Having perennial problems with gardening gibberish? We’re here to weed out the gobbledygook and clear up confusion with a quick glossary of common terms for you.
Annual Plants which are sown, flower and perish within one season/year.
Biennial Plants which take two years to complete their life-cycle. During the first year only the roots, stems and leaves grow. In the second year they’ll flower, produce seeds and die.
Perennial Plants that continue growing for more than two years. Usually the top of the plant dies back each winter and regrows the following spring from the same root system, though some plants are evergreen.
Hardy Plants that can withstand winter frosts without protection. Hardy Annuals can be sown direct outside in Autumn and Spring.
Half-Hardy Plants that are able to grow outdoors throughout the year, but may need a little tender loving care (usually in the form of horticultural fleece) to get them through the coldest winter nights.
Tender Plants that can’t survive temperatures below 1oC. Tender Annuals are best started off indoors in late spring to be planted out after all risk of frost has passed. Tender Perennials can be potted up and overwintered in a frost-free environment, then planted back outside when the danger of frost has passed.
Cut-and-come-again Some crops, such as lettuces, don’t have to be grown to mature size. You can cut or pick baby leaves and the plant will keep growing for more harvests to come. Flowers can also be cut-and-come-again, Hardy Annuals are a prime example, and are prefect for the cut flower grower!
F1 Variety These plants are the results of crosses between two distinct varieties, selected for their vigorous growth, disease-resistance and prolific crops that mature simultaneously.
Sowing direct Sowing seeds straight into veg plots, borders or outdoor containers rather than starting them off under cover.
Sowing under cover Sowing seeds into seed trays or modules indoors, for earlier sowing or protection from pests whilst the seedlings get established.
Pricking out/Potting on The process of moving seedlings sown in seed trays or modules to a larger pot, so that they have enough space to grow without competition from other seedlings.
Hardening off For plants started off indoors, the seedlings will need to be given a chance to get used to life in the great outdoors. This can be done over a period of a week by moving the seedlings outside in the morning and bringing them in at night before planting out.
Bolting/going to seed This is when a plant enters the flowering stage in order to produce seeds; generally triggered in response to stresses such as extreme temperatures or extended dry periods. Vegetables that reach this stage are usually tough, woody or bitter in taste.
Tilth Used to describe the condition and texture of the soil surface. A ‘good’ tilth is created by raking and levelling the soil, removing any large lumps or stones in the process, in preparation for seed sowing.
This glossary is a work in progress, so please get in touch on Insta with any gardening terms that you’d like explaining 🙂
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