Glossary

Abrasive tending to wear away through contact abscission dropping off or separating accession a plant that has been acquired and catalogued achene a small, dry, thin-walled type of fruit actinomycetes common name for a group of Gram-positive bacteria that are filamentous and superficially similar to fungi addictive capable of causing addiction or chemical dependence adventitious arising from secondary buds, or arising in an unusual position albuminous gelatinous, or composed of the protein...

Burbank Luther

Luther Burbank was the most well-known plant breeder of the Age of Agriculture. He was born March 7, 1849, in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He had little formal science training, but his efforts to better the human condition by improving useful plants made him a folk hero throughout the world. Bur-bank's work is said to have advanced the science of horticulture by several decades. Burbank's first, and foremost, contribution is evidenced with every baked potato and french fry eaten today. At the age...

Carver George Washington

George Washington Carver was born in 1865, near the end of the Civil War (1861-65). His mother was a slave on the Moses and Susan Carver farm close to Diamond Grove, Missouri. Carver was orphaned while still in his infancy and was raised by the Carvers. He received a practical education working on the farm and in 1877 was sent to attend a school for African-American children in the nearby town of Neosho. From Neosho, Carver traveled through several states in pursuit of a basic education. He...

Conversion to Organic Farming

In order for farmers to become certified organic producers, they must complete a certification procedure. The United States and most European countries have created regulations that apply to the production and sale of organically grown produce. All organic produce must carry a quality mark authorized by the government and provided to farmers by legal organizations that conduct strong verification systems with on-site annual inspections. Farmers willing to convert to organic farming must adhere...

System Stability and Change

Ecosystems maintain themselves over time and have the ability to recover from natural disturbances such as a fire or a hurricane. In agricultural ecosystems, disturbance from cultivation, weeding, harvest, and other agricultural activities is much more intense and frequent. It is difficult to maintain any equilibrium in the system with this disturbance, requiring constant outside interference in the form of human labor and external human inputs. By incorporating ecosystem qualities such as...

Bonsai

Bonsai is a Japanese word formed by two ideogram characters, the first meaning pot or container and the second to cultivate. It is a term that can be applied to any plant grown in a pot. Today it is applied to a tree or shrub grown usually in a ceramic pot, trained or styled by clipping or wiring or both. But it is so much more. Bonsai is an ancient art form with its origins in China at least as far back as the fourth century. Soon the art spread to Korea and was found in Japan by the sixth and...

Basic Practices of Modern Agricultural Systems

Modern agricultural systems have been developed with two related goals in mind to obtain the highest yields possible and to get the highest economic profit possible. In pursuit of these goals, six basic practices have come to form the backbone of production intensive tillage, monoculture, application of inorganic fertilizer, irrigation, chemical pest control, and genetic manipulation of crop plants. Each practice is used for its individual contribution to productivity, but when they are all...