Archive for January 16th, 2012

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Seed Jargon

January 16, 2012

New to growing seeds? Here are definitions for words you may read on seed packets or in catalogs:

  • Sow:  To scatter or to place seeds in a systematic matter in the soil or in seed starting cells for germination.
  • Seed starting cell, 6-pack, or plug tray:  Reusable plastic tray containing individual cells for starting seeds. Tray can contain a pack of six to 200 cells.
  • Fiber Pots, peat pots:  Starter pots made of biodegradable matter. Both pot and seedling are transplanted directly into the soil without disturbing the root system. Eliminates plant shock.
  • Soilless Mix or Seed Starter: A soilless blend, with fewer disease-free problems, that provides aeration, drainage, water retention, and holds nutrients. Often contains perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. Soilless mix does not contain natural soil.
  • Seed master, seed sower, mini seeder, or dial seed sower:  A small hand tool used to control the flow and number of seeds sown at whatever spacing is required. Saves seeds and thinning time.
  • Germinate:  When a seed starts to sprout above the soil.
  • Seedling:  A young developing plant grown from a seed.
  • Thin or Thinning:  The removal of crowded seedlings in cells or ground for proper air circulation, light, and growing space for full development of the remaining seedlings.
  • Hardening-off:  To gradually toughen plants for new environment prior to transplanting into the garden. This is done over several days, increasing the time outside each day. Usually done when taking seedlings or transplants home from the nursery, out of the greenhouse, or moving them outside to a cold frame or protected area.
  • Transplant:  To plant a seedling (or mature plant) from one place to another, i.e., from cell to pot or soil, or from soil to pot.
  • Zone:  Regions in which particular plants grow well according to climatic and growing seasons.

Note: For help with catalog seed ordering read, Shopping for Seeds via Catalogs: Part I.

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