alkaline soil   Soil with a pH above 7.0.

Amendment (soil)   Any substance such as lime, gypsum, or sulfur used to alter the properties of a soil, generally to improve its physical properties.

Annuals   Plants living one year or less. During this time the plants grows, flowers, produces seeds, and dies.

Biennial   A plant that completes its life cycle within two seasons.

Biosolids (sewage sludge)   A byproduct produced by wastewater treatment processes that has plant nutrient content. [Espoma does NOT use any sewage sludge in its products because it may be harmful to human health and the environment.]

Chlorosis   A condition in which a plant or a part of a plant is light green or greenish yellow because of poor chlorophyll development.

Clay   Soil material containing more than 40% clay, less than 45% sand, and less than 40% silt. [Clay soils are hard and compact, and do not allow water, air and roots to penetrate. See gypsum for possible solution.]

Compost   A mixture of organic residues and soil that has been piled, moistened, and allowed to decompose biologically.

Deciduous   Refers to trees and shrubs that lose their leaves every fall.

Evergreens   Refers to trees and shrubs that retain their leaves throughout the year.

Fertilizer   Any substance containing one or more recognized plant nutrients that is used for promoting plant necessities

Filler   A substance added to fertilizers to provide bulk, prevent caking or serve some purpose other

pH  In gardening, pH refers to the level of acidity or alkalinity of your soil.  The scale ranges from 0 to 14.  7 is neutral. Different plants prefer different pH levels. 

Loamy Soil   A soil consisting of an easily crumbled or pulverized mixture of varying proportions of clay, silt, and sand.

If you can think of more commonly misunderstood terms, please submit them to our list.  The more the better.  The more you know, the more you can grow!

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