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Definitions (74)

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tilth


A good tilth is a term referring to soil that has the proper structure and nutrients to grow healthy crops. Soil in good tilth is loamy, nutrient-rich soil that can also be said to be friable because optimal soil has a mixture of sand, clay and organic matter that prevents severe compaction.
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species


A level of hierarchy in plant classification. All plants are classified or identified by placing them in groups or categories to show relationships. All plants can be identified or associated with successive categories that are arranged hierarchically, as follows: Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. When people discuss plant na [..]
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symbiosis


A close, often long-term, mutually beneficial interaction between two or more organisms.
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cover crop


Cover crops are not grown for sale – they are grown to care for and improve soil fertility. Growing a leguminous cover crop helps fix more nitrogen in the soil, but all cover crops increase humic matter, decrease soil erosion in the off-farming months and help break up compacted soils. Common cover crops include rye, dwarf, sweet, red or white cl [..]
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green manure


A cover crop that is quick to grow, mature, and kill, and one easily decomposes, allowing for a fast shot of nutrients to garden soil. Buckwheat is the most commonly used cover crop that is known as a green manure.
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legume


Legume plants are notable for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, thanks to a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with bacteria (rhizobia) found in root nodules of these plants. The ability to form this mutualism reduces fertilizer costs for farmers and gardeners who grow legumes and allows legumes to be used in a crop rotation to replenish s [..]
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nitrogen


These 3 nutrients are needed in the largest amount by plants and are referred to as macronutrients. Fertilizer is made up of these 3 macronutrients (along with smaller amounts of micro-nutrients). Fertilizers are described by a 3 number designator; for example, 20-20-10. These numbers are percentages of three elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and pot [..]
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organic matter


Also, humus. Carbon-rich soil component that helps open up heavy clay soils, increasing air and water movement. Also helps hold sandy soils together – gives them structure and more stability.
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ph


pH is expressed in a range from 0 to 14, with 0 being most acidic, 14 being high in Alkaline and 7 being neutral. The pH of the soil is very important because pH affects plant nutrient availability by controlling the chemical form of the nutrient. All plants do not have the same pH preference and choosing plants that thrive in the pH of your soil w [..]
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rhizobia


Soil bacteria that fix nitrogen after becoming established inside root nodules of legumes. Rhizobia require a plant host; they cannot independently fix nitrogen. Rhizobia are very important because Nitrogen is the most commonly deficient nutrient in many soils around the world and it is the most commonly supplied plant nutrient.
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