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Haddonfield Community Gardens

Where’s My Dictionary?

What Do All Those Gardening Words Mean?

If you want to choose seeds that will help you to garden organically or if you’re just plain confused by the mumbo-jumbo of terms that show up in your flood of seed catalogues, Crows Woods gardener Don Neely has compiled a glossary of terms that will help – thanks to Johnny’s Seeds.

Glossary of Terms

Certified organic
Seeds harvested from plants that are grown organically, in other words, without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Green manure
Replenishes organic matter in the soil. As the green manure decomposes, nutrients are released into the top soil. Winter wheat, hairy vetch, or alfalfa is types of green manure.
Heirloom
An old variety that owes its present availability to the seed-saving efforts of amateurs. Brandywine is an heirloom variety of tomato.
Hybrid
The offspring of a cross between two or more varieties.
Open-pollinated
A non-hybrid variety, one that can reproduce itself in kind.
Resistant/resistance
Implies that a variety has a certain amount of resistance to a disease-causing pathogen such as a fungus, bacteria, or virus.
Tolerant/tolerance
Tolerance implies that a variety will perform relatively well when exposed to a disease-causing pathogen such as fungus, bacteria, or virus.
Treated
Seeds that have a coating of fungicides and/or insecticides intended to protect the seeds from rotting or insect damage in the soil before germination.
Under-seeding
The practice of using green manure as “living mulch.” Corn is often under-seeded with clover once the corn reaches 2’ high. Clover out-competes the weeds and provides a green manure after the corn is harvested.
Untreated
Seeds that have no chemical treatments.