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General Definitions

Annual:

A plant that completes its entire life cycle (germinates, produces seeds, dies) in one season. It may self-sow, thereby giving the impression of being perennial.
 

Hardy Annual:

An annual that does not need to be grown indoors but can be sown direct into its flowering position in the garden in spring.
 

Half Hardy Annual:

An annual that is frost tender and can be started indoors but must not be planted outdoors until all danger of frost has passed.
 

Perennial:

A plant that can live for more than two years, surviving the winter and flowering each year from the second season.
 

Hardy Perennial:

A perennial as above that can tolerate frost.
 

Half Hardy Perennial:

A perennial that cannot tolerate frost but can be over-wintered if given frost protection (also known as a Tender Perennial).
 

Biennial:

A plant that completes its entire life cycle in two years - growing in the first, reproducing and dying in the second.Usually, but not always, producing flowers only in the second year.
 

Tender :

A plant that will not survive frost.
 

Hardy:

A plant that will survive frost.
 

Heirloom:

Original pre-1960’s open pollinated strains selected for garden performance (flavour, long harvest).
 

Open Pollinated:

Natural cross between plants of the same variety. Refers to non-hybrid seeds or plants.
 

Hybrid:

A plant resulting from a cross between two parent plants to give a genetically superior plant. The same parents are used to produce more seed. Normally seed saved from hybrids does not grow true to type.

F1 - The first generation of such a cross.

F2 - The second generation of such a cross
 

Viability:

The ability of seeds to germinate.

Bolting:

Going to seed. Premature formation of a seed stalk.
 

Determinate:

Growth stopped by development of terminal flower buds. A dwarf/bush variety which sets fruit in a concentrated period.
 

Indeterminate:

Growth continuing indefinitely when leaf buds form at the tip of the growth. These varieties need to be staked and continue to set fruit until frost.
 

pH: 

A measurement for the acidity/alkalinity of soil, needed for nutrient availability and microbial activity.
 

NPK:

Basic nutrient needs of plants:
Nitrogen (N) - for green growth, healthy soil and microbial activity
Phosphorus (P) - for flower, fruit and seed production; vigorous roots and disease resistance
Potassium (K) - essential for all building and the quality and size of fruit.
 

Scarification:

The practice of scratching or notching the seed coat to hasten germination. Usually applies to hard coated seed.
 

Stratification:

Chilling seeds to promote germination by breaking dormancy.
 

Cotyledon:

The seed leaves or first leaves that emerge from a germinated seed, different in form from the later true leaves.

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