Glossary of Garden Terms
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
As stated by Robyn Van En [1948-1997], a leading CSA advocate, "...the main goal...of these community supported projects is to develop participating farms to their highest ecologic potential and to develop a network that will encourage and allow other farms to become involved." (2) CSA farmers typically use organic or biodynamic farming methods, and strive to provide fresh, high-quality foods. More people participate in the farming operation than on conventional farms, and some projects encourage members to work on the farm in exchange for a portion of the membership costs.”
Food Forests / Edible Forest Gardens mimic Nature’s design and relationships between plants and animals found in a natural forest. Typically there are 5 levels or layers to an edible food forest: 1) Open Canopy (orchard- fruit & nut trees), 2) Shrub (berries) 3) Herbaceous (wildflowers, herbs- insectaries) 4) Ground Cover (living mulch) 5) Root Plants (food, break up the soil and act as biodynamic accumulators)
Food Justice is communities exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food. Healthy food is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers and animals. People practicing food justice leads to a strong local food system, self-reliant communities and a healthy environment. (definition courtesy of justfood.org)
"Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture; to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade in order to achieve sustainable development objectives; to determine the extent to which they want to be self reliant; to restrict the dumping of products in their markets, and; to provide local fisheries-based communities the priority in managing the use of and the rights to aquatic resources. Food sovereignty does not negate trade, but rather, it promotes the formulation of trade policies and practices that serve the rights of peoples to safe, healthy and ecologically sustainable production."
Statement on People's Food Sovereignty" by Via Campesina, et. al.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines genetic modification as any method used to create organisms or influence their growth "by means that are not possible under natural conditions." The GMO label doesn't apply to plants bred through natural cross-pollination in a field or the hybrid breeding of two species of the same crop, methods used by farmers for thousands of years to grow, cull and propagate the hardiest, best varieties. GMO seeds are prohibited under the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act for certified organic growers or any certified organic product.
The term, "Giving Garden," was first used locally by gardeners at the former Parkwood Community Garden to describe the large garden area where produce was grown to supply local area foodbanks. "Giving Gardens" are now a central feature of most of Ballinger, Calvin, and Twin Ponds. Many gardeners prefer to help grow food for food banks, rather than maintain individual plots.
A Guild is a community of plants and animals that grow well together because each member supports and benefits the other members of the guild. Native Americans observed plant and animal relationships in nature and mimicked them creating many guilds, including the legendary guild known as the “Three Sisters.” The Three Sisters Guild includes corn, beans and squash. By planting corn in the center of a mound of soil, beans around the corn, and squash around the edges, Native Americans were minimizing their work while facilitating the Three Sisters to help each other. The tall corn stalks create a trellis for the beans to climb, and in exchange the beans fix nitrogen in the soil to nourish the corn. The large meandering leaves of the squash vines prevent water evaporation and weeds from spreading and growing while providing shade for the shallow roots of the corn. Their symbiotic relationships allow them to produce more food and use less water. In a guild, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Hydroponic means growing plants (most house plants, flowering plants, vegetables, several different kinds of fruits and many different kind of herbs) in a water and nutrient solution, without soil. There are 4 main methods of hydroponic gardening depending on the method used to deliver nutrients: 1) Deep water culture (DWC- roots are drenched in nutrient rich solution) 2) Aeroponic (plant roots are misted with nutrients while they are suspended above the nutrient chamber) 3) Ebb & Flow (nutrient solution floods a tray filled with plants on timed schedule) 4) Drip System (nutrient solution drips into the growing medium).
Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method. Like "lasagna" the garden is built in layers of organic materials. It is also known as “sheet composting.” Layers may include, newspaper or cardboard, soil, kitchen waste, compost, etc. Materials compost in place, resulting in rich soil.
Mulch is used in planting beds to help retain moisture, slow weed growth, and prevent erosion. Examples of organic mulch material include shredded bark; wood chips; pine needles; straw; hazelnut shells; composted leaves; Christmas Trees, etc.; shredded cedar; rock, pea gravel, crushed granite or pebbles; and living ground cover.
Permaculture is an ecological design system to create sustainability for human endeavor with a minimum of intervention, including but not limited to: building natural homes, growing our own food, restoring diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catching rainwater and building communities.
Xeriscaping is a landscape design that conserves water and protects the environment. The 7 aspects associated with Xeriscape landscape designs are: 1) Appropriate Planning and Design; 2) Soil Improvement; 3) Appropriate Plant Selection; 4) Being Judicious and Practical re: Turf Areas; 5) Applying Efficient Irrigation Techniques; 6) Use of Mulches; 7) Appropriate Maintenance
During World War II Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged U.S. citizens to grow victory gardens of vegetables and herbs to ease the burden on the national food supply caused by the war effort. In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama, resurrected the concept, creating an 1,100SF White House Kitchen Garden, the first vegetable garden on White House Grounds since World War II, to help raise awareness about eating healthy food.