Gardening Terms – Leggy, Soil Amendment, Germinate

Gardening Terms for Beginners

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of terms that gardeners throw around. Even people are in their first year or the second year of gardening they tend to get a little overwhelmed by all of the terms. What we’re going to talk about today is germinate, leggy and soil amendment. Those are the three terms that we’re going to talk about in this article. Right now I want to stick with about three terms first to keep things quick and simple. Try to not overwhelm you.

Three List Gardening Terms for Beginners:


Germinate is really nothing more than the sprouting of seeds. So if you’ve ever basically put seeds into soil and water that is germinating.

Germination the journey of a seed to a seedling passes through many stages of growth. In the early stages when a seed is placed in moist soil it absorbs the water around it. The water then reaches the beginning of the baby plant or the embryo within the seed. This makes the embryo grow and increase in size eventually. The embryo breaks open the seed coat and come out of the seed. Then, the root comes out first and grows into the soil. This fixes the baby plant to the soil and helps the root absorb water and nutrients from the soil. After that, the shoot comes out of the seed and starts to grow towards the Sun.

The first pair of leaves that come out of the seed with the shoot are called cotyledons. The root grows longer the shoot becomes green and sprouts more leaves. This is a young plant and is called a seedling or sapling.



Leggy a little bit more difficult to describe but you’ll know it when you see it because a lot of beginning gardeners actually have this problem, leggy seedlings or leggy plants or it became leggy. Legginess is the term that is describing a plant that gets long right after sprouting. Oftentimes you’ll have that one seedling that’ll sprout and the stem will just keep getting longer and longer and then they’ll kind of top-heavy and fall over. Legginess is not good by any means. Some small legginess will typically always happen if you’re starting seeds indoors or starting them on a windowsill and that just happens because when we have our seats outdoors, the Sun is so powerful and so bright that a seedling doesn’t have to stretch for light.

Imagine it as basically stretching for light, if you don’t have your lights close enough, your seedlings are going to go “please come closer” and then they’re going to start stretching equaling the legginess. Whereas if you have your lights pretty close those the seedlings don’t have to stretch. They can just go soak up all that good and they don’t have to go anywhere for it it comes right to them.

One of the benefits of starting seeds outdoors is you will rarely have leggy seedlings. But as gardeners, we like to start our seats indoors and that happens usually in the case of a bright windowsill or artificial lightings like compact fluorescent or an LED or whatever you’re using, and that oftentimes leads to a little bit of legginess because there’s we can’t be perfect to beats mother nature.

I know when sometimes discouraging to admit that we can’t start seeds indoors and not everyone has the materials or the ability, that’s fine that’s understandable and I don’t think anyone would hate on you for actually starting your seeds outdoors because let’s face it until you can grow your seeds outdoors, you’re only getting a tiny bit of a head start of a few weeks so you’re not all that far behind.

What hurts if it gets laggy just call it quits and throw those seedlings away because they’re just not going to grow well. We’re going to be very top-heavy and the problem is that when the stem gets that long oftentimes you can’t do much with it. You can bury a little bit of the stem but it’s always going to be leggy. It’s going to affect the growth later on you’re going to have an inferior plant. So when it comes to legginess it’s a pretty big topic because it affects not only the current plant but the future plant and a lot is going on so hopefully, that helped you out with the term leggy.


Soil Amendments

Soil amendment is one of those things that people say “I gotta mend my soil”. Well, when you amend your soil it’s basically making soil better. If you’re amending a constitution, you’re making something better for the whole. So you’re amending the bed and you’re basically fixing something that was not there before. One of my favorites is the most common one is compost.


Compost is a great example of a soil amendment. Oftentimes our soil is too heavy and clay maybe there’s too much sand. If you add compost it’s going to fix all of those problems. You can really never add too much compost to your garden beds because compost is kind of that perfect soil.

Rock Dust

Rock dust amends your soil with lots of micronutrients and minerals that were found hundreds of thousands of years ago that have been removed from the soil from traditional gardening practices or wind erosion or just water washing over the soil. For thousands of years, it gets depleted so all of that ends up in a source. They mined that source turn it into rock dust. So you can add to your garden, that’s also a great soil amendment.


Greensand is again just another mined rock they pulverized into a powder. It has a few fewer micronutrients that stand like rock dust or glacial rock dust or as a might but it still has a lot of minerals and you can typically find it at a little more cost-effective price.


Often eyes people don’t think of sand as being a soil amendment. However, if you have very heavy clay soil and you don’t have access to a lot of compost to break up that clay. One of the units is sand. Sand has just a larger particle size so it will fit inside those smaller clay particles. The clay will actually break up and become looser. You’re amending the hardness of your soil because if your soil is too hard your roots can’t get down into the soil and find all the oxygen and nutrients and water that they need to survive so you’re making something better in that sense.


Mulch is actually a soil amendment. Believe it or not, when you mulch the top of soil some different microorganisms and worms can come up through the soil. They will actually start to decompose the mulch layer that you’re adding. That can be mulched leaves, mulch grass clippings, coffee grounds even wood chips can be mulch, anything that covers the soil. What is mulch?. I just kind of described it it’s anything that covers the soil to prevent weeds and stuff from coming up but it also is a soil mint, so it’s kind of cool to kill two birds with one stone.


Hopefully, these three terms can help you to start the gardening project. It can be an easy task if we know what you need to do and how to do it. Good luck and have fun!

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