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Edible Gardening Raising Chickens Beekeeping
Edible Gardening

A-Frame

A structure that allows you to grow more than one variety of tomato or cucumber side by side, but its compact design doesn't take up much space in the garden.

Amend

To incorporate an organic or mineral material such as compost, rock powder, sphagnum peat, fertilizer or lime into the soil to enhance its fertility or structure, or adjust its pH.

Annual

Plants whose life cycle lasts only one year, from seed to bloom to seed.

Bolting

Vegetables that quickly go to flower rather than producing the food crop. Usually caused by late planting or temperatures that are too warm.

Cold frame

A transparent-roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from cold weather. Functions as a miniature greenhouse to extend the growing season.

Compost

An organic soil additive resulting from the decomposition of organic matter like fruits and vegetables.

Cultivation

The process of breaking up the soil surface, removing weeds, and preparing for planting.

Dividing

The process of splitting up plants and roots that have begun to get bound together. This will make several plants from one plant, and usually should be done to mature perennials every 3 to 4 years.

Fertilizer

Organic or inorganic plant foods used to amend the soil in order to improve the quality and/or quantity of plant growth.

Foodshed

A foodshed is everything between where a food is produced and where a food is consumed. It includes the land it grows on, the routes it travels, the markets it goes through, and the tables it ends up gracing. Usually a 100-mile radius between production and consumption is labeled a local foodshed.

Germination

The beginning of growth for a seed; its first sprouting.

Growing Season

The number of days between the average date of the last killing frost in spring and the first killing frost in fall. Vegetables and certain plants require a minimum number of days to reach maturity, so it's important to make sure your growing season is long enough.

Heirloom

Heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated plants that have been cultivated for at least 50 years. They are often more flavorful, colorful and interesting than hybrids, but they may be challenging to grow if your soil is disease-prone.

Humus

A stable form of organic matter derived from the decay of plant and animal materials; a vital component of garden soils.

Microclimate

Variations of the climate within a given area, usually influenced by hills, hollows, structures or proximity to bodies of water.

Mulch

Any loose material placed over the soil to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Usually this is a coarse organic matter, such as leaves, clippings or bark.

Organic

The method of gardening or growing food utilizing materials derived from living things.

pH LEVEL (in soil)

A standard measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of soil on a scale from 0 to 14, with pH levels from 7 to 0 becoming increasingly acidic and from 7 to 14 increasingly alkaline. The pH level affects plants' ability to use nutrients in the soil.

pH LEVEL (in food)

A measure of a food's acidity and a determinant of preserving methods.

Potting soil

A soil mixture designed for use in container gardens and potted plants. Potting mixes should be loose, light and sterile.

Pruning

The cutting and trimming of plants to remove dead or injured wood, or to control and direct the new growth of a plant.

Rotate

To change the location each year (usually in a 3- to 4-year cycle) in which a particular vegetable crop is grown to reduce the threat from soil-borne diseases.

Staking

The act of adding support to a plant that has vines and climbers. Stakes direct and contain the growth of a vegetable plant (such as a tomato), keeping its stems from degenerating into messy sprawls. These supports also allow you to extend space in an overcrowded garden.

Transplanting

The process of digging up a plant and moving it to another location.

Trug

A shallow, oblong basket traditionally used for carrying vegetables, fruits and flowers from the garden.

Vertical gardening

The method of growing plants up instead of out, usually against a wall. Also can be referred to as a living or green wall.

Winterize

Preparing your garden for cold weather.

Zone

A gardening term used to describe a specific geographical area and climate and the kinds of plants that can be grown in that climate.

Raising Chickens

Bantam

A variety of chicken that is 1/4 to 1/2 the size of a Standard chicken breed, kept mainly for ornamental purposes.

Bedding

A material, usually wood shavings, added to the coop floor and nesting box in order to absorb odor and droppings and provide a soft surface for chickens to walk on.

Bloom

The delicate, invisible membrane outside an egg's shell that protects the contents from bacteria and other foreign matter.

Brood

The term for chicks and for caring for a batch of chicks.

Brooder

A heated enclosure designed to eliminate stress in young chicks by providing plenty of heat, light, fresh air, feed and water space.

Broodiness

The desire of some hens to sit on eggs (whether fertilized or unfertilized) in order to incubate and hatch them.

Candling

The process of shining a light on an egg to see inside and determine whether it is fertilized. (Once done with a candle; now done with normal lights!)

Clutch

A group of fertilized eggs that a hen incubates.

Cockerel

A juvenile rooster.

Comb

The red, rubbery flesh on top of a chicken's head.

Complete Feed

A feed that contains everything your chickens need to maintain proper health.

Crested Breed

A breed of chicken that has feathers on top of its head, such as a Polish or Sultan.

Crop

A part of the esophagus where food is digested and softened before it enters the stomach.

Droppings Tray

A collection unit located underneath roosting poles that collects droppings for easy disposal.

Dual Purpose

A hen that is bred for both egg-laying and meat qualities. Dual-purpose breeds are valued for their good nature and cold-hardiness.

Dusting Powder

A solution that allows chickens confined to the indoors (or without access to dry earth) to take a dust bath.

Feeder

The container that holds and delivers feed to your chickens.

Fluff

The soft, profuse feathering on a chicken's behind.

Free Range

The act of allowing chickens to roam at will in a pasture or yard.

Grit

Sand or bits of crushed rock that chickens eat and store in their crop. Essential for proper digestion of food.

Hackles

The feathers around a chicken's neck.

Incubation

The process of hatching a fertilized egg via the application of a constant heat source, frequent turning and the maintenance of a humid environment. Incubating baby chicks takes 21 days.

Layer Feed

A complete feed made especially for laying hens.

Molt

A chicken's annual shedding of its' feathers and the regrowing of new ones. During the molt, hens will not lay eggs.

Nesting Box

The part of a coop where a chicken lays its eggs.

Non-Setter

A chicken or breed of chicken that does not have a tendency or desire to incubate fertilized eggs or care for baby chicks.

Ornamental Breed

A type of chicken bred mainly for its appearance and for show, not for egg production or meat.

Production Breed

A type of chicken bred specifically for its value as an egg layer.

Pullet

A juvenile hen.

Roost

1. When chickens perch on a pole or branch to sleep.
2. A pole or branch that chickens perch on.

Roosting Pole

A man-made perch, usually constructed of wood and located inside the chicken coop, that chickens perch on while they sleep.

Run

An outdoor area where chickens can roam freely, usually attached to the chicken coop.

Saddle

The feathers on the lower part of a chicken's back.

Scratch

1. A special treat that chickens love, made of various grains. (Not to be substituted for feed.)
2. An instinctual behavior chickens perform with their claws to dig up bugs, worms, tiny rocks and other goodies they find in the soil.

Setter

A chicken or breed of chickens that has a tendency or desire to incubate a batch of fertilized eggs.

Sexing

A process by which the sex of a baby chick is determined.

Started Pullet

A juvenile hen that has already started laying eggs.

Starter Feed

A complete feed formulated specifically for baby chicks.

Beekeeping

Apiary

Any location where beehives are placed, also known as a beeyard.

BEE BRUSH

A brush used to gently remove bees from honey-filled frames.

BROOD

The various stages of the development of a honeybee — egg, larva and pupa — found in beeswax cells in a hive.

BROOD CHAMBER

The area within a hive where brood is reared. Honeybee brood is often found in an oval shape on a frame of honey-comb in one or more hive bodies.

CAPPINGS

A thin layer of beeswax that covers the honey-filled cells. Cappings are sliced or scratched off in order to extract honey from the beeswax frames.

CELL

Beeswax shaped into a hexagon used to raise brood or store honey and pollen.

CLUSTER

A group of honeybees that draws together clinging to their queen either to conserve heat in cooler temperatures or to create a swarm.

COLONY

Typically a family of honeybees that consists of a single queen, several thousand female worker bees and a few hundred male drones.

COMB

A mass of hexagonal beeswax cells made by worker bees to rear brood or store honey and pollen.

COMB HONEY

Honey in its purest form still inside the beeswax cells just as honeybees made it.

DRIFTING

When honeybees enter a hive or apiary other than the one they left.

DRONE

The male honeybee. Drones are larger than workers and do not participate in any activities inside the hive. Their sole job is to mate with queens.

EGGS

The beginning of the lifecycle of the honeybee. Queens lay eggs at the bottom of an empty cell. Fertilized eggs become workers and unfertilized eggs become drones.

EXTRACTOR

A circular container with racks to hold honey-filled frames used to separate honey from beeswax comb by centrifugal force.

FERTILIZED QUEEN

A mated female bee whose primary function is to lay eggs. A queen bee's body is larger than the body of workers and drones, and she can live up to 5 years.

FIELD BEES

Worker bees who begin foraging at 3 weeks old, gathering nectar, pollen, water and propolis for the survival of their colony.

FRAME

A piece of equipment in a movable hive that holds honeycomb or the brood nest.

HIVE BODY

A box that is part of a Langstroth hive that holds 8-10 frames of honeycomb inside a hive.

Hive bodies are made in various sizes: deeps – typically used for the brood nest; medium – can be used as a brood nest or for honey collecting; shallows or supers – typically for honey.

HIVE TOOL

A metal tool used by beekeepers that is helpful in moving woodenware while inspecting their hives.

HONEY HOUSE

A building filled with equipment used for extracting and bottling honey away from honeybee activity.

LANGSTROTH HIVE

A beehive developed in 1852 by Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, known as the father of modern beekeeping. Revolutionary in that bees build honeycomb on movable frames making it easy for beekeepers to manage their colonies and extract honey. Before the invention of the Langstroth hive, bees were kept in woven skeps or gum logs.

LARVA, LARVAE

A wormlike stage of a newly hatched honeybee egg that is no more than 3 days old.

MIGRATORY BEEKEEPING

The business of moving hundreds or thousands of honeybee colonies to specific locations like farms, fields or orchards throughout the seasons specifically to provide pollination services or to produce varietal honey.

NECTAR

A sweet, fragrant liquid secreted by certain flowers specifically for attracting pollinators. Nectar is gathered by honeybees to make honey.

PACKAGED BEES

A colony of adult honeybees (2-5 pounds) with a mated queen, worker and drone bees, available in the spring for beekeepers to begin a new beehive.

POLLEN

Tiny powdery grains discharged by the male part of a flower. Honeybees collect pollen and carry it in the pollen baskets on their hind legs back to the hive as a protein source for the colony.

POLLINATION

The transfer of pollen by honeybees from the anthers to the stigma of a flower to begin fertilization to produce a fruit or vegetable.

PROPOLIS

A resinous sticky substance produced by honeybees when they collect sap from trees and mix it with beeswax. Honeybees seal up cracks inside their hive to protect the colony from pests and diseases. Beekeepers affectionately call propolis bee glue.

PUPA, PUPAE

The stage after larva in the honeybee lifecycle. Once pupae are capped they begin the transformation into an adult honeybee.

QUEEN

An adult female honey bee with a fully developed reproductive system. Under normal circumstance a colony will have only one mated queen.

QUEEN CAGE

A small cage for transporting a queen honeybee usually with 3-5 worker bees to feed and groom her.

QUEEN CELL

A vertical hanging peanut-shaped beeswax cell specifically for rearing queens. Queen cells are found inside the hive on a frame of honeycomb.

ROYAL JELLY

A milky white liquid secreted by glands located near the mandibles of worker bees' and used to feed eggs no more than 3 days old and queens throughout their lives. Royal jelly is what turns a worker bee into a queen.

SCOUT BEE

An adult bee that will seek out nectar, pollen, water and propolis for the colony or a new nest for the swarm.

SMOKER

A small metal can with bellows that is used by beekeepers to blow smoke while inspecting a beehive. Smoke calms the bees and prevents communication by masking pheromones or chemical scents.

SPLITTING

A management technique to divide one colony of bees into two in order to control pests or expand or reduce the apiary.

SUPERCEDURE

When a colony naturally replaces its old or unproductive queen by a younger queen.

SURPLUS HONEY

The excess honey removed from a beehive usually collected in a super or shallow box placed on top of the deep or medium boxes.

SWARM CELLS

Queen cells commonly found at the bottom of a frame to rear a new queen. Swarm cells are typically found in a colony that is preparing to swarm.

SWARMING

The natural act of a reproducing honeybee colony, when one colony splits into two. Before swarming, the colony will rear a new queen that will remain behind with half of the colony while the original queen will leave with the other half. Swarms do not have young bees or honey to protect so they are generally docile and easy to rescue.

TOP BAR HIVE

A frameless horizontal beehive design where the bees hang their own beeswax comb on top bars, this not requiring the use of starter foundation.

UNITING OR MERGING

A slow systematic way of combining two colonies in order to save a weaker hive.

WARRE HIVE

A vertical-style hive that is fitted with top bars for honeybees to hang their own honeycomb. Supers or deep boxes are added to the bottom rather than the top, allowing the bees to work downward.

WORKER BEE

A female honeybee. Workers are responsible for all duties within the hive from cleaning, feeding young, secreting wax, building comb, guarding, and foraging for pollen and nectar to make honey. Workers also tend to their queen. Under normal circumstances they do not lay eggs.

Note: These terms are specific to Langstroth beekeeping. Top bar and Warre hives will be somewhat different.