Acession: a sample of seeds from a vaiety held in storage in a seed bank
Aerobic: aprocess that requires the presence of oxygen.
Allelopathy: suppression of one plant species by another, through the secretion of phytotoxic exudates.
Anaerobic: a process that does not require free oxygen, or a condition in which free oxygen is excluded.
Annual: a plant that completes its life cycle in a year.
Anther: pollen bearing structure supported by a filament, which together form the stamen of a flower
Asexual reproduction: non-sexual reproduction, such as grafting, cuttings and tubers
Auxin: plant hormones that control fruit and flower development.


Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt): a bacteria that kills insects due to a protein, called the Bt-toxin. The genes responsible for the production of the toxin have been used to create insect poisoning crops through genetic engineering
Biennial: a plant that completes its life cycle in two years.
Bioavailable: something that is easilily assimilated by life forms
Biodiversity: Variabilty within living organisms and their environments
Biopiracy: the collecting and patenting of life forms formally held in common and their exploitation for profit. Visit the biopiracy page.
Biosphere: the part of the earth's surface and atmosphere inhabited by life
Biotechnology: technologies that use living organisms and biological systems to make or modify products.
Blanching: covering a plant to prevent sunlight from turning leaves and stalks green
Bolting: development of seed stalk
Brassica: group of plants which includes Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Turnip, Rapeseed, Mustard and Brussels Sprouts


Carbonation: water combines with carbon dioxide. In soil formation this forms carbonic acid in which lime, soda and potash become soluble
Carbon nitrogen ratio: the proportion of carbon to nitrogen by weight in any organic matter. The optimum level for biological activity in raw organic matter is between 20 and 30 parts carbon to 1 nitrogen.
Caustic lye: corroding chemical obtained by leaching.
Chelate: a chemical compound whose molecules contain a closed ring of atoms of which one is a metal atom
Clone: plant produced from a genetically identical parent by asexual propagation
Compost: a process that uses any one of several methods to speed up the decomposition of raw organic matter, usually by pilling, aerating, and moistening. Also, the crumbly, nutrient-rich product of this process.
Companion planting: the grouping of plants for their mutual benefit
Cross pollination: transfer of pollen from one plant to the flower of another plant resulting in fertilisation and the crossing of two varieties
Cultivar: a cultivated variety usually having its own name.top


DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the molecule thought to encode all genetic information in plants and animals
Decomposer: organism, usually soil bacteria, that derive nourishment by breaking down the remains or wastes of other living organisms into simple organic compounds.
Dioecious: a species that produces male flowers and female flowers on separate plants
Dormancy: a state during which seeds,tubers or buds will not sprout regardless of favourable conditions


Exotic: not native
Exude: to release through pores


F1: the first filial. The first offfspring of a cross between two distinct varieties which have been selfed
F2: the second generation of hybrid plants
Family: a large group of plants that share similar botanical characteristics; such as flower and fruit structure. It's the 1st of a 3 part clasification that is used to identify plants; the 2nd and 3rd being genus and species.
Fertilization: Union of pollen with the ovule, which eventually produces seed
Fertilizer: any material added to the soil for the purpose of poviding essential nutrients to plants.
Fixation: the binding of a nutrient into a more stable form that may be either less available to plants or more available to plants.


Genera: a group of plants that shares close morphological similarities. See family and species
Germplasm: total of hereditary materials within a species preseved in seeds, cuttings and tubers for reproduduction
Green manure: vegetation grown to be used as fertilizer for the soil, either by direct application of the vegetation to the soil, by composting it before soil application, or by leguminous fixing of nitrogen in the root nodules of the vegetation.
Gymnosperm: a plant which produces seed without producing flowers


Heavy feeder: a plant that requires lots of nitrogen because of its speedy growth eg. squash, potato, tomato
Heritage seeds / Heirloom Varieties: non-hybrid seeds of old varieties that have been passed from generation to generation
Humified: organic matter transformed into humus.
Humus: the fragrant, spongy, nutrient-rich material resulting from decomposition of organic matter.
Hydration: water combining itself with other molecules.
Hydrolysis: water reacting with one compound to create another, such as igneous rock to form clay
Hybrid: the fist generation offspring of two distant and distinct parental lines. For a more indepth explanation, go to the hybrid vs. open pollination page


Indole: crystalline heterocyclic compound.
Intellectual Property Rights system of patents which allows ownership over the applications of research
Isolation: separating one plant or group of plants from another to prevent rossing



Landrace: present varieties grown and bred for millenia from farm-saved seed
Leaching: the downward movement through soil of chemical substances dissolved in water.
Legume: any plant belonging to the leguminous family. Characterised by pods as fruits and root nodules enabling the storage of nitrogen.
the rigid outer layer of the earth which averages 75km in depth
Livefoods: many studies, using such techniques as kirlian photography, have shown that all living things have an energy field around them. It is widely believed that eating such extremely fresh or live food, allows absorbtion of the energy field as well, confering health benefits.


Monoecious: a species that forms both male and female flowers on the same plant
Monoculture: the continuous growing of a single crop over vast tracts of land
the cult of uniformity which has enveloped agriculture and our culture as a whole, sweeping the globe, laying the earth bare and denying diversity.
Mulch: organic material such as leaves or straw spread on the ground around plants to hold moisture, smother weeds, and feed the soil.


Nitrogen fixing: the useful transformation in plants (mostly legumes) of air in the soil into fertiliser with the aid of symbiotic bacteria
NPK analysis:the ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in an organic soil amendment.

Open pollinated: non-hybrid varieties which produce viable second generation seed suitable for farm saving and breeding
O.E.C.D. United Nations Organisation for Economic Coperation and Development, club of the world's richest nations
Organic matter:the remains, residues, or waste products of any living organism.
Oxidation: oxygen combines with iron, magnesium, copper etc, to make them rust.

Pathogen: a disease causing organism such as bacterium, fungus or virus
Perennial: an everlasting plant (as opposed to annual or biennial)
Permaculture: A contraction of permenent agriculture where the inputs equal the outputs
good for fruit formation flowering fruiting and ripening. Found in bonemeal, bird manure, rock phosphate and vetch.
Plumule: the fist leaves to emerge from a germinating seed
Pollen: dust sized particles of reproductive material produced by male flowers
Potash: important for the formaion of flow fruit, leaves and growing tip and can be found in kelp, wood ash and seaweed
Primal seeds: locally grown and adapted seed produced totally free of chemicals and outside of corporate control



Radicle: embryonic portion of a seed that develops into the fist root
Raw manure: manure that has not yet decomposed, containing highly soluble nitrogen and potassium.
Rhizobia: Nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in symbiosis with legumes.
Rhizome: an underground stem that enables plants reproduce asexually
Reductionism: science that reduces everything in to component parts and overlooks the whole, such as complex interactions between organisms and their environment

Sacrificial crop: crop planted to distract pests
Selfing: the transfer of pollen from one flower to another flower on the same plant
Self-Pollination: see selfing above
Sibing: transfer of pollen between different plants of the same variety
Slurry: a suspension of solid particles in a liquid.
Species: a species is a subdivision of a genus, and is the 2nd word in its Latin name used for clasification. All plants within a species will interbreed with each other. Members of a particular species are further subdivided into cultivars or varieties.
Spore: a reproductive body, an evolutionary precursor to seeds, produced by some protozoans and many plants, that develops into a new individual.
Stamen: male portion of a flower which produces the pollen grains
Stigma: portion of female flower that recieves the pollen grains during fertilisation
Symbiosis: closely associated plant or animal species that are dependent on each other


Taxonomy: the system of arranging plants into related groups, in descending order from the largest classification: division, class, order, family, genus and species
Threshing: breaking the seeds free from the seedpods and other fibrous material
Transgenic: an organism produced by genetic engineering
Thermophilic: organism that thrives under warm conditions, or able to generate high temperatures.

Uniformity: lack of diversity within and between plant species apparent in modern cultivars


Variety: a sub-division of species. Closely related plants with nearly identical characteristics, that are distinguishable from other members of the same species.
Vegetative propagation: reproduction by asexual methods
Vernalization: a period of cold weather that is necessary before some plants are able to form flowers
Viable: capable of normal germination and development
plants that have self seeded


Wholistic: an approach that understands that everything is interconnected




home . sitemap . search . contact us . top