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If you need a quick reference or intro to gardening terms, here’s a basic list.
Varieties that complete their life cycle in one year or less, requiring sowing every year. Annual flower varieties often bloom profusely and over a long period of time.
Varieties, both flowers and vegetables, that complete their life cycle in two years, usually just showing only leaf growth the first year, and flowers the next.
Young, leafy vegetables or herbs that are harvested at 2″–4″ tall.
The condition of premature flowering in edible crops, often making the plant unpalatable.
Cucumbers that do not produce, or produce very little of a chemical called cucurbitacin, which produces a slight bitter flavor mainly concentrated in the skin and causes minor indigestion in some people.
Botanical Interests defines cold climates as those that experience freezing temperatures; generally, USDA zones 9 and cooler.
A four-sided frame placed on the ground or in a garden bed that has a clear top. By design, it increases temperatures over the ambient temperature and is used for growing seedlings for transplant or for food crops, extending the harvest season.
Planting different plants together that benefit one another. For example, sowing a plant that attracts pollinators next to a plant that requires pollination.
Organic matter often made from decomposed/broken down plant material. Compost can be used to replenish soil nutrients and introduce soil biology to a growing area or simply to reduce landfill waste.
Fast growing plants, usually grains, legumes, or grasses that are utilized for one or more of their soil-enhancing qualities. These crops are usually worked into the soil or removed before they produce seed.
A plant that is cultivated for harvest, like cutting flowers or vegetables.
A species that was selected or bred by humans for a particular feature. Cultivars carry a specific name in addition to the scientific name and/or common name, e.g. ‘Brandywine’.
DAYS TO EMERGE
Number of days, on average, that it will take a seedling to emerge from the soil or medium in favorable conditions.
DAYS TO HARVEST
Number of days from sowing (or transplant) to harvest.
Cutting spent flowers off a plant, encouraging the plant to bloom again; extending the bloom period.
Describes tomatoes that stop growing when fruit begins forming from the topmost flower bud, making them more compact at around 3’–4′. Most of the crop ripens within a couple weeks time, making these a great choice for canning.
Sow seeds directly in their permanent growing space.
Exhibiting less susceptibility or an immunity against specific diseases as compared to other varieties.
Better ability to thrive with the stress of infection as compared to other varieties.
Ability to survive or thrive in low water conditions. Also known as “water-wise.”
Characterized by lanky, weak, pale plant growth, resulting from low or no-light conditions.
FAIRLY DROUGHT TOLERANT
Ability to survive or thrive in low water conditions, but to a lesser extent than “drought tolerant” plants.
FROST TOLERANT CROPS
Crops that tolerate some cool weather and even frost, although the amount of tolerance varies between crops and even varieties.
FROST SENSITIVE CROPS
Crops that are not frost tolerant and will die as a result of exposure to freezing temperatures.
A seed capsule that emerges from a flower, such as a tomato or melon.
Six or more hours of sunlight.
The moment when a seed begins to grow.
Stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Commonly means genetically engineered, indicating that the variety was manipulated at the gene level in a laboratory.
A plant with only pollen-accepting flowers. A pollinator plant with pollen-producing flowers is required for fruit production. These varieties are generally very productive and fast to mature.
The 7 to 10-day process of acclimating plants started indoors to outdoor conditions.
The degree to which a plant can withstand cold temperatures. Botanical Interests uses “hardiness” to also indicate the lifespan of a plant, e.g. annual, biennial, or perennial.
The ability to resist heat-triggered issues like poor pollination, bitterness, premature flowering, and lack of fruit-set.
Botanical Interests considers open-pollinated varieties over 50 years old to be heirloom.
Modern F1 (filial 1) type hybrid. Two specific parent varieties are bred to achieve a first generation hybrid offspring. F1 hybrids are not open-pollinated. Traditionally, “hybrid” indicates any variety that had been made by cross-pollinating, even if that was completed by hand or an insect.
Describes tomato varieties that continue to grow and produce tomatoes all season until first frost: therefore, you can find tomatoes at all stages on the plant at one time. Also called “pole” tomatoes because supports are helpful in guiding plants that can easily reach 6′ or more.
LATIN NAME/SCIENTIFIC NAME
The two or more part name that is unique to a specific species. Scientific names are consistent in any language, whereas a species may have several common names that may even vary by region.
For horticultural purposes, a medium is the material plants grow in.
Young, leafy vegetables or herbs that are harvested just above the soil line when the plants have their first pair of leaves, called cotyledons, and possibly the just-developing true leaves.
Botanical Interests defines mild climates as those without freezing temperatures; generally, USDA zones 10 and warmer. By using microclimates and protections some cooler USDA zones can also use mild climate sowing instructions.
The attribute of a plant producing both pollen-producing and pollen-receiving parts.
Botanical Interests identifies varieties that are native to the U.S. as “native”.
Describes seeds grown on certified organic property, following strict USDA guidelines regarding soil quality, pest and weed control, and the use of additives like fertilizers.
Varieties that produce seeds that are “true”, growing into nearly identical plants as the plant they were harvested from (if they are not cross pollinated). Unless a Botanical Interest variety is identified as a hybrid, it is open pollinated.
PART SUN/PART SHADE
3 to 6 hours of sunlight.
The attribute of a variety producing fruit without fertilization. Cultivars produce seedless fruits when flowers are unpollinated, making them ideal for greenhouse production where pollinators may be excluded. When pollinated, these types produce seeded fruit.
Varieties that live for two or more years.
PHOTOPERIODISM/DAY LENGTH RESPONSE
Refers to a reaction some organisms have to the length of day or night. In plants this reaction is usually flowering.
The fertilization of a flower by wind, insect, birds, etc. where the male pollen reaches the female stigma, resulting in a seed, sometimes surrounded by an edible fruit like a pepper.
An organism that transfers pollen.
Fabric that is used to either exclude pests or raise temperatures of the area beneath it. “Remay” is a type of poly-spun row cover material commonly used in farm and garden settings and it comes in several different thicknesses. Row covers may or may not have hoops under it to create a “low tunnel”.
The process of breaking through a hard outer covering of a seed to allow moisture to penetrate.
To drop viable seeds to the ground. In some varieties, often annuals, if seeds are allowed to drop, those seeds will germinate, perpetuating the variety. The subsequent seedlings are often referred to as “volunteers”.
Growth type of tomatoes that falls between determinate and indeterminate types. They produce a main crop that ripens within a couple weeks, but also continue to produce up until frost.
Germinated seeds that are not grown in medium but instead rinsed in water and drained several times a day.
The process of subjecting seed to a moist and cold treatment to break dormancy, which occurs naturally when seed is sown outdoors in the fall and experiences a winter period.
Sowing at least once more after the initial sowing, which extends the harvest. Three ways to successive sow: 1. Staggering sowings of the same crop 2. Sowing two varieties of the same crop with different maturing dates 3. Replacing one finished crop with a different crop.
A perennial that is not cold hardy in all zones. For Botanical Interests purposes, perennials hardy in only USDA zones 7 and higher are called tender perennials.
The act of reducing extra seedlings so that remaining plants are spaced properly.
Transferring a plant to a different growing space.
Seed that does not have a chemical treatment such as fungicide applied to it.
USDA HARDINESS ZONE
The historical, average, lowest winter temperature in specific geographic US areas. Perennials are rated using the USDA zone system, indicating the coldest temperature and USDA zone in which they can survive. “Deltona is in USDA ZONE 9b”
A species that has naturally formed a unique characteristic, for example from cabbage (Brassica oleracea) came kale (Brassica oleracea var. viridis) and kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) which both adapted unique, characteristics that differ from cabbage and so the variety (“var.”) name was added to the species name.
A cold treatment, such as found in cold winter conditions, that induces flowering in some varieties.
A plant that emerges from being self-sown or sown by an animal rather than by the gardener.
The Benefits of Native Plants and Flowers
Native vegetation evolved to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. This long process brings us several gardening advantages. Native plants provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife, while contributing greatly to healthy soil and water in urban and rural areas. Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food sources.
In the U.S., approximately 20 million acres of lawn are cultivated, covering more land than any single crop. Unfortunately, there are very few benefits to native wildlife from a manicured lawn. Likewise, gardens that mostly feature non-native species of plants are often of little benefit to wildlife.
Natural landscaping is an opportunity to reestablish diverse native plants, thereby inviting the birds and butterflies back home. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.
A native plant garden or large planting with a diversity of trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses provides food and shelter for insects, birds, amphibians, and mammals throughout the growing season.
Leaving seed heads and plant structure throughout winter provides continuing food and shelter for many creatures and provides opportunities to observe nature up close. To underscore the importance of native plants to birds, virtually all terrestrial birds feed their young insects. Native plants provide food for insects, and insects provide food for birds. With no insects, we would have no birds.
Native wildflowers, flowering vines, shrubs, and trees offer a wide range of colors, textures and forms to create dynamic seasonal displays. Grasses and sedges have interesting flowers and seed heads and yellow–orange fall color. Shrubs and trees have fall color and berries that persist into the winter. Choosing a wide assortment of plants ensures seasonal interest, with the bonus of attracting colorful birds, butterflies and insects.
Some of the many benefits of native plantings are:
- Save Water:
Once established, many native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
- Low Maintenance:
Low maintenance landscaping methods are a natural fit with native plants that are already adapted to the local environment. Look forward to using less water, little to no fertilizer, little to no pesticides, less pruning, and less of your time.
- Pesticide Freedom:
Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and watersheds.
- Wildlife Viewing:
Native plants, birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and interesting critters are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife prefers native plants.
- Support Local Ecology:
As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with native plantings can provide a “bridge” to nearby remaining wild lands and wetlands.
Learn more by coming back to DeltonaGardenClub.com
Milk, it does the body good.
But did you know it may also be good for the garden? Using milk as fertilizer has been an old-time remedy in the garden for many generations. In addition to helping with plant growth, feeding plants with milk can also alleviate many issues in the garden, from calcium deficiencies to viruses and powdery mildew.
Let’s find out how to take advantage of the beneficial fertilizer components in milk.
Milk Fertilizer Benefits
Milk is a good source of calcium, not only for humans, but for plants as well. Raw, or unpasteurized, cow’s milk has some of the same nourishing properties for plants that it has for animals and people. It contains beneficial proteins, vitamin B and sugars that are good for plants, improving their overall health and crop yields. The microbes that feed on the fertilizer components of milk are also beneficial to the soil. Like us, plants use calcium for growth.
A lack of calcium is indicated when plants look stunted and don’t grow to their full potential. Blossom end rot, which is commonly seen in squash, tomatoes and peppers, is caused by a calcium deficiency. Feeding plants with milk ensures they will get enough moisture and calcium.
Feeding plants with milk has been used with varying effectiveness in pesticide applications, especially with aphids. Perhaps the best use of milk has been in reducing the transmission of mosaic leaf viruses such as tobacco mosaic.
Milk has been used as an effective antifungal agent, specifically in the prevention of powdery mildew.
Drawbacks to Feeding Plants with Milk
Along with the benefits of using milk fertilizer, one must include its drawbacks.
•Using too much milk isn’t a good idea since the bacteria in it will spoil, resulting in a foul odor and wilty, poor growth.
•The fat in milk can produce unpleasant odors as it breaks down as well.
•The benign fungal organisms that colonize leaves and break down milk can be aesthetically unattractive.
Dried skim milk has been reported to induce black rot, soft rot, and Alternaria leaf spot on treated cruciferous crops.
Even with these few drawbacks, it’s plain to see that the benefits far outweigh any downsides.
Using Milk Fertilizer on Plants
So what type of milk can be used as milk fertilizer in the garden?
I like to use milk that is past its date (great way to recycle), but you can use fresh milk, evaporated milk, or even powdered milk as well. It is important that you dilute the milk with water.
Mix a solution of 50 percent milk and 50 percent water. When using milk fertilizer as a foliar spray, add the solution to a spray bottle and apply to plant leaves. The leaves will absorb the milk solution. However, keep in mind that some plants, like tomatoes, are prone to developing fungal diseases if the fertilizer remains on the leaves too long.
If the solution is not being absorbed adequately, you can gently wipe down the leaves with a wet cloth or spray them with water.
Less milk can be used if you have a lot of plants to feed, as with a large garden area. Using a garden hose sprayer is a common method for feeding plants with milk in large gardens, as the flowing water keeps it diluted. Continue spraying until the entire area is coated.
Distribute about 5 gallons of milk per acre or about 1 quart of milk per 20-by-20-foot patch of garden. Allow the milk to soak into the ground. Repeat every few months, or spray once at the beginning of the growing season and again during mid-season.
Alternatively, you can pour the milk mixture around the base of the plants where the roots will gradually absorb the milk. This works well in smaller gardens. You can place the top portion of a 2-liter bottle (upside down) in the soil next to new plants at the beginning of the season. This makes an excellent reservoir for both watering and feeding plants with milk.
Do not treat the area with any form of chemical pesticide or fertilizer after applying milk fertilizer. This can affect the main fertilizer components in milk that actually help the plants—bacteria. While there may be some odor from the decaying bacteria, the aroma should subside after a few days.