Anthracnose is a fungal disease that may overwinter on infected seed, plant debris, or in soil. It shows up as small, water-soaked spots on above-ground plant parts, which turn light brown and drop off. Tan cankers appear on stems. To avoid spreading the disease, rotate crops, remove and burn diseased plants, and do not cultivate when plants are wet.
Annuals are plants that complete their life cycles (seed germination to seed production), within a single season and die.
Antioxidants are a group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help protect the body from forming free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can damage the cells, impairing the immune system and leading to infections and various degenerative diseases. Examples of antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E, Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), selenium to name a few.
Aphids are oval-shaped and range in size from 1/16" to 1/8". They can be green, black, yellow, red, or brown, and some have wings. They move slowly but reproduce fast. A new generation takes only 7 days to appear. They are found on the undersides of leaves, on stems, and crowded onto the tips of growing shoots. Their main food is the sap they suck in large amounts from the veins of the plant. The following sprays are effective in their control: water jet spray, citrus spray, alcohol spray, insecticidal soap spray, and liquid rotenone/pyrethrin spray. Apply every few days for about 2 weeks.
Beneficial insects are "good" bugs. They are the gardener's friends because they prey upon insect pests that damage plants. Ex: ladybugs prey upon aphids. For more info on beneficial insects see www.GardensAlive.com
Biennials are plants that require two seasons to complete their life cycles (seed germination to seed production); the first for vegetative growth and the second for flowering and setting seed.
Bolting is to produce flowers and seed prematurely.
Bouquet garni is a term applied to blends of herbs wrapped in cheesecloth bags or between two pieces of celery. The idea is to flavor without allowing specks of herb in the dish. A string long enough to tie around a pot handle allows the removal of the herbs. The best-known bouquet is made up of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The herbs can be fresh or dried.
Carrier Oil: Basic oils used to make infusions, massage oils, culinary oils, etc.. Almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, hazelnut, jojoba, and olive are good examples of carrier oils. Each has slightly different properties. For example, hazelnut oil penetrates most easily and deeply and has no smell or taste, unlike olive oil whose scent can overpower the fragrance of the essential oil.
Companion Planting is locating plants in proximity to each other because of their ability to enhance or complement the other's growth or attract beneficial insects or repel insect pests.
Cross-pollination is the transferring of pollen from the flower of one plant to another plant that has a different genetic constitution.
Crown rot is a disease where fibrous fans of white fungus appear near the bases of plants. Often there is a red or light brown crust on the soil around the plant. Plants yellow, wilt, and die. Dig up and burn diseased plants.
Cuttings are a method of propagation. Softwood cuttings for lemon balm, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme are taken before the new growth becomes hard or woody. These plants are usually quite easy to root. Taking cuttings will spur the plant into new growth and keep it bushy. In spring or early summer, prepare containers with a ½ and ½ mix of peat and perlite. The mix has to drain well to prevent rot. Take cuttings with a sharp knife, not scissors. Make your cut just below a node (bud section). Put shoots in the shade in a plastic bag or in water to prevent moisture loss. Carefully cut off all leaves except the top swirl. Make a hole in the mix. Do not allow leaves to touch the mix. Do not overcrowd. Keep cuttings out of direct sun; bright shade is best. Cover them with a plastic bag and spray them with water often. Turn the plastic bag inside out if condensation collects. If fungal growth appears on a cutting, discard it at once.
Damping-off is a fungal disease in the soil causing seedlings to wilt and die. Stems shrivel at the point where they emerge from the soil and they fall over.
Decoction is a tea made from roots, bark, nuts, and non -aromatic seed. These must be simmered in water in a covered pot for 20 minutes to release the beneficial constituents. Ex: ginger root.
Division: Separating overgrown plants by dividing them into sections with a shovel or forks in preparation for replanting the sections. Herbs should be divided either after flowering in late summer or in early spring. The best time is when growth is minimal, and in warm, mild weather to avoid cold damage. It is important not to let roots dry out. Replant divisions right away. Before dividing, prepare the site where you will replant or get pots ready for the new plants. After lifting the plant, wash off the roots, disentangle them, and pull them apart or cut if the clumps are woody (thyme, for example). Make sure each section has a good root system. Replant immediately. Water thoroughly, and keep the plants well watered and weed-free until well-established.
Dormancy is the suspension of active growth during the winter or other unfavorable conditions.
Essential Oil: Commercially available volatile oil extracted from plants by steam distillation and containing a mixture of active constituents; highly aromatic and highly concentrated.
Extract: Another name for a tincture.
Flea Beetle is a small, dark, oval beetle that jumps vigorously when disturbed. Control with lime, diatomaceous earth, or rotenone.
Germination is the physical and chemical changes that occur as a seed begins to develop into a young shoot.
Hybrids are the offspring of genetically different parents, usually a distinct species.
Infusion is the process of extracting essential oils from herbs by steeping them in hot water or cold or hot oil. A hot water infusion is called a tea. Herb leaves and aerial parts are plunged into hot water, but not boiled because this will cause them to lose volatile oils. Remove boiling water from the heat before adding these parts of plant material. Roots and bark are boiled. Medicinal herbs are often steeped overnight.
Lanceolate means shaped like the head of a lance; tapering to a point, and is often used in referring to the shape of certain leaves.
Layering is a method of propagation. Plants that trail, such as prostrate rosemary and thyme, layer without any help. A stem touches moist ground and it puts out roots. You can pull stems to the ground and pin them there to layer your plants.
Leafminers are small, black flies with yellow stripes. The maggots eat out tunnels in the leaves that show up as squiggly lines. Crush eggs on leaves, and cut and burn infested leaves. You can spray before or while the egg hatches, but nothing affects them once they dig in. See Rhubarb Spray for Leafminers in Remedies for Plants.
Leafspot is a bacterial disease that appears as spots or patches on the leaves. They may look water-soaked and are often angular with a yellow edge. The leaf is killed as spots show. It is spread by insects, rain splash, or windborne seeds. Avoid wetting the foliage; water from below. Remove all affected leaves and practice good sanitation in the fall by bagging and discarding leaves from the ground below plants. Spray woody plants with sulfur in winter.
Massage Oil: Usually made by adding essential oils to a carrier oil. Different blends serve different purposes. For example, a good blend for muscular aches is a mix of bergamot, coriander, eucalyptus, and rosemary in a hazelnut carrier oil.
Mealybugs are small, oval insects with a spiny, waxy white covering. They suck plant juices. Some feed on roots and others, on leaves and stems. Those that feed on leaves are visible as a cotton-like mass in leaf axils or on buds. Root mealybugs can be found near the soil surface or on the root ball when the plant is removed from the pot. Shoots and leaves wilt and plants are stunted. Control by swabbing with alcohol as often as needed. Put root mealybug plants in the trash and burn.
Menstruum is a solvent typically used in the making of tinctures. It can be water, alcohol (vodka, brandy, gin, wine), vinegar (organic apple cider only), or glycerin.
Nematodes are microscopic worms with pearly egg masses. They stimulate injured plant tissue to form galls, which block the flow of water and nutrients to the plant. This leads to stunting, wilting, and yellowing. Roots appear scabby.
Node is the point on a stem, sometimes swollen, at which leaves, leaf buds, and shoots arise.
Offshoots or offsets are young plants that occur by natural, vegetative reproduction, usually at the base of the parent plant.
Orris root is the rootstock of Iris florentina, used as a fixative in potpourri. The fixative absorbs and "captures" the essence of the oil and preserves its aroma for many years. Can be ground or powdered.
Perennials are plants that live from year to year. They may be woody (sage, thyme, lavender) or herbaceous (chives).
Perlite is light granules of volcanic minerals added to soil or potting and seed starting mixes to improve aeration.
pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Neutral soil has a pH of 7.0. Any value above 7.0 is alkaline. Any number below 7.0 is acidic. Add lime to soil that is too acid. Add sulfur to soil that is too alkaline.
Phoma lavandula is a fungus that can attack lavender. Spores on the stem produce black spots, which will eventually kill the plant. The disease is called shab.
Powdery Mildew is a fungus that appears as a white fuzzy coating on the upper leaves. Plants susceptible: beebalm, calendula, coriander, germander, lemon balm, tarragon, and yarrow. Foliage will eventually wilt, brown, and drop. If detected early, it can be eliminated by spraying with a solution of 1tsp. baking soda to 1 quart water. See Remedies for Plants for more solutions.
Rhizomes are underground stems that produce roots and send up shoots.
Rhizome Cuttings are taken by lifting the plant out of the soil and choosing rhizomes that have plenty of growth buds. Divide them into 3" sections. To distinguish the ends that face the bottom of the pot, angle cut. Straight cut the part that will face up. Insert the cuttings vertically and cover. Put them in a warm, bright area. Fertilize when you see growth.
Root Rot is a soilborne fungus. Leaves turn yellow, and the plant grows more slowly than normal. Cool wet soils favor these organisms. Attacks come in spring before the soil warms and in the fall during wet periods. Fibrous roots are affected first, and then the main roots. Best prevention is good soil aeration and drainage. Pull up and burn infected plants.
Rusts are fungal diseases. Red, orange, or black pustules appear on stems and leaves. Remove and burn. a sulfur dust helps. See Molasses Spray in Remedies for Plants.
Self-seed is to regenerate from seed that is dispersed in the garden without human intervention.
Spider mites are microscopic in size. They appear as red dots or are tan with black spots. Use a magnifying glass. They do not fly but crawl or are blown from one plant to the other. A fine web is also an indication of their presence. Heavy infestations destroy leaves, which appear finely speckled with white and brown. Control with the following sprays listed from those with the least ecological impact to the highest: water jet spray, alcohol spray, insecticidal soap spray. Use horticultural oil for the eggs. Apply once a week until pests are gone.
Stipules are leaf-like structures found at the point where the leaf stalk arises from the stem.
Stratify or Stratification is to prechill or expose seed to cold in order to break dormancy, either by refrigeration or by sowing in autumn.
Stock Plants are "mother" plants used to produce propagation material, whether seed or vegetative material.
Tender Perennials are generally tropical plants that will live from year to year in temperate climates if brought indoors so they are not killed by frost. They can be set out again in the spring.
Tincture: Solution of extracts of medicinal plants obtained by steeping the plants in alcohol or in a solution of alcohol and water. The extracting liquid can also be vinegar or glycerin.
Vascular system is the system within plants that is made up of all the conductive tissue, enabling nutrients to flow throughout the plant.
Vermiculite is a light, mica-derived mineral added to potting mix to improve aeration and moisture retention.
Verticillium Wilt is a fungal infection of the vascular system. It lies in the soil and infects plants through the roots. Stems and leaves turn yellow and then brown. Plants wilt even though well watered. Control by rotating crops, avoiding high nitrogen fertilizers, and by removing and burning diseased plants.
Weevils are beetles belonging to the Curculionide family. The head is prolonged into a snout.
Whiteflies look like tiny white moths and are about 1/20" long. They live on the undersides of leaves where they lay eggs. They flutter about when the plant is disturbed. The eggs appear as white flat patches and take 8 to 15 days to hatch. The larvae eat the undersides of the leaves. Adults can excrete a sweet liquid, which can cause the growth of a black sooty mold. Extreme infestations will cause leaves to wither and drop. Adults are attracted by sticky yellow and blue traps found at garden stores. These are good for early detection. Control with the following sprays listed from the lowest ecological impact to the highest: water jet spray, alcohol spray, insecticidal soap spray, liquid rotenone/pyrethrins spray. A light horticultural oil is effective against the eggs once the adults are under control. Concentrate sprays on the undersides of leaves. The last 3 sprays mentioned are all found in garden stores.
Whorl is the circular arrangement of three or more flowers, parts of a flower, leaves, or shoots arising from a stem of a plant.