The Vegetable Garden


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    Action or damage threshold – The level of a pest population at which control is initiated.

    Acidity – pH below 7.

    Acute toxicity – Injury that occurs soon after exposure to a pesticide.

    Aerated – Contains plenty of air.

    Alkalinity – pH above 7.

    Ammonium – A form of nitrogen that is commonly found in the soil.

    Aneorbic – Without oxygen.

    Annuals – Plants that reproduce by seed and live for a single year.

    Antagonists – Organisms that release toxins or otherwise change conditions so that activity or growth of the pest organism is reduced.

    Aphids – Small soft-bodied insects with long, slender mouth parts with which they pierce stems and leaves to suck out plant fluids.

    Azotobacter – A type of bacteria found in compost piles that can fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form plants can use.


    Bacteria – Single celled organisms that require a host plant or some other organic material as a food source.

    Bed planting – Growing vegetables in closely spaced rows that grow together at crop maturity.

    Beneficial insects – Insects that are beneficial for crop production because they pollinate plants, attack insect pests or serve other useful purposes.

    Biennial – A plant that lives for two years. It produces leaves in the first and flowers in the second.

    Biodegradable plastic mulch – Plastic mulch that degrades in the environment.

    Biological control – Any activity of one species that reduces the adverse effects of another.

    Black plastic mulch – A plastic mulch that is black in color.

    Blossom-end rot – A calcium deficiency in tomato and pepper fruit that causes the tip of the fruit to blacken and rot.

    Bolting – The formation of a seed stalk instead of an edible portion of the plant.

    Bone meal – Ground up animal bones that are an excellent source of phosphate, calcium and trace elements.

    Broadleaves – Dicot weeds that have meristems at the terminal end of their branches.

    Burpless cucumber – Mild-flavored and the skin is free of bitterness.

    Butter and sugar corn – White and yellow colored kernels are mixed on the ear.


    Cabbageworms – Caterpillars that attack cole crops.

    Cantaloupe – A muskmelon of the round-to-oval, firm fleshed, no sutured, heavy-netted type.

    Carbon to nitrogen ratio – The ratio of the amount of carbon in organic matter to the amount of nitrogen that it contains.

    Casaba – A somewhat rounded melon with a smooth rind and white flesh.

    Cation exchange – The ability of clay and humus to attract and exchange positive ions.

    Chronic toxicity – Injury that occurs after long-term exposure to a pesticide.

    Clay – A constituent of soils that consists of particles less than 0.002 mm in size.

    Clear plastic mulches – Plastic mulch that is clear and allows light to penetrate.

    Cold frame – An unheated structure used to start transplants.

    Companion planting – Plants that protect neighbors by repelling pests.

    Compost – Decayed organic matter that contains nutrients and organisms, which enrich the soil.

    Cool season vegetables – Plants that grow best when temperatures are cool.

    Cover crop – A vigorous fast-growing plant that covers the soil surface and improves the soil.

    Crookneck squash – Fruit are elongated with slim, long, slightly to very curved neck.

    Crop rotation – Planting different crops in the same place two years in the row.

    Cultivars – Plants within varieties that breeders have developed and are distinct from each other.

    Cultural weed control – Cropping practices that optimize vegetable growth.