Wondering what it all means?

TIP: Click on the letter to see.

  • Acid soils have pH readings less than about pH 6.5. Most Australian soils tend to be acidic.
  • Aerate is to increase the amount of air spaces in the soil.
  • Alkaline soils have pH readings above pH 7.4.
  • Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one year.
  • Bare-root plants are dormant plants that are taken out of the ground and transported to nurseries without soil around the roots. This occurs in winter. Most bare-root plants are roses, ornamentals and fruit trees.
  • Beneficial insects are fantastic workers in the garden. Some will attack harmful insects, some help with pollination whilst others improve the soil.
  • Biennial plants complete their life cycles in two years.
  • Blight is a plant disease.
  • Bracts are a modified leaf that grow at the base of a flower or flower cluster.
  • Bulbs are an enlarged portion of root or underground stem used as food storage organs.
  • Callus is the tissue that forms over the wounds of plants, helping them heal.
  • Companion planting is a theory that if you plant specific crops or plants together, they may assist each other with nutrient uptake, pollination or pest control.
  • Compost is decomposed garden and kitchen waste.
  • Crown is the junction of the root system and the stem.
  • Cuttings are sections of stem, root or leaf used to propagate a new plant.
  • Deadheading is the practise of removing flowers as they fade to prevent the plant from wasting energy on forming seeds. It can increase the life of annuals and can prolong the flowering of roses and shrubs.
  • Division is a way of multiplying a larger plant by cutting or pulling it into smaller portions.
  • Deciduous is a term applied to trees and shrubs that shed all their leaves during their resting period, commonly in autumn and winter, although this term also applies to plants who have adapted to shed their leaves during summer droughts.
  • Dormant is a period of non-growth, normally during winter.
  • Drip-line is the perimeter directly beneath the outer foliage of a plant.
  • Espalier is a space-saving method of training a tree or shrub to grow along a wall, wire or other support.
  • Evergreens are plants that retain their leaves all year (or almost all year) round.
  • Full sun refers to plants that require at least six hours a day of direct sunlight to thrive.
  • Germinate means when a seed begins to grow or sprout.
  • Grafting is when two or more woody plants, generally trees and shrubs, are combined by joining cuttings.
  • Green manure is a crop grown and then dug into the soil at a young age to increase organic matter (carbon) content or soil fertility. Crops generally include barley or lentils. Green manure has heaps of benefits such as increasing the healthy microbial populations in the soil, increasing the water holding capacity of the soil and adding valuable nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
  • Hardening Off is a term used to describe the process of acclimatising plants to outdoor conditions so they can cope with frost, heat, sunshine or wind.
  • Heel In, is to temporarily plant a number of plants in the one hole. Fruit trees are heeled in before planting to keep the roots from drying out.
  • Heirloom plants are those that have generally been around for fifty years or more, although not all gardeners will consider the same plant as heirloom.
  • Hybrid is a plant resulting from a cross between species.
  • Inflorescence is the flowering part of the plant.
  • Inorganic is a term for something such as a fertiliser that has not been obtained from a source which is, or has been, alive.
  • Layering is a technique of rooting a branch whilst it is still attached to the plant.
  • Leaching is percolation of water through the soil, thereby removing the nutrients.
  • Micronutrients are also known as trace elements and are very important for plant health in small quantities.
  • Mulch is a surface layer of material used to suppress weeds and conserve moisture. Organic mulches include manures, compost and straw, which all add organic matter and improve the soil.
  • Nodes are joints in the stem of a plant from which a leaf or branch may grow.
  • Offsets are small plants grown from their parents.
  • Ornamental refers to plants that are grown for aesthetics rather than for consumption or economic use.
  • Perennial plants live for multiple growing seasons.
  • Permaculture is a design concept that aims to create intensive, sustainable food production systems based on traditional methods. It also includes initiatives such as ethical investment, city food production and community gardens.
  • pH is an abbreviation for the concentration of hydrogen in the compost, water or soil.
  • Pinching is removing the soft shoots with your fingers to encourage new growth.
  • Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower, resulting in the formation of a seed.
  • Prostrate refers to the plant lying flat on the ground.
  • Pruning is the process of cutting leaves or branches.
  • Rhizomes are root-like stems that grow horizontally underground and produce roots.
  • Rootbound refers to plants that are left for too long in their pots or containers. The roots begin to encircle the pot and will eventually lose the ability to grow normally.
  • Runners are slender stems that throw out new plant growth.
  • Salinity is an excess of salts in the soil.
  • Scarification involves causing abrasion to the outer coating of some seeds to assist with germination.
  • Scions are the buds, or part of a plant, that will become a new plant.
  • Seedlings are plants that have just emerged from their seed with their first stem, leaves and roots.
  • Selfpollinating plants do not require pollen from another plant in order to produce fruit.
  • Slowrelease fertilisers release their nutrients evenly and gradually over a period of time.
  • Soil comprises of organic matter, various minerals, air, water and various living organisms. Most of Perth is located on ancient sand dunes and therefore the soil is mainly sand. The most common types of soil are clay, loam and sand. Depending on where you live, your soil may be a combination of these. Sandy soils are easy to dig, well-aerated and free-draining but have minimal capacity to hold nutrients or moisture.
  • Staking is the practise of adding a support next to a plant in order to support it’s growth.
  • Stratification is the process of chilling certain seeds prior to planting. This can assist with germination.
  • Suckers are shoots that develop from subterranean roots or stems.
  • Taproot refers to the main root bearing smaller lateral roots.
  • Tendrils are twining, thread-like appendages.
  • Transplanting is the act of removing a plant from one place and replanting it in another.
  • Transpiration is the loss of moisture through the leaves.
  • Tubers are swollen underground stems from which a plant grows.
  • Waterlogged soil is soil that is saturated with water.

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