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Gardening Glossary: Common Gardening Terms You Should Know
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Gardening Glossary: Common Gardening Terms You Should Know

When it comes to gardening, gardeners have their own language. Whether you’re a keen green-fingered individual or not, there’s a possibility that some of these common gardening terms are new to you.

Learn the language of gardening with our Gardening Glossary, so you won’t miss the most common gardening words and phrases.

Acidic

A term used by gardeners when soil or compost has a pH level below seven on a scale of 14.0.

Acre

A garden or any land area that is equal to 4840 square yards.

Aeration

The act of penetrating your garden soil to allow nutrients and water to reach the plants and their roots, and also enabling air to circulate.

Aerial Roots

Roots that grow typically on the above-ground.

Agriculture

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The practice of farming, such as growing crops and ranching animals to provide food and other products.

Alkaline

A term used by gardeners when soil or compost has a pH level between 7.0 and 14. 

Annual

Refers to garden blooms that complete their life cycle in one growing season, or a year or less.

Bare Root

Plant, tree or shrub with the root exposed, ready for transplanting.

Beneficial Insect

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A variety of insects that provide benefits and services to your garden, such as pollination and pest control.

Biennial

Refers to garden blooms that complete their life cycle in two growing seasons; producing leaves during the first season and flowers during the second.

Biodegradable

Substance or waste made of organic matter that can be decomposed or broken down through bacteria or other living organisms.

Biological Pest Control

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Natural organisms such as beneficial insects used to deter garden pests.

Border

The edges or frame of your property or garden area.

Bulb

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Plants that are actively growing underground, e.g. onion.

Cold Frame

A four-sided frame placed in a garden bed or on the ground to protect the plants from adverse weather. It’s also used for growing seedlings.

Companion Planting

The act of planting different plants in close proximity to each other, so that they can provide mutual benefits. For instance, sowing a plant that attracts pollination next to a plant that requires pollination.

Compost

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An organic material that can be added to the soil, helping the plants to grow.

Crop

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Plants that are grown in large quantities which are then cultivated during the harvest seasons, such as wheat and potatoes.

Days to Emerge

The number of days that a seedling will take to emerge from the soil.

Days to Harvest

The number of days from sowing or transplant to harvest.

Deadhead

Cutting dead flowers off a plant to encourage further blooming.

Direct Sow

Planting seeds directly into the soil.

Drought Tolerant

The ability of a plant to thrive or withstand low water conditions.

Frost Tolerant Crops

The ability of a plant or crop to thrive or withstand cold weather, including frost. 

Frost Sensitive Crops

Plants or crops that can’t tolerate cold weather or exposure to freezing temperature, including frost.

Full Sun

Direct, unfiltered sunlight for six or more hours daily.

Germination

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Refers to the process by which a seed begins to sprout.

Heat Tolerance

The ability of a plant or crop to thrive or withstand heat-triggered issues such as poor pollination, premature flowering, etc.

Indeterminate

Tomatoes that can grow and produce fruit all season until the first frost.

Microgreen

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Baby plants that fall somewhere between a sprout and a baby green. Commonly known as young salad plants which are served as a vegetable dish.

Native

A plant, tree or shrub that grows locally in a specific area.

Organic Seed

A seed that is produced by organic gardening or farming methods. An organic seed has no additives like fertilisers.

Part Sun/Shade

Four to six hours of direct sunlight a day.

Perennials

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Plants or flowers that can fill your garden with full blooms all spring, summer and fall. It’s also considered as a plant that lives for more than two years.

Pollinator

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An organism or insect that carries pollen from one plant to another.

Row Cover

A garden fabric that is used to protect plants from cold and wind and to block insects and prevent the spread of disease.

Scarification

The process of weakening or opening the coat of a seed to allow moisture to enter, encouraging germination.

Sprout

A small grown plant or also known as the little bud.

Tender Perennial

A perennial that can thrive for many years in warm climates, but can’t withstand cold winter temperatures.

Transplanting

The process of transferring a fully germinated seedling or a mature plant to replant it in a permanent location for the growing season.

Vernalization

The exposure of seeds or plants to low temperatures to encourage flowering and boost seed production.

Volunteer

Trees or plants that can grow on their own, such as tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, etc.

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