90% of People Don't Know the Meaning of These Gardening Terms. Do You?


By: J.P. Naomi

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Is your thumb green enough to ace this quiz? It's time to break out the rubber boots, gardening gloves and hat as we journey through the garden!

Did you know that gardening has been around for centuries? The world's oldest form of gardening is known as forest gardening. This is a low-maintenance plant-based food production system that is found mainly in tropical and temperate climates. Forest gardening produces many fruits, nuts, shrubs, herbs, vines and lots of perennial vegetables.

While some gardeners grow food for sustenance, other gardeners find simple joy in the beauty of their landscapes. This type of "ornamental horticulture" dates back to ancient times. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is even one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World! 

From your small herb garden to the greenhouse in the village, gardening takes on many forms. No matter what, all gardeners have the same goal - keep those plants alive and thriving. Remember that the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday. So if you want to succeed, keep that soil healthy, your leaves pruned and don't forget the water! 

Now put your pocket snips away, stop beating around the bush and take this ultimate gardening lingo quiz now! 

______ elements are the nutrients that plants need in small amounts...

Trace elements are also known as 'micro-nutrients'. They refer to the mineral elements required by plants, though in very small quantities!


This is any method of loosening soil or compost to allow air to circulate ...

Aeration not only allows the soil to receive more oxygen, but it also allows for better water penetration. Aeration can be done manually or by a machine, depending on the size of the area, whether a home garden or a large field.


A plant that is yellowing or has blanching of the leaves due to lack of chlorophyll, nutrient deficiencies or disease has _______.

Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of leaves. The word chlorosis is derived from the Greek khloros meaning 'greenish-yellow', 'pale green', 'pale', 'pallid', or 'fresh'.


______ is completely decayed organic matter used for conditioning soil.

At the simplest level, the process of composting requires making a heap of wet organic matter known as green waste and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Green waste is considered leaves or food waste.


When you move a plant from one growth medium to another, this is called...

To transplant seedlings into a garden bed, you must follow these steps: Harden off the plant, prepare the new soil, handle your seedlings with care and cover the newly planted seedlings for a few days. This will ensure the roots gain a strong foothold and flourish.


_______ is a scale from 0-14 that explains the degree of acidity or alkalinity of the water or soil.

In chemistry, and therefore gardening, pH stands for "potential hydrogen". At either end of the scale are lemon juice and vinegar for high acidity and liquid drain cleaner for high basicity.


Applying fertilizer after seeding or transplanting is known as _________.

Topdressing is a sand or prepared soil mix applied to the surface of the lawn. Topdressing materials are evenly applied in a thin layer, typically ¼ inch or less, for a variety of purposes!


This type of plant grows and flowers every year...

A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term means "through the years," and is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials.


The abbreviation N-P-K represents the three main nutrients necessary for plants. What does the N stand for?

Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll, the compound by which plants use sunlight energy to produce sugars from water and carbon dioxide! It is also a major component of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Without proteins, plants wither and die.


Compounds used to prevent the spread of fungi in gardens and crops are called ________.

Fungicides can also cause serious damage to the plants if not used properly. Be sure to follow the label directions carefully.


_______ crop is vegetation grown to protect and build the soil during an interval when the area would otherwise lie fallow.

A cover crop is a planted primarily to manage soil erosion, soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agricultural area. They are considered the hardest-working plans you'll ever grow!


A ________ plant is one which requires less than two hours of dappled sun per day.

A few examples of deep shade plants are "buckshaw blue" hostas, bleeding hearts, English ivy, Jerusalem sage, white trillium and hydrangeas. While many plants need a lot of sunshine to survive, there are a few dozen that only need a little!


The beginning of growth in seeds, the action of sprouting, budding or shooting, above the soil is known as...

The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm. The growth of a sporeling from a spore, such as the spores of hyphae from fungal spores, is also germination!


___________ digging is the method of preparing the soil by digging a trench then putting the soil from one row into the next row...

Double digging is typically done when cultivating soil in a new garden, or when deep top-soil is required. On poor or heavy soils, or for vegetable gardens, double digging is recommended every 3–5 years.


If something is _______, it is able to decompose or break down through natural bacterial or fungal action.

Did you know? It takes a paper towel 2-4 weeks to biodegrade, whereas plywood takes 1-3 years. Don't waste your time on plastic bottles, though, they can take up to 100 years to biodegrade!


The combination of wood chips, grass clippings, compost, straw and leaves that is spread over soil to hold in moisture and help control weeds is called _________.

Mulch is usually comprised of organic materials, though not always. It can be permanent, such as a plastic sheeting, or temporary, such as bark chips. Reasons for applying mulch include conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth and enhancing the visual appeal of the area.


The abbreviation N-P-K represents the three main nutrients necessary for plants. What does the P stand for?

The word phosphorus means "light-bearer." This is because the first form of elemental phosphorus that was produced emitted a faint glow when exposed to oxygen. Phosphorus is a major component to that which fertilizes and maintains plants.


This term describes a type of gardening in which no chemical or synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used ...

Organic food is food produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Though the standards vary across the world, organic farming typically works to cycle resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.


Finely ground fertilizer composed of white or light gray bone that adds phosphorus to the soil is known as _________.

Bone meal is also known as bone manure. It is not only used as an organic fertilizer, it is also a nutritional supplement for animals! It is a great source of phosphorous and protein.


A biennial plant produces leaves in the first life cycle and _______ in the second.

Many biennials require a cold treatment, or vernalization, before they will flower. There are far fewer biennials than either perennial plants or annual plants.


A _______ insect is one that benefits your garden by eating or laying its eggs in other insects so as to protect your crops!

Bees, ladybirds and European mantis are examples of beneficial insects. They perform important services such as pollination and pest control!


A soil, compost or liquid with a pH between 0 and 7.0 is considered ________.

Garden plants typically grow best in neutral or slightly acidic soil. One of the easiest ways to make soil more acidic is to add sphagnum peat!


Gardeners often refer to acidic soil as "_______".

If your soil is too acidic, you might consider adding some limestone to help raise the pH level. There are generally two types, calcitic limestone (which is mostly calcium carbonate), and dolomitic limestone (which also adds magnesium to the soil).


A soil with a pH between 7.0 and 14 is called _______.

Alkaline soils are clay soils. They tend to have poor soil structure and a low infiltration capacity. They also have a hard calcareous layer .5 - 1 meter deep.


Gardeners refer to alkaline soil as "_______"!

Alkali, or alkaline, soils are clay soils with high pH, a poor soil structure and a low infiltration capacity. Often they have a hard calcareous layer at 0.5 to 1 meter deep.


__________ are used to protect plants from frost and are helpful season extenders.

A cold frame is a transparent-roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from adverse weather, primarily excessive cold or wet. The transparent top admits sunlight and prevents heat escape via convection that would otherwise occur, particularly at night!


The abbreviation N-P-K represents the three main nutrients necessary for plants. What does the K stand for?

The main role of potassium is to provide the ionic environment for metabolic processes in the cytosol, and as such functions as a regulator of various processes including growth regulation. Potassium deficiencies are recognized through yellowing leaves, brown scorching or curling .


This is a plant that blooms, produces seeds and dies in one year ...

Did you know ... summer annuals germinate during spring or early summer and mature by autumn of the same year. Winter annuals germinate during the autumn and mature during the spring or summer of the following calendar year.


The _________ describes the general health of the soil including a balance of nutrients, water and air.

Tilth can change rapidly, depending on environmental factors such as changes in moisture, tillage and soil amendments. Soil with good tilth tends to have large pore spaces for air infiltration and water movement.


Organisms that live or occur where there is no oxygen are known as _________.

Soil that forms under conditions of saturation, flooding or ponding long enough during the growing season is said to develop anaerobic conditions, particularly in the upper section of the soil. Anaerobic soil lacks free oxygen but generally contains atomic oxygen bound in compounds such as nitrate, nitrite and sulfites.


_________ are fleshy underground stems or runners that send out roots and shoots from their nodes.

Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks and rootstocks. They are responsible for the spreading of creeping grasses.


A fairly stable, complex group of nutrient-storing molecules created by microbes and other forces of decomposition by the conversion of organic matter is known as _________.

Humus comes from the Latin word humus meaning "earth" or "ground." Humus significantly influences the bulk density of soil and contributes to moisture and nutrient retention. Soil formation begins with the weathering of humus.


Worm _______ is the digested organic waste of red worms ...

Gardeners consider red worm castings the most nutrient dense organic compost available! The act of using red worms to convert food scraps into worm castings is known as vermicomposting.


_______ is the formation of bonds between organic compounds and metals, some of which are insoluble, as in humus.

Chelation in soil increases nutrient availability to plants. Organic substances in the soil either applied or produced by plants or microorganisms are the natural chelating agents.


This term is used to describe a plant that has gone to seed prematurely ...

When gardeners grow vegetables, herbs or flowers, they typically experience this period of bolting when the plants grow quickly, stop flowering and set seeds. This occurs with crops such as lettuce and spinach but can happen with flowers as well.


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