MAIDEN: A young tree or bush in its first year, after grafting or budding before any pruning or training has taken place to begin the formation of its eventual shape.
MANURE: A substance, often bulky, containing and capable of supplying organic plant foods when added to soil. Green manure is a quick-growing leaf crop, capable of decaying to produce plant foods, which is dug in on maturity to rot down, e.g., mustard.
MARKET GARDEN: An enterprise, usually commercial, for the raising of mainly food-producing plants (fruit and vegetables).
MICROCLIMATE: An environment in a limited area differing in some respect from that surrounding it. It can refer to an area outside, such as one sheltered by trees and shrubs, or to the inside of a greenhouse, or even to the practice of surrounding the pot of a house plant with an outer container of moist absorbent material to raise the humidity in the immediate vicinity through evaporation.
MICROPROPAGATION: A method of propagation in which tiny pieces of plants are reproduced rapidly in a series of nutrient solutions. This produces vast quantities of propagation material and consequently new plants, very fast. As yet the method is mainly used by professional nurserymen because laboratory conditions are essential.
MISTING: Spraying the leaves of plants with a fine mist of water to prevent them from becoming dehydrated in hot, dry conditions.
MULCHING: The application of a thick layer of a substance to the surface of the soil. Mulches are usually of bulky, naturally occurring materials such as bark, coir, compost, cocoa shell, farmyard manure, shredded garden waste, grass clippings, etc. The main function is to retain moisture in the soil by preventing excessive evaporation, but mulches have the additional benefit of adding plant foods to the soil and keeping roots cooler in hot weather. A well-applied mulch will also smother weeds. Black polythene is sometimes used as a mulch, though mainly in vegetable gardens as amongst ornamental plants it tends to look rather untidy. Woven fibre mulches, which are laid as a sheet and allow rainwater to permeate, are becoming more popular.