The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Vegetable families

Weekend Homesteader: NovemberThe first step in rotating your garden is to understand which vegetables share the same family.  The list below covers all of the vegetables you're likely to grow, and I've italicized the more common crops so they'll be easier to find.

Amaranthaceae --- Amaranth

Amaryllidaceae --- Chives, garlic, leeks, onions

Basellaceae --- Malabar spinach

Brassicaceae --- Asian greens, broccoli, broccoli raab, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rape, rocket, rutabaga, turnip, watercress

Chenopodiaceae --- Beet, beetberry, Good King Henry, lamb's quarter, mangel, orach, quinoa, spinach, Swiss chard

Compositae --- Artichoke, cardoon, celtuce, chicory, endive, escarole, gobo, Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, salsify, shungiku, sunflower, yacon

Convolvulaceae --- Water spinach, sweet potato

Cucurbitaceae --- Balsam apple, balsam pear, cassabanana, chayote, cucumber, gherkins, gourd, luffa, melons, pumpkins, squash

Graminae --- Corn

Labiatae --- Basil, mint, thyme

Leguminosae --- Bean, lentil, pea, peanut, pigeon pea, soybean

Liliaceae --- Asparagus

Malvaceae --- Okra

Polygonaceae --- Rhubarb, sorrel

Portulaceae --- Miner's lettuce, purslane

Solanaceae --- Cape gooseberry, eggplant, garden huckleberry, ground cherry, naranjilla, nightshade, pepino, pepper, potato, sunberry, tomatillo, tomato

Tetragoniaceae --- New Zealand spinach

Umbelliferae --- Carrot, celery, celeriac, chervil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, parsnip, skirret

Valerianaceae --- Corn salad

Weekend Homesteader paperbackAlthough this list seems overwhelming at first glance, a closer look will show that the majority of your garden vegetables fit into just a few families.  Experienced gardeners have pet names for several of them, so you'll hear folks talking about "brassicas" when they mean broccoli, kale, and the like, "cucurbits" when they want to lump squash and cucumbers together, and "legumes" when referring to peas and beans.

This week's lunchtime series includes one of the four projects from Weekend Homesteader: November.  Stay tuned for the rest of the series, or check out the 99 cent ebook for more information on how to store drinking water for use during power outages, to put an entire chicken to use in the kitchen, and to bring in cash without going to the office.

This post is part of our Garden Rotation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Love the clear list of vegetable families here. I've been working to understand plants this way for a few years now, but previous to finding your page, only Sheppard Ogden's book had listed the vegetable families out so clearly.

With this kind of knowledge, not only does crop rotation fall into place (too many greens? send the spinach around with the beets!), but so does biodiversity balancing- not being too heavy (cabbages) on any one family (cabbages)- no more than 30 percent of the garden, ideally less.

Comment by Molly Tue Nov 1 18:53:50 2011
I'm glad it helped! I know lists are pretty dry, but sometimes they really put things in perspective. And I love your post about biodiversity in the garden --- looks like I'll have to add your blog to my reading list. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Nov 1 19:30:24 2011
Thank you for the list!
Comment by Rita Wed Nov 2 07:20:01 2011
Glad you enjoyed it!
Comment by anna Wed Nov 2 08:59:56 2011

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