FULL GARDENS .com - Information on how to grow Vegetables in your garden. Learn how to improve your garden yields for Vegetables. Types of vegetables

Learn how to Grow Vegetables

Information on how to grow Vegetables, and how to improve your garden yields

Gardening Tips Beginner and ExpertThe term "vegetable" generally refers to the edible part of a plant. The definition is traditional rather than scientific. It is somewhat arbitrary and subjective, as it is determined by individual cultural customs of cooking and food preparation.

Normally, any herbaceous plant or plant part which is regularly eaten as food by humans would be considered to be a vegetable. Mushrooms, though belonging to the biological kingdom Fungi, are also generally considered vegetables in the retail industry. Nuts, seeds, grains, herbs, spices and culinary fruits (see below), are not normally considered to be vegetables, with the exception of corn, even though they are all parts of plants.

In general, vegetables are regarded by cooks as being suitable for savory or salted dishes, rather than sweet dishes, although there are many exceptions, such as pumpkin pie and rhubarb crumble. Some vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers and celery, are eaten either raw or cooked; while others, such as potato, are traditionally eaten only when cooked.  [top]

Is it a fruit or a vegetable?

The word "vegetable" is a culinary term, not a botanical term. The word "fruit" on the other hand can be a culinary term or a botanical term.

Botanically speaking, fruits are fleshy reproductive organs of plants, the ripened ovaries containing one or many seeds. Thus, many botanical fruits are not edible at all, and some are actually extremely poisonous. In a culinary sense however, the word "fruit" is only applied to those botanical fruits which are edible, and which are considered to be a sweet or dessert food such as strawberries, peaches, plums, etc.

In contrast to this, a number of edible botanical fruits, including the tomato, the eggplant, and the bell pepper are not considered to be a sweet or dessert food, are not routinely used with sugar, but instead are almost always used as part of a savory dish, and are salted. This is the reason that they are labeled as "vegetables".

A plant part may scientifically be referred to as a "fruit", even though it is used in cooking or food preparation as a vegetable.

The question "The tomato: is it a fruit, or is it a vegetable?" found its way into the United States Supreme Court in 1893. The court ruled unanimously in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is correctly identified as, and thus taxed as, a vegetable, for the purposes of the 1883 Tariff Act on imported produce. The court acknowledged that botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit.

A list of vegetables defined as different parts of plants

* Flower bud: broccoli, cauliflower
* Seeds: peas, beans
* Whole unripe seed pods: green beans, snap peas
* Botanical fruit: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, capsicums (bell peppers and hot peppers), eggplant, tomatillos, christophene, okra
* Leaves: kale, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, endive
* Leaf sheaths: leeks
* Buds: Brussel sprouts
* Stems of leaves: celery, rhubarb (sometimes called a fruit because sweet pies are made from it)
* Stem of a plant when it is still a young shoot: asparagus
* Underground stem of a plant or tuber: potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potato (often incorrectly called a yam in the USA), also the true yam
* Whole immature plants: bean sprouts
* Roots: carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, turnips
* Bulbs: onions, garlic, shallots


Vegetable is also used as a literary term for any plant: vegetable matter, vegetable kingdom. It comes from Latin vegetabilis (animated) and from vegetare (enliven), which is derived from vegetus (active), in reference to the process of a plant growing. This in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European base *weg- or *wog-, which is also the source of the English wake, meaning "not sleep". The word vegetable was first recorded in print in English in the 14th century. The meaning of "plant grown for food" was not established until the 18th century.   [top]

In the diet

Vegetables are eaten in a variety of ways as part of main meals and as snacks. The nutritional content of vegetables varies considerably, though generally they contain a small proportion of protein and fat, and a relatively high proportion of vitamins, provitamins, dietary minerals, fiber and carbohydrates. Many vegetables also contain phytochemicals which may have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties.  [top]


The green color of leafy vegetables is due to the presence of the green pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is affected by pH and changes to olive green in acid conditions, and bright green in alkaline conditions. Some of the acids are released in steam during cooking, particularly if cooked without a cover.

The yellow/orange colors of fruits and vegetables are due to the presence of carotenoids, which are also affected by normal cooking processes or changes in pH.

The red/blue coloring of some fruits and vegetables (e.g. blackberries and red cabbage) are due to anthocyanins, which are sensitive to changes in pH. When pH is neutral, the pigments are purple, when acidic, red, and when alkaline, blue. These pigments are very water soluble.   [top]


Many root and non-root vegetables that grow underground can be stored through winter in a root cellar or other similarly cool, dark and dry place to prevent mold, greening and sprouting. Care should be taken in understanding the properties and vulnerabilities of the particular roots to be stored. These vegetables can last through to early spring and be nearly as nutritious as when fresh.

During storage, leafy vegetables lose moisture and vitamin C degrades rapidly. They should be stored for as short a time as possible in a cool place, in a container or plastic bag.  [top]

Leafy and salad vegetables

* Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus)
* Bitterleaf (Vernonia calvoana)
* Bok choy (Brassica rapa Chinensis group)
* Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea Gemmifera group)
* Cabbage (Brassica oleracea Capitata group)
* Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata)
* Celtuce (Lactuca sativa var. asparagina)
* Ceylon spinach (Basella alba)
* Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
* Chinese Mallow (Malva verticillata)
* Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium)
* Corn salad (Valerianella locusta)
* Cress (Lepidium sativum)
* Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
* Endive (Cichorium endivia)
* Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides)
* Fat hen (Chenopodium album)
* Fiddlehead (Pteridium aquilinum, Athyrium esculentum)
* Fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis)
* Golden samphire (Inula crithmoides)
* Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus)
* Ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum)
* Kai-lan (Brassica rapa Alboglabra group)
* Komatsuna (Brassica rapa Pervidis or Komatsuna group)
* Kuka (Adansonia spp.)
* Lagos bologi (Talinum fruticosum)
* Land cress (Barbarea verna)
* Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
* Lizard's tail (Houttuynia cordata)
* Melokhia (Corchorus olitorius, Corchorus capsularis)
* Mizuna greens (Brassica rapa Nipposinica group)
* Mustard (Sinapis alba)
* Napa/Chinese Cabbage (Brassica rapa Pekinensis group)
* New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
* Orache (Atriplex hortensis)
* Pea sprouts/leaves (Pisum sativum)
* Polk (Phytolacca americana)
* Radicchio (Cichorium intybus)
* Garden Rocket (Eruca sativa)
* Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)
* Sea beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima)
* Seakale (Crambe maritima)
* Sierra Leone bologi (Crassocephalum spp.)
* Soko (Celosia argentea)
* Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
* Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
* Summer purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
* Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens)
* Tatsoi (Brassica rapa Rosularis group)
* Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)
* Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica)
* Winter purslane (Claytonia perfoliata)
* Yau choy (Brassica napus)

Fruiting and flowering vegetables

* Armenian cucumber (Cucumis melo Flexuosus group)
* Eggplant or Aubergine (Solanum melongena)
* Avocado (Persea americana)
* Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum)
* Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
* Caigua (Cyclanthera pedata)
* Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana)
* Cayenne pepper (Capsicum frutescens)
* Chayote (Sechium edule)
* Chili pepper (Capsicum annuum Longum group)
* Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)
* Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)
* Luffa (Luffa acutangula, Luffa aegyptiaca)
* Malabar gourd (Cucurbita ficifolia)
* Parwal (Trichosanthes dioica)
* Perennial cucumber (Coccinia grandis)
* Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita pepo)
* Pattypan squash
* Snake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina)
* Squash (aka marrow) (Cucurbita pepo)
* Sweetcorn (Zea mays)
* Sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum Grossum group)
* Tinda (Praecitrullus fistulosus)
* Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
* Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica)
* Winter melon (Benincasa hispida)
* West Indian gherkin (Cucumis anguria)
* Zucchini or Courgette (Cucurbita pepo)

Podded vegetables

* American groundnut (Apios americana)
* Azuki bean (Vigna angularis)
* Black-eyed pea (Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)
* Chickpea (Cicer arietinum)
* Drumstick (Moringa oleifera)
* Dolichos bean (Lablab purpureus)
* Fava bean (Vicia faba)
* French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)
* Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)
* Horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum)
* Indian pea (Lathyrus sativus)
* Lentil (Lens culinaris)
* Moth bean (Vigna acontifolia)
* Mung bean (Vigna radiata)
* Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
* Pea (Pisum sativum)
* Peanut (Arachis hypogaea)
* Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan)
* Rice bean (Vigna umbellatta)
* Runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
* Soybean (Glycine max)
* Tarwi (tarhui, chocho; Lupinus mutabilis)
* Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius)
* Urad bean (Vigna mungo)
* Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens)
* Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
* Yardlong bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis)

Bulb and stem vegetables

* Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
* Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)
* Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum)
* Celery (Apium graveolens)
* Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum)
* Florence fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)
* Garlic (Allium sativum)
* Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes group)
* Kurrat (Allium ampeloprasum var. kurrat)
* Leek (Allium porrum)
* Lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera)
* Nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica)
* Onion (Allium cepa)
* Prussian asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum)
* Shallot (Allium cepa Aggregatum group)
* Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum)
* Wild leek (Allium tricoccum)

Root and tuberous vegetables

* Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo)
* Ahipa (Pachyrhizus ahipa)
* Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza)
* Bamboo shoot
* Beetroot (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris)
* Black cumin (Bunium persicum)
* Broadleaf arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
* Camas (Camassia)
* Canna (Canna spp.)
* Carrot (Daucus carota)
* Cassava (Manihot esculenta)
* Chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis)
* Daikon (Raphanus sativus Longipinnatus group)
* Earthnut pea (Lathyrus tuberosus)
* Elephant Foot yam (Amorphophallus_paeoniifolius)
* Ensete (Ensete ventricosum)
* Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
* Gobo (Arctium lappa)
* Hamburg parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum)
* Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
* Jícama (Pachyrhizus erosus)
* Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
* Pignut (Conopodium majus)
* Plectranthus (Plectranthus spp.)
* Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
* Prairie turnip (Psoralea esculenta)
* Radish (Raphanus sativus)
* Rutabaga (Brassica napus Napobrassica group)
* Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)
* Scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica)
* Skirret (Sium sisarum)
* Sweet Potato (Kumara)
* Taro (Colocasia esculenta)
* Ti (Cordyline fruticosa)
* Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus)
* Turnip (Brassica rapa Rapifera group)
* Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus)
* Wasabi (Wasabia japonica)
* Water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis)
* Yacón (Smallanthus sonchifolius)
* Yam (Dioscorea spp.)  [top]

Sea vegetables

* Aonori (Monostroma spp., Enteromorpha spp.)
* Carola (Callophyllis variegata)
* Dabberlocks or badderlocks (Alaria esculenta)
* Dulse (Palmaria palmata)
* Hijiki (Hizikia fusiformis)
* Kombu (Laminaria japonica)
* Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus)
* Laver (Porphyra spp.) (nori in Japan, gim in Korea)
* Ogonori (Gracilaria spp.)
* Sea grape (Caulerpa spp.)
* Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca)
* Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida)