Understanding Garden Terms
Do you find yourself confused by terms like: hybrid heirloom, Animal Control Services, open-pollinated, heritage and microsystem? In this article we’ll go over some basics that will help clear up some of the confusion.
Let’s look at the difference between a microsystem and an ecosystem. To gardeners an ecosystem would be used to refer to the area’s average high and low temperatures, rainfall, sea level and moisture and the zone. A microsystem could be your whole property or sections of the property. As an example, if you have one corner which tends to remain moist, and another that gets largely shade, while a different area has full sun… those are all examples of different microsystems. Each microsystem will have plants and wildlife that will thrive in these conditions that are particular.
Hybrid plants are made when two unique parents are automatically or purposely cross-pollinated. Introducing foreign genetic material on a molecular scale produces genetically modified (GM) crops.
Open-pollinated means the plants produced naturally with character doing all of the work.
Heritage has come to mean seeds known to have been grown for at least one, generations, and often several.
Did you know that in some cases, it’s illegal to save GM seeds? Genetic manipulation is indicated by A trademark that is registered and that’s the legal property.
Bio-piracy and bio-prospecting, involves patent rights over the creation of certain gene combinations. They’ve found a way to incorporate terminator genes (a.k.a. suicide seeds) – this means that while the plant may produce quality food with seeds, these seeds won’t germinate. Plant produce will not create true to form. While seed will produce true to form as long as proper seed-saving procedures are followed.
Large commercial agriculture employs monoculture methods (areas of one crop), often with little to no pollinator and windbreak or water runoff planning. There are no-till (not turning the earth with machines ), organic (grown without chemicals) and biodynamic (considering the relationship, cycles and needs of all forms of life) methods.
Succession planting involves the gardener having seeds or transplants ready to plant as soon as one crop is harvested.
Interplanting (planting closely together), bio-intensive (using the soil surface more efficiently) and companion (working with plants that benefit each other while avoiding those who are direct competitors with one-another) are additional terms you are likely to come across.