Horticulture Information Center
• Horticulture 2004 Newsletter- weekly (Wed)
• Common Horticulture Problems
• Links to Horticulture, Disease, and Insect Pubs
• Other useful links
Master Gardener Basic Training
Kansas State University
What is a vegetable?
• A definition:
– A plant or plant part that is eaten with or
before the main part of the meal.
• Most are annuals or grown as annual-
asparagus and rhubarb are perennials
How many vegetables are there?
• About 400 crops considered as vegetable
crops in the world.
• About 175 of those you might recognize
• About 65-70 found in typical large
• About 35 ‘vegetables of comerce’-used in
Do you recognize….
Myrrh Cat Whiskers
Emila Marama bean
Getang Parrot feather
18 different kinds of Mustard
Vegetable Plant Parts
• Root (carrot, sweetpotato)
• Tuber (potato)
• Bulb (onion, garlic)
• Stem (asparagus)
• Leaf (lettuce, spinach, cabbage)
• Leaf stalk (celery, rhubarb)
• Flower (cauliflower, broccoli)
• Fruit (pepper, cucumber, tomato)
• Seed (beans, peas)
Why we eat vegetables?
• Nutrition (vitamins and minerals)
• Health benefits
Nutricuticals or Phytochemicals
• Allyl sulfides (onion garlic)
• Glucosinolates (cabbage, broccoli)
• Lycopene (tomato, watermelon)
• Carotenoids (yellow vegetables)
• Ellagic acid (muskmelon, watermelon)
• Gingerols/Flavonoids (herbs)
• Leutin (corn, broccoli)
Not nutrients per se but serve as antioxidants and
various other modes to prevent onset of certain
diseases including cancer. Also shown to improve
eye health, memory and brain activity.
Current trends in vegetables
• Consumption increasing 2-3% per year
(22% in last 10 years)
• Increased consumption of some and
greater diversity of vegetables we eat.
• An emphasis on flavor, quality and
• Safety is a new important concern
• Fresh consumption with minimal cooking
We’ve still got a ways to go!
• Monthly family expenditures
Carbonated soft drinks $56
Candy & gum $44
Beer and ale $39
Fresh vegetables $23
What’s HOT in vegetables
• Salad crops, prepared salads, and pre-cut
• Cabbage family- cancer prevention
• Ethnic foods- Hispanic, Oriental, Italian
• Colored items – lettuce, potatoes, peppers
• Vegetables as snack items
• Nutrition information
Easy Shade Nitrogen
Hard Sun N/P/K
• A component of the chlorophyll molecule-
needed in green, vegetative growth
• Needed with rapid, green growth
• Needed fairly early in season
• Excess= lush growth, poor fruit set
• Deficiency=small, pale color
• Needed for root growth and early growth
• Sugar metabolism
• Sweetness and flavor
• Needed very early in season
• Not leached- will stay in soil
• Deficiency- purplish color
• Fruit and seed development
• Drought tolerance
• Needed later in season
• Most Kansas soils have an excess of K
• Excesses=no problem
Vegetable Climate Preferences
Cool Season Warm Season
3rd to 4th 2nd week
40 week of of August
March April May June July August September October November
March April May June July August September October November
“Average” Freeze Date- Salina
• A 50-50% Chance of a freeze
• April 17
• 50% April 17
• 60% April 20
• 70% April 23
• 80% April 27
• 90% May 1
• 95% May 7
Soil temperatures are important too!
Cool season 45o F 2-3” depth
Warm season 55o F Late
Very warm season 60o F
Critical soil temperatures
Cool season crops- seeds don’t germinate, roots
don’t develop. Plants wait until it warms up.
Warm season crops -seeds may rot or roots may
not function. Plants may die or not develop.
Mulches to change soil temperature
Floating row cover- will give 2-5 o
protection from freezes
Improving garden soil
• Add organic matter
• Get a soil test if you don’t know fertility
• Add appropriate fertilizers
• Till deeply and thoroughly
Fall is an ideal time for tillage. Add organic matter
and till in the autumn season.
Sources of organic materials
Gently till soil. Don’t work when wet.
Days to maturity- early or late
Watering the garden.
Root development in vegetables
Rooting depth 2-3 ft
About 75-80% of the
roots develop in the
upper ½ of the root
zone. (15 – 17 in)
Watering with root development
One inch of water moves water into the soil about 15-
Measure 1” applied to surface in gauge or can
Measure penetration to 15-17” depth
Measure time needed to water that deep
Application of water
can vary in
Apply water slowly enough
so that it doesn’t run off.
A timely harvest keeps plant producing more.
Some specific crops commonly grown in Kansas
Cut or snap
spear with break at
the most tender
below the break
Establish a new planting
from mid March to mid
Plant crowns about 6”
below soil level (7-8” deep
in tilled soil).
Deep planting encourages
longevity and increases
Gradually fill in the
trench the 1st season.
Many new hybrid varieties of asparagus are available. Large fern
produces good yields next year.
Allow fern to remain until it is completely brown. Then it can be
removed or left for winter cover.
Rhubarb is similar to asparagus except in depth of planting.
Plant crowns only about 1” deep.
Avoid very early cabbage since heads are not as tight and dense as
those that take slightly longer.
Cauliflower is more difficult to grow. Not as cold hardy and takes
longer than cabbage and broccoli.
Chinese cabbage grows rapidly and makes a good fall crop as well.
Leaf or looseleaf lettuce is the earliest to produce.
lettuce- a soft or
Cos or romaine
lettuce- very cold
Mesculun- a mixture of greens crops. Variations
in texture and flavors.
Head lettuce- requires the longest time to develop. Usually need to
grow from plants.
Nantes or Chantenay carrots-
more blunt for heavy soils
Beets need to be thinned to ensure enough room to develop
Good fall as well as spring crop.
Cut seed 8-10
seed pieces per
lb or 1 ½ to 2
oz in size.
Sprout (root and
shoot) develops from
bud or eye in potato
Russet skinned potatoes have a different starch texture- mealy and
crumbly when baked.
Red skinned and white
skinned potatoes for
Colored fleshed potatoes-
yellow, red, purple, and pink.
With red, white and blue potatoes what is there
left to do…..Make a potato flag!
Onion ‘sets’ and onion
plants used to start
Sets not well
Onions vary in
skin colors- white,
yellow and red.
Onions also vary in
pungency- mild to
Also vary in shape-
flattened to round.
K-State Research &