Last year I ran a series on explaining various different gardening terms. This series proved very popular and so it is making a return in 2011. To catch up on the words you may have missed in 2010, check out my two recap articles, Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
The words for February were Aquatic, canopy, evergreen & frost hardy/tolerant and you can read that article here.
Words for March – Leaching, Nectar, Retaining Wall, Tap root.
Leaching is a process than can be both good and bad for your soil. When something is said to be ‘leaching out’ of your soil, it means that it is disappearing. For example, over time the fertiliser that you add to your soil will leach out, because as more and more water is applied, the fertiliser will be pulled further into the soil or washed away entirely. Now, leaching is a good thing when it removes excess of substances, or substances like salts that aren’t required in high doses, but it is also bad because all your good nutrients will also leach away, over time. The fertiliser you add does not all get used by the plants, much of it leaches away. This is one of the reasons why you have to regularly top up the nutrients that you have in your soil.
Nectar is a substance that is produced by flowers to attract birds and bees and other various wildlife. It is made up of sugars and waters, which is food for wildlife. When birds and bees stop by and collect the nectar from flowers, they have to press in past the pollen to get to it, and some of this pollen will stick so that the next time the bird or bee flies to a similar flower, there is a good chance it will get pollenated. As such, nectar is a critical part of most plants reproductive cycle.
A retaining wall is a wall that is built on a slope. This can be done for a few reasons but the main two are to make two or more flat area’s, as opposed to a slope, or to provide strength and support, stopping soil from sliding or eroding away. This might be in a garden or as part of a building.
A Tap root is the main root of a plant. Even though plants normally have lots of roots, they generally have one main root from which all or most of the other roots come from. The Tap Root goes down deep, provides a lot of nutrients and also is often one of the main support bearing roots for plants and trees. Many plants require the Tap Root to be intact if you are going to have any hope of transplanting them to a new location. Some plants even require the tap root to undergo as little stress as possible in the transplanting process, with a good amount of soil needing to be left around the tap root from the original location of the plant.
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