Plants with a one-season life cycle. Usually intensely showy, and need to be replaced each year.


Plants with a two year life cycle. The first year of life they produce a rosette of leaves, and the second year they bloom and set seed. Allow to reseed or replant to keep them in the garden for more than two years.


To cover or block direct light from a growing plant to whiten its leaves, making them tender and less bitter.


Annual or biennial vegetables or herbs that flower and/or produce seeds rather than food, usually in response to warm weather.

Botanical Name

The Latin scientific name of a plant, composed of the genus, species and variety.


Early stages of development of a flower or plant growth.


A swollen, fleshy underground stem that contains stored food for the embryonic plant within it. True bulbs such as lilies or daffodils have fleshy scales surrounding a central bud. Similar structures such as corms (crocus, gladiolus), rhizomes (iris, lily of the valley) and tubers (dahlia, cyclamen) are often included with bulbs for the purpose of general care and planting.


A mixture of decaying organic plant material which is great for conditioning soil. Common components include leaves, kitchen scraps, manure or peat.


The meeting of the stem and root at the base of a plant.


Removal of spent blooms. Since a plants purpose in flowering is to produce seeds, removing the flowers before seeds form can extend the bloom time. It also keeps plants looking tidy and helps prevent unwanted seeding. Pinch old flowers at their base, or use clippers.


A plant that loses its leaves at the end of the growing season.


A plant that keeps its leaves year round.


Chemical or organic material that provides nutrients that plants need. Used to supplement depleted soils or boost growth for food crops or flower production, especially in container gardening. Soil amendments and granular, time-release or water-soluble products are available, and each has its benefits for different purposes.

Most fertilizers are designed to provide 3 key plant nutrients; Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K), and products are labeled with their ratio. Use this information to choose the best formula for your purposes.

  • N = Nitrogen. Encourages leafy growth. This nutrient is short-lived in the soil and needs frequent replenishment.
  • P = Phosphorus. Supports stem strength and flower production. Can build up in the soil, but should be applied regularly for container plants grown in soil-less potting mix
  • K = Potassium. Promotes root development and general plant vigor. Relatively stable in the soil, but regular applications are helpful for container plants.


The sprouting of a seed.

Heirloom vegetables

Open pollinated varieties whose seeds produce consistent plants from one generation to the next. Seeds are often saved and passed along to other gardeners, family and friends. These varieties are often best-suited to the home garden, with excellent flavor but not practical for large scale commercial production or shipping and handling. Heirloom vegetables can cross-pollinate each other, resulting in natural hybrids so if you want to keep your strain pure, do not grow it near other varieties of the same vegetable.


A plant with a non-woody stem that dies back to the ground in the winter or dry season and produces new growth from the ground for the climates growing season.


Products used to kill unwanted vegetation (weeds). There a various types of herbicide as follows:

  • Pre-emergent - prevents seeds from germinating
  • Non-selective - kills any plant
  • Selective - designed to work on certain types of plants, usually grasses or broadleaf plants.


The offspring result of cross-breeding two different, but related plants. An F1 hybrid is the consistent, reliable product of a cross between two specific parents but seeds saved from hybrid will revert to the parent plants.

Light Conditions:

  • Full Sun: 8 hours of direct sunlight a day
  • Part Sun: 4 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day (avoid hot afternoon sun)
  • Shade: Less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day (avoid hot afternoon sun)


Any loose material placed over the soil as a protective or decorative covering and to control weeds. Organic mulches (shredded bark, wood chips, pine straw, etc.) are preferred for garden use, and stone products for non-planting areas.


Technically, anything composed of or relating to living matter. Also used to describe earth-friendly home gardening practices and commercial production methods that meet certification requirements.


Live for many years. Top growth dies back in the fall or dry season, and re-emerges in the climates growing season.


Products used to control pests such as insects and diseases, by killing them or disrupting their life cycle (preventing spores from maturing, eggs from hatching, inhibiting reproduction, etc.). Always follow product instructions carefully for safety and maximum effectiveness.


A measure of the amount of acidity and alkalinity in your soil.

  • A soil with a pH of 7.0 is neutral. 0 to 7.0 is an acid soil, a soil pH from 7.0 to 14 is alkaline.
  • Most plants have a preferred pH range for optimal growth, and a plant's ability to use some soil nutrients is affected by the pH range.
  • Soil additives can be used to change pH levels

Pinch Back

A pruning technique for creating bushier plants, usually perennials, herbs and vegetables. Pinch off the new growth tips early in the season before plants produce flower buds. This redirects the plants energy into creating new shoots, resulting in fuller, more compact plants and more blooms. It can also delay flowering a desirable result for many herbs and a means to manipulate bloom time in perennials such as garden mums.


Cutting and trimming plants to remove dead or diseased foliage, to shape plants, or to control and direct the new growth of a plant.

Rose Cone

A covering for rose bushes, used to provide winter protection in cold climates.

Soil Chemistry

See pH


Wooden, metal or plastic stakes are used to provide support to newly transplanted trees, as well as vegetables, tall or heavy-flowered perennials or annuals, and vining plants.

Tap Root

A single main root that grows vertically into the soil. Plants that commonly develop a tap root may need special consideration when transplanting.


Removing excess seedlings to reduce crowding and make better growing conditions for the remaining plants.


The process of installing a plant into a new location, either by digging and moving an established plant or planting new ones you have purchased.


Multi-colored leaves. Usually green, bronze or golden leaves are spotted, mottled, edged or netted with contrasting or complementary colors.


A handy system for gardeners, which identifies geographic zones by average annual minimum temperature. Hardy plants are rated by their ability to survive cold, helping gardeners choose plants that will survive in their region. For example, a plant that is hardy to zone 10 can withstand a minimum temperature of 30°F (-1°C). USDA hardiness Zone 10 has a minimum average cold temperature of 30-40°F (-1°to 4°C).