How Much Do You Know About Gardening?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Formally referred to as horticulture, gardening is the practice of growing and caring for plants from flowers to crop. Gardens may be grown on a commercial as well a recreational scale. Due to its relaxing nature, many individuals consider gardening to be more of a hobby than a job. Gardens may be grown at home or in separate dedicated areas.

Gardens grown on a larger scale are often for commercial purposes. Be it for the production of food, retail of flowers, sale of herbal medicines or simply for the use of a trail or touring site, large gardens can be very profitable to their owners.

Smaller home gardens are usually for the occupation of homeowners. Some individuals enjoy gardening for its fulfilling characteristics and others garden to beautify their landscapes and home exteriors. And still, some do it for the economical benefits of having homegrown food. In these cases, easy-to-care-for crops such as vegetables are often grown.

Homegrown gardens or residential gardens may be grown in several locations near or around the home. The question we're trying to answer is how much you know about the art of gardening. Will your flowers bloom flawlessly? Or will they wilt away with your hopes of passing this test?

Which of these is probably most critical to the success of your garden?

Many factors go into a successful garden. But if you plant the wrong things for your region, and the plants die in a frost or fail to thrive because the soil doesn't suit them, all your efforts are going to come to very little fruition.

What is the opposite of an annual plant?

A perennial plant will return and bloom year after year, if it's healthy. The opposite is an annual plant, which only matures and blooms once.

In what plant family are tomatoes?

Solanaceae plants are often a tasty addition to Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Look to this family for your eggplants, peppers and potatoes, as well as the tomato.

The Solanaceae family also contains which dangerous plants?

The large Solanaceae family contains both these poisonous plants. Don't forget, too, the less-known but still dangerous Thorn Apple, and the tobacco plant -- which contains enough nicotine to be deadly if eaten instead of smoked.

True or false: Is home gardening a good way to save money on grocery bills?

This is a common misconception about gardening: That it's a surefire way to save money on food. When you consider supplies and the cost of your time, the salads and veggie dishes you're able to make are likely to have been cheaper if you'd just bought the produce for them. The exception is someone with a large garden who has already acquired all the tools he or she will need and is experienced enough to garden in a time-efficient way.

Container and vertical gardening are ideal for the _______ gardener.

No land? No problem! Just put some pots or barrels out on your balcony or the charming ten-by-ten concrete area many apartment dwellers have, and you're in business. If you've got the money, garden stores sell more complex structures for "vertical gardening."

What other issue is greatly helped by vertical gardening?

Vertical gardening keeps fruit (like tomatoes or eggplants) from touching the ground and getting damp and rotten. In fact, tomatoes require structures to keep the bushes upright and the fruit off the ground. Some inventive gardeners even grow tomato bushes upside down in hanging pots.

Which of these is NOT commonly thought of as a beneficial insect?

If you're a veggie gardener, it's likely you've seen one of these fat green guys on a leaf. They like tomatoes and its close cousins, like potatoes and eggplants.

Growing complementary vegetables together, like potatoes and corn, is called ________.

One main reason for companion planting is that certain plants can attract beneficial insects the other plant needs. Other times, a plant will thrive in the shade a taller companion provides.

A pH test will tell you if your soil is more acidic or _______.

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14. Many plants thrive in the 5.0 - 7.5 range. Testing kits can be found at home and garden stores.

True or false: Homegrown vegetables are healthier than ones bought at a store.

The nutritional quality of your garden produce will depend on a variety of factors, especially the quality of the soil you grow them in. But in general, it's hard for a home gardener to compete with the expertise and resources that professional farmers bring to their work. The average farmer has a four-year degree in agricultural science and knows a great deal about soil enrichment, crop rotation, fertilization, and so on.

The brassicas are what family of plants?

The brassica family are cabbages. It includes turnips, broccoli, and some flowers, like alyssum.

Which of these is essential for photosynthesis?

To make energy from sunlight, plants need nitrogen. Delayed blooming and yellowing leaves are a sign of nitrogen-depleted soil.

What do you call the little white or brown bugs often found on the underside of leaves?

Aphids are one of the most common garden pests. But they can be hard to miss if you're not looking for them, as aphids are quite small and hang out of the underside of leaves. Fortunately, they hang out together -- so if you turn a leaf over, it's easy to spot the mass of them there.

Which of these is a natural enemy of the aphid?

By "natural enemy" we mean uses them for food. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, a ladybug larva can eat up to 40 aphids an hour.

Which of these flowers attracts aphids?

Though aphids will settle on a variety of plants, they're known for liking the nasturtium. For this reason, planting nasturtiums among your vegetables will draw aphids away -- and provide a splash of color to your garden.

What makes a beneficial insect beneficial?

Of course, insects don't create enough waste to make a dent in your garden fertilizing. But they do pollinate plants, and the hunters will eat bugs that might harm your garden plants. Don't look at all bugs as enemies!

Which of these is a true root vegetable?

Gardeners and cooks tend to define "root vegetable" broadly. But of the above, only the carrot is a true root vegetable. Taro root is a "corm," while ginger is a rhizome.

Where is the humble carrot believed to have originated?

It's thought that the carrot originated in the region of Afghanistan. That's one reason it's easy to grow. Something that will grow in that harsh desert climate isn't difficult to make thrive elsewhere.

Which of these is an example of a legume?

Beans and peas are a large part of the legume family. They're also fairly easy for an inexperienced gardener to grow, making them a favorite.

The Lamiaceae (or Labiaceae) family contains which plants?

Yes, it's true: Simon & Garfunkel just missed singing about the Lamiaceae family by one herb. Parsley is part of the Apiaceae family.

What is "hardening off"?

Seedlings can die when abruptly transferred to outdoor conditions. Giving them several hours a day outdoors, fertilizing less, and withholding water are all ways to prepare them for the transition.

What is "vernalizing"?

Flowers that grow from bulbs won't bloom if they don't go through a cold, winter-like period first. Gardeners in warm climates chill them in refrigerators. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature, but sometimes you have to!

Turning kitchen scraps into soil amendment is called ________.

Many gardeners keep compost bins in the kitchen, where they throw fruit and vegetable peelings. Over time, kitchen waste can become a valuable addition to garden soil.

Good compost is a mix of what two "colors"?

"Brown compost" and "green compost" don't always refer to colors. "Green" compost is organic/food material like plant clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings, and coffee grounds. "Brown" is inorganic, like newspaper and old cardboard. A good compost is a balance of these two categories.

If you see spreading white spots on a leaf, you have probably have ______.

Powdery mildew occurs most often in hot, humid climates. You might be able to fight it with a solution of baking soda and water, but a fungicide might be necessary.

Pinching off the remnants of dead flowers is called _______.

Plants like roses need frequent deadheading to encourage new growth. The practice is akin to, but less invasive than, pruning.

Which of these likes to eat roses?

Deer are the enemy of many a rose garden, and the thorns don't necessarily deter them. Be prepared for city-dwelling visitors to say, "Ohh, they're so beautiful! Don't scare them away!"

Which of these is NOT a good deterrent to deer?

Foul-tasting sprays on plants, nets over them, and noisemakers in the garden all can keep deer away. Fences rarely do: Deer are world-class jumpers.

What is mulch?

If you have a lawn, you're probably familiar with mulching. Often, but not always, mulch is an organic material like grass or leaves, so that as it breaks down, it enriches the soil.

What is greywater?

Gardeners in areas where water is scarce often use greywater in the garden. If you try it, be careful not to use water that's been used in preparing meat or dairy foods, as this can be harmful to plants.

Why do people use coffee grounds in gardening?

This was a tricky one. Coffee doesn't automatically add nitrogen to soil, though it can help as part of a well-balanced compost.

What is a common mistake gardeners make when planting poppies?

Poppies do not usually bloom if they are planted in a traditional way, with soil covering them. They need to rest on the surface of the soil. This is why they're known for growing on battlefields. The fighting disturbed the earth and turned up dormant poppy seeds, which then grew and blossomed.

Which of these insecticides is made from plants in the Chrysanthemum family?

Pyrethrum or pyrethrin is made from flowers in this family, many of which resemble daisies. Though considered one of the least ecologically harmful insecticides, this does not make it automatically harmless to humans. Care should always be exercised when handling pesticides.

How much did the largest pumpkin on record weigh?

We mention this pumpkin as a way of reminding you that while pumpkins are fun to grow, they are a resource-intensive crop. They need plenty of fertilizer and water to get to a pleasingly large size and bright orange color.

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