Desert Greenhouse Guide
Greenhouse Gardening Book

Gardening Glossary

Sometimes gardening terminology can be tough for those new to gardening.  Here are a few terms common to gardening and greenhouse gardening to help you along the way.

There are 42 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition

A term used to describe a compost pile that is not properly aerated.  When oxygen is not available for the microbes decomposing the material in the compost pile, a different type of microbe will be feeding of the material that may cause the decomposition process to slow and the pile may smell foul.


Bolting refers to when weather gets hot, lettuce will bolt.  This means that it sprouts a flower and will go to seed.  When lettuce bolts, the leaves will become bitter.  If you live in hot climate, look for lettuce varieties that are heat resistant.  Lettuce is a cold weather crop.

Botanical Name

Use of the binomial nomenclature method of naming plants.  Every variety of plant has one scientific Latin name to identify it.  They may be difficult to pronounce, however there is no question as to which plant you are referring to as a common name may be used for several varieties of one plant.

Broadcast Seeding

Sowing seeds by scattering them.

Cold Compost

A slower method of composting with little to no interaction with the compost pile once it is created.

Cold Frame

Refers to a "miniature" greenhouse. When moving plants from indoors to outdoors, the need the opportunity to become accustomed to the outdoor temperatures with a period to harden off.

Common Name

The name used to identify a plant.  The common name may not be accurate as it can often refer to several varieties of one plant.  More accurate is the botanical name.


The process of decomposing organic matter and using it as organic fertilizer and soil amendments.

Compost Bin

A structure to hold the compost pile.

Compost Sifter

A screen to seperate finished compost from larger material.

Compost Tea

Liquid fertilizer created from water and compost.


A plant that has been cultivated and given a unique name due to its desirable characteristics.

Damping Off

Fungus related condition of seedlings attacking the base of the stem, causing the seedling to collapse.


Sheds its leaves in the winter and the plant goes dormant.

Determinate Plants

Determinate plants grow only to a specific height.  Check your seed packet or seed supplier to find out how tall your plant will grow.

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