Vegetable Catalog

Colorful Vegetables on a black background
Owl sitting on a pencil


Vegetables are edible plants or plant parts that are consumed as food. They can be roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or botanically classified fruits.

Vegetables are an integral part of a balanced diet, providing essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

They come in a wide variety, offering different flavors, textures, and colors to dishes.
Some common examples include leafy greens like spinach, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and botanically classified fruits like tomatoes and eggplants.

The study of vegetables is called Olericulture, which is a branch of horticulture focused on the cultivation, production, and utilization of vegetable crops.

Vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, providing a wide range of vital nutrients. From leafy greens to root vegetables and everything in between, they offer diverse flavors, textures, and colors to explore.

At their core, vegetables are the edible parts of plants, such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and even some botanically classified fruits like tomatoes and eggplants. This diverse group includes underground crops like potatoes and carrots, as well as above-ground varieties like broccoli and spinach.

Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial plant compounds. Incorporating a variety of vegetables into your meals can support overall health and may help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Beyond their nutritional value, vegetables are incredibly versatile in cooking. They can be prepared in numerous ways, from raw in salads to cooked in soups, stir-fries, and casseroles, allowing for endless culinary creativity and cultural exploration.

Labeling Seedlings

Vegetables belong to the kingdom Plantae and are classified based on their taxonomic families, genera, and species. Some of the major plant families that include common vegetables are:

Amaryllidaceae (Alliums)

  • Genus: Allium
  • Examples: Onions, garlic, leeks, chives

Apiaceae (Umbellifers)

  • Genera: Daucus, Apium, Petroselinum
  • Examples: Carrots, celery, parsley

Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

  • Genera: Lactuca, Cichorium
  • Examples: Lettuce, endive, artichokes

Brassicaceae (Mustards/Cruciferous)

  • Genera: Brassica, Raphanus
  • Examples: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes

Cucurbitaceae (Gourds)

  • Genera: Cucumis, Cucurbita
  • Examples: Cucumber, squash, pumpkins

Fabaceae (Legumes)

  • Genera: Pisum, Phaseolus
  • Examples: Green peas, green beans

Solanaceae (Nightshades)

  • Genera: Solanum, Capsicum
  • Examples: Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers

In addition to families, vegetables are further classified into various categories based on their edible parts, such as:

  • Root vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes)
  • Bulb vegetables (onions, garlic)
  • Stem vegetables (celery, asparagus)
  • Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
  • Marrow vegetables (squash, pumpkins, cucumbers)
  • Seed vegetables (peas, beans)

This taxonomic classification helps in understanding the relationships between different vegetable crops and their botanical characteristics.

Here is a list of key characteristics of vegetables:

  • Edible Parts: Vegetables are the edible portions of plants, including roots (carrots, radishes), stems (celery, asparagus), leaves (lettuce, spinach), flowers (broccoli, cauliflower), and some botanically classified fruits (tomatoes, eggplants).
  • Nutrient-rich: Vegetables are nutrient-dense foods, providing essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants.
  • Low in Calories: Most vegetables are naturally low in calories, making them an excellent choice for weight management and a healthy diet.
  • Variety: Vegetables come in a vast array of colors, shapes, sizes, and flavors, offering a diverse range of options to explore.
  • Versatility: Vegetables can be prepared in various ways, including raw, cooked, steamed, sautéed, roasted, or incorporated into various dishes and cuisines.
  • Perishability: Many vegetables are highly perishable and should be consumed soon after harvesting or purchase to retain their freshness, flavor, and nutritional value.
  • Seasonality: Some vegetables are available year-round, while others are seasonal, with their peak availability and flavor varying based on growing conditions and location.
  • Plant Families: Vegetables belong to different plant families, such as the Brassicaceae (cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage), Solanaceae (nightshades like tomatoes and eggplants), and Apiaceae (umbellifers like carrots and celery).

Vegetables (Alphabetically)

Alfalfa sprouts in a bowl
A close up of amaranth

Vegetable Name: Amaranth

Botanical Name (Scientific Name): Amaranthus spp.

Plant Family: Amaranthaceae

  • Type of Plant
    • Annual
    • Short-lived Perennial for some species
  • Root System:
    • Branched, shallow, lateral
  • Optimal Grow Zone(s):
    • Zones 3-10
  • Planting Seasons(s):
    • Warm season
  • Ideal Planting Dates/Range:
    • Warm season annual, plant after last spring frost
    • Late spring to early summer after soil warms
  • Sow Indoors:
    • Can start indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting
  • Sow Outdoors:
    • When soil temparature is 70-75°F
  • Germination Soil Temperature:
    • 70-75°F
  • Days to Germination:
    • 5 -10 Days
  • Days to Maturity:
    • 90-120 days from seed
  • Seed Longevity:
    • Several Years
  • Most Popular Vegetable Variety:
    • Red-leaf vegetable amaranth. Medium-green leaves with a burgundy-red overlay
  • Dwarf / Compact Varieties:
    • appropriate for most home gardens
  • Drought / Heat Tolerant Varieties:
    • Generally heat and drought hardy
  • Disease Resistant Varieties:
    • None
  • A. caudatus, A. cruentus, A. hypochondriacus
  • Heirloom grain amaranth varieties:
    • Burgundy
    • Elephant Head
    • Golden Giant
    • Orangeina
    • Raferty Redgreen
    • Modern cultivars exist too.
  • Other Varieties:
    • Foxtail amaranthor love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), native to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador 
    • Joseph’s coat (Amaranthus tricolor), native to Tropical Asia
    • Prince of Wales feather (Amaranthus hypochondriacus), native to Mexico
    • Red amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus), native to Guatemala, Mexico
    • Slim amaranth (Amaranthus hybridus), native to Eastern North America, Mexico, Central America, northern South America
  • Seed Depth:
    • 1/8 – 1/4 inch
  • Seed Spacing:
    • 12- 18 inches
  • Row Spacing:
    • 18-36 inches
  • Hardening Off Requirements (for transplants):
    • Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting
  • Thinning Requirements:
    • Thin seedlings to 12-18 inches apart
  • Staking / Trellising Needs:
    • May need support for large plants
  • Suitable for Containers/Raised Beds
    • Yes
  • Suitable for Hydroponics/Aquaponics:
    • Yes
  • Unique Growing Techniques
    • Can be grown for greens or grain
  • Light Requirements:
    • Full Sun
  • Growing Soil Temperature:
    • 70°F and above
  • Soil pH Preference:
    • 6.0-7.5
  • Soil Type/Texture Preferences:
    • Well-drained loamy soils
  • Spacing Requirements:
    • 6 inches between plants, 12-18 inches between rows
  • Nutrient Requirements:
    • Medium fertility, adequate potassium
  • Water Requirements:
    • Moderate: Consistent moisture, drought tolerant once established
  • Air Temperature Requirements:
    • 60-90°F
  • Growing Methods:
    • Conventional
    • Organic
    • Row planting
    • Mixed planting (interplanting with other crops)
  • Common Pests / Diseases:
    • Lygus bugs, amaranth leaf miners
  • Companion Plants: This one is controversial
    • Many different vegetables
    • Legumes (Beans, Peas)
    • Vegetables (Cucumbers, Squash, Spinach, Lettuce, Swiss Chard)
    • Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Tarragon)
  • Bad Companion Plants: (Some people put these in with the good plants)
    • Nightshades (tomato, peppers, eggplants): Because the compete for the same resources
    • Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower): Because they compete for the same resources and attract the same types of pests.
    • Potatoes: Because they compete for the same resources
  • Crop Rotation Considerations:
    • Yes. Avoid planting in the same place in the same place each year to avoid potential pests and diseases.
  • Succession Planting Potential:
    • Yes
  • Harvesting Tips
    • Cut leaves/greens. Allow grain heads to mature fully.
  • Typical Yield
    • Varies by variety, decent yields possible
  • Storage Methods
    • Fridge for greens, air-dry grain heads
  • Preserving Methods
    • Freezing, dehydrating
  • Culinary Uses
    • Leaves, seeds, flour
  • Nutritional Value
    • High protein, fiber, minerals

Amaranth is a summer-tolerant green, which thrives in hot weather. This green will not bolt as quickly as other greens. It tastes similar to spinach. Amaranth is not a hard plant to grow. You can grow it anywhere lettuce or other green grows. Aim for good fertility without too much nitrogen in the soil. Remove terminal buds to encourage branching.

  • Prepare Well-Draining Soil: Amaranth performs best in loose, well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or aged manure before planting.
  • Sow Seeds After Last Frost: Amaranth is very sensitive to cold. Sow seeds directly outdoors 1-2 weeks after the last expected spring frost when soil temperatures reach at least 65°F.
  • Space Plants Properly: Thin amaranth seedlings to 12-18 inches apart in rows spaced 2-3 feet apart. Proper spacing ensures good air circulation and prevents overcrowding.
  • Water Regularly: Keep soil consistently moist, especially when plants are young and establishing roots. Aim for around 1 inch of water per week.
  • Use Mulch: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around plants to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Replenish as needed.
  • Fertilize Moderately: Amaranth benefits from a balanced vegetable fertilizer applied every 4-6 weeks during the growing season according to product instructions.
  • Harvest Leaves or Seeds: For greens, harvest outer amaranth leaves regularly. For seeds, allow flower heads to dry on the plant before cutting.
Anise on a wooden spoon
Arrowroot as a root and as powder
Artichokes on a table

Vegetable Name: Artichokes

Botanical Name (Scientific Name): Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus

Plant Family: Asteraceae (sunflower family)

  • Type of Plant
    • Annual in cooler climates
    • Short-lived Perennial (if winter temperatures do not go below 14ºF)
  • Root System:
    • Tap Root
  • Optimal Grow Zone(s):
    • Annuals Zone 4-7
    • Perennials Zone 8-11
  • Planting Seasons(s):
    • Transplant to garden after the danger of frost has passed.
    • Make sure to add compost to the soil before planting.
  • Ideal Planting Dates/Range:
    • Late winter to early spring.
    • 8 Weeks before last frost.
    • Requries vernalization
  • Sow Indoors:
    • Plant in February in 4 inch containers.
    • Make sure the containers are deep for the root system.
  • Sow Outdoors:
    • Not recommended
  • Germination Soil Temperature:
    • 70-80°F
  • Days to Germination:
    • 7 -21 Days
  • Days to Maturity:
    • 85-100 days from seed
  • Seed Longevity:
    • 5 Years
  • Most Popular Vegetable Variety:
    • Imperial Star – it is grown in the most climates
  • Dwarf / Compact Varieties:
    • None
  • Drought / Heat Tolerant Varieties:
    • Big Heart, is a thornless variety that can handle some heat.
  • Disease Resistant Varieties:
    • None
  • Heirloom Varieties:
    • Purple of Romagna: a Italian heirloom.
    • Violetto: Italian heirloom.
  • Varieties:
    • Green Globe (grown as a perennial in the west).
    • Purple Italian Globe (same as Green Globe, but with purple heads).
    • Imperial Star: grown ans an annual in cooler zones. May not have enough time to mature in zone 4 without help (container grown).
  • Seed Depth:
    • 1/4 inch
  • Seed Spacing:
    • In individual pots
  • Row Spacing:
    • 6 feet
  • Hardening Off Requirements (for transplants):
    • Requries vernalization (plant needs to experience cooler temperatures below 50 degrees for a few weeks to produce flowers, but is sensitive to frost.)
  • Thinning Requirements:
    • Transplant at proper spacing
  • Staking / Trellising Needs:
    • None
  • Suitable for Containers/Raised Beds
    • Yes
  • Suitable for Hydroponics/Aquaponics:
    • No, requires organic material
  • Unique Growing Techniques
    • You can grow them as flowers to bring in pollinators, instead of as vegetables
  • Light Requirements:
    • Full Sun: 8+ hours per day
  • Growing Soil Temperature:
    • 60-75°F
  • Soil pH Preference:
    • 6.5-8.0
    • Best range is 6.0 to 7.0
  • Soil Type/Texture Preferences:
    • Well drained soil, with organic matter
  • Spacing Requirements:
    • 2-4 feet. I go with 3 feet outdoors when transplanting
  • Nutrient Requirements:
    • Heavy feeder.
    • Apply fertilizer once per month.
    • N=High, P=High, K=High.
    • They do like fish emulsion fertilizer.
  • Water Requirements:
    • Deeply water at planting time, and once or twice per week.
    • Soil must be moist for buds to develop.
  • Air Temperature Requirements:
    • 50-80°F.
    • Very hot soil will make the pllants flower too quickly.
    • Mulch around base to keep soil cool.
  • Growing Methods:
    • Conventional
    • Organic
    • Row planting
    • Mixed planting (interplanting with other crops)
  • Common Pests:
    • Sucking Insects: Aphids, slugs, mites, scabs and thrips.
    • Chewing Insects: leafhoppers, moths, cutworms, armyworms and larvae.
  • Diseases:
    • Damping Off, Powdery Mildew and Botrytis fungus
  • Companion Plants:
    • Arugula
    • Asparagus
    • Borage
    • Cabbage
    • Calendula
    • Corn
    • Kale
    • Onions
    • Peas
    • Radishes
    • Sunflowers
    • Tarragon
    • Thyme
  • Bad Companion Plants:
    • Thistles
    • Fennel
    • Black Walnut trees
  • Crop Rotation Considerations:
    • Avoid following Jerusalem artichoke or sunflowers
  • Succession Planting Potential: 
    • No. Requires full growing season, to two years for some varieties
  • Harvesting Tips
    • A mature artichoke bud is ready when it has a firm, tight and even green color, about three inches across.
    • If it begins to open, the tenderness quickly deterorates. (Fully opened buds are inedible.)
    • The first bud to develop is the top.
    • Use a sharp knife to cut the buds at the base.
    • Harvest in cool, moist weather for best flavor.
  • Typical Yield
    • 4 – 8 buds.
    • Up to 10 artichoke buds if the stars align.
  • Storage Methods
    • Store articokes in the refigerator.
  • Preserving Methods (Fresh):
    • Freeze
    • Store in oil
    • Pickle them
  • Preserving Methods (Plants):
    • In Zone 8 and warmer, cut the plat at ground level, and cover with organic mulch.
    • In Zones 6 and 7, cut the plant to about 12 inches from the ground and mound a light mulch, like straw.
    • Cover everything with an inverted bushel basked.
    • Mulch and cover some more, and hope the plants survive the winter.
  • Culinary Uses
    • Flowerbud
  • Nutritional Value
    • Low fat, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Pick a Sunny Spot: Artichokes thrive in full sun, so choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This will help promote vigorous growth and bountiful harvests.
  • Amend the Soil: Artichokes prefer well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Before planting, work in plenty of compost or aged manure to improve soil fertility and structure. Ensure the soil pH is between 6.5 and 7.5 for optimal growth.
  • Space Them Properly: Allow ample spacing between artichoke plants, typically 3-4 feet apart. Crowded plants will compete for resources, leading to smaller, less productive artichokes.
  • Water Consistently: Artichokes have deep taproots and require consistent moisture. Aim for 1-2 inches of water per week, adjusting as needed during hot, dry spells.
  • Mulch Heavily: A thick layer of mulch (4-6 inches) helps retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. Use organic materials like straw, leaves, or bark chips.
  • Cut Back in Winter: In cold climates, cut back the old growth to a few inches above the soil line after the first hard frost. This protects the plants and promotes new growth in spring.
  • Harvest Promptly: For best quality, snip off artichokes when they are compact and tight, before the scales open and turn brown. Use a sharp knife or pruners for a clean cut.

Artichoke Articles:

Asparagus in a bowl

Quamash or Camas – An edible plant with blue-flowered bulbs that was an important food for some Native American tribes, but not typically considered a mainstream vegetable today.

Quandong – The edible fruit of a tree native to Australia, sometimes used similarly to vegetables but technically a fruit.

Quelites – A general Spanish term referring to edible greens or herbs

(Barbarea verna) is a leafy green vegetable related to watercress. It has a slightly peppery flavor and is commonly used in salads or cooked dishes.

Udo Udo (Aralia cordata) is a vegetable crop originally from Japan and Russia. The thick, crisp stem is edible and can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked.

Ulluco Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus) is a root vegetable originally cultivated by the Incas. It has edible tubers with colors ranging from yellow to red to purple.

Uva da Troia is a variety of eggplant or aubergine from Italy with a distinctive round, ribbed shape.

The ushuan ternate (Houttuynia cordata) is an edible leafy vegetable used in various Southeast Asian cuisines like Malaysian and Indonesian.

The velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) is a leguminous vegetable whose pods and seeds are edible when cooked. It’s used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines.

A vegetable marrow is a variety of squash with an oblong shape and white flesh that is commonly used as a vegetable in British cuisine.

Vine spinach (Basella alba) is a leafy green vegetable native to Asia that grows on vines and has thick, fleshy stems that are also edible.

Virginia Peanut -While technically a legume, the Virginia peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is often categorized and used as a vegetable in many cuisines.

The Vidalia onion is a sweet variety of onion that is grown in Georgia and prized for its mild flavor and used widely as a vegetable.

Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata) is an aromatic herb whose leaves and stems are used as a vegetable in Southeast Asian cooking.

Vegetable ivory refers to the hard, edible seeds of certain palm trees like the ivory palm which can be used like a vegetable when young.

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