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Educate > Pesticide Free Gardening > Glossary Terms

Glossary Terms

Barriers - used to detour pests.

Bone Meal - mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones used as an organic fertilizer for plants. As a slow-release fertilizer, is primarily used as a source of phosphorus.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - a partnership between farms and consumers investing in the nourishment of families, local economy, and our earth. The customers become members, or "shareholders," in the farm for the entire growing season, receiving a weekly share of fresh, seasonal, chemical-free, non-genetically-engineered vegetables, herbs, and flowers.  

Compost - recycled leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and eggshells used as a primary source of nutrients.

Cover Crops - used to benefit the soil and/or other crops, not intended to be harvested for feed or sale. Some of the primary benefits from cover crops include: soil quality improvements, erosion control, fertility improvements, suppress weeds, and insect control.

Crop Rotation - helps prevent buildup of organisms in one place and can reduce some disease problems.

Organic Fertilizers - supply nutrients but add little or no organic matter.

Fish Emulsion - liquid form of fish meal used as a fertilizer and its quick high organic nitrogen.

Fish Meal - the dried, ground, processed material derived from non-edible fish or fish scraps. As it breaks down, material becomes available to plants as a fertilizer. Fish fertilizers also benefit plants by the addition of many minor and micronutrients.

Floating Row Covers - protects plants from harmful insect pests. Can guard against frost damage and deter animals from eating young seedlings and vegetable transplants.

Greensand - a soil amendment and fertilizer that is mined from deposits of minerals that were originally part of the ocean floor.

Hoeing – used for weeding, loosening, and breaking up soil around plants.

Limestone - used to adjust the soil’s pH by making acid soils less acidic.

Mulch - decayed leaves used to control weeds and maintain overall health of plants.

Organic Matter - compost and cover crops.

Organic Fertilizer - provides proper balance of nutrients.

Pesticide - a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest.

pH - unit measurement of a soil’s acidity. Proper pH is important for the breakdown of organic matter and the release of nutrients in the soil for plant growth. A soil pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH above 7 is called a sweet or alkaline soil, while a pH below 7 is known as a sour or acid soil.

Rock Phosphate - made by grinding a natural rock containing one or more calcium phosphate minerals. Used either directly after grinding or after concentration as a phosphorus fertilizer.

Seaweed - a material used for fertilizer that is usually made from brown or red algae.

Soil Biology - the study of microbial and faunal activity and ecology in soil. Plays a vital role in determining many soil characteristics. Organisms include: earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria.

Soil Testing - used to accurately determine the pH of a soil.

Sulphur - used to adjust the soil’s pH by making alkaline soils more acidic.

Tilling – used to turn under any cover crop or residues left from the fall

Trap Crops - less desirable crops planted near the garden. The hope is that insects will be attracted to and consume these crops more than the desirable ones.


This site was created by Teresa L. Rineer (email) who is a student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Last updated on February 10, 2008

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