Glossary

ACID SOIL

Soil with a pH level below 7.0.  A slightly acid soil (around 6.5pH)  is preferred by most fruit and vegetables. In measuring pH: 7.0pH is neutral or middle (zero) of the scale.  As you move below 7.0pH the soil begins to become more acidic.  The lower the number the more acidic i.e 4pH is more acidic than 6 pH.

pH Scale

ALKALINE SOIL

Soil with a pH of above 7.0.  In measuring pH: 7.0pH is neutral or middle (zero) of the scale.  As you move above 7.0pH the soil begins to become more alkaline.  The higher the number the more alkaline i.e 9pH is more alkaline than 7.5 pH.

ANNUAL

Plants grown from seed which mature within a year.

BIENNIAL

Plants maturing in second year after planting.

BIODEGRADABLE

Materials readily decomposed in the soil by micro-organisms such as bacteria and earthworms.

BLANCHING

Taking outer leaves & folding them over the head of a cauliflower to help protect against wind, heat and sun discolouration.  You can either tie or break the leaf to fold over.

BOLTING

Premature running to seed, often as a result of excessive heat, drought or poor soil; cauliflower, cabbage and lettuce are prone to bolting.

BUTTONING

When a Brassicas, like cauliflower, form little side heads instead of one solid head, due to temperature fluctuations.

CROSS POLLINATION 

The transfer of pollen from the flowers of one plant to another of the same type, essential with some plants, like maize, to have fertile seed to replant.

DETERMINATE

A plant which stops growing from the main stem once the terminal buds (ones at the end of the stem) form flowers eg. some tomato varieties.

FRIABLE

Friable soil has a rich, healthy, crumbly consistency; ideal for the root growth of plants and is usually a “loam” soil.

GE (Genetically Engineered) or GMO

Some people use the term GMO or Genetically Modified Organism.  Genetic Engineering describes the high-tech methods used in recent decades to incorporate genes directly into an organism.  The only way scientists can transfer genes between organisms that are not sexually compatible is to use recombinant DNA techniques which is usually done in a genetic laboratory.  The plants that result do no occur in nature; they are “Genetically Engineered” by human intervention and manipulation. SOW DELICIOUS does not sell seeds that are GE/GMO and are highly opposed to this technology.  ** Note: One danger of GE plants is that their pollen can come into contact with plants of the same crop in a nearby area and contaminate the seed – just one of the negative effects of GMO on our planet.

See informative video below:GMO VIDEO

 

HEIRLOOM SEED

Generally defined as an open pollinated variety resulting from natural selection.  Some sources say an “heirloom seed” variety must be at least 50 years of age to be considered an heirloom but this topic still seems to be hotly debated.  Seed saved from an heirloom produces plants with the same characteristics as the parent.

HYBRID

Hybrid / F1 or first generation hybrid occurs when a plant breeder selects two pure lines (plants that produce identical offspring when self-pollinated) and cross-pollinates them to produce a seed which combines desirable characteristics or traits from both parents.  Common traits plant breeders work to increase in hybrids might include, for example, disease resistance, uniformity, earliness or color.  Hybrid seeds are often more expensive due to the high cost in production. Seeds can be saved from hybrids, however plants grown from that seed will not come true; in other words, may lack the desirable characteristics of the parents.  In this process a plant breeder will use natural plant traits already in existence in nature to create better strains and it is NOT Genetic Modification.

INTERDETERMINATE

A plant which will go on growing until stopped as it has no true terminal point i.e. some varieties of tomatoes.

LOAM

Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration (about 40-40-20% concentration respectively).

MULCH

A layer of decomposed organic matter used to conserve moisture like leaves, grass cuttings and wood chips (the best form of mulch).

PERENNIAL

Plants which live for a number of years and do not die after flowering and seeding.

OPEN POLLINATED SEED

These seed varieties result from pollination by insects, wind, self-pollination or other natural forms of pollination. If you saved seeds from open-pollinated varieties and grow them they will come true, meaning that the plants will produce plants with characteristics or traits like the parent plant from which the seeds were harvested (Assuming they did not cross pollinate with another of the same family).

ORGANICALLY CERTIFIED SEED

When you see the word “Certified Organic” on a seed packet, it has distinct legal meaning.  It can ONLY be used for seed by growers who are in compliance with all the detailed rules and regulations specified and have an Organic Permit issued on an annual basis .  One of the regulations specify that the land on which crops are grown cannot have had prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest, and the operation must be managed according to an Organic System Plan that is approved and regularly inspected by a certifier.   Organic seeds are grown strictly without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; the use of sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering is also prohibited.  Seed can be sold as ‘organic’ but not as ‘certified’ as this certification is very expensive and not many farmers can afford to do this on an annual basis.  Organic seeds can be harvested from parent plants grown from non-organic seed if there was non available to plant but the seed harvested from the plants must have been grown in ‘organic’ conditions.

TREATED SEED

Seeds treated with pesticides or fungicides to control viral or fungal contamination of that crop or other crops in the area. Many seeds that are imported into this country are treated/fumigated for pest and disease in quarantine.  SOW DELICIOUS pays to have all our seed checked by a sanitary inspector before export to make sure that no viruses or fungi have contaminated the seed.  Our seeds are not treated with pesticides or fungicides unless otherwise stated.

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