English for Agriculture - Beginners and Intermediate


Vegetables are edible plant structures that do not have seeds. These plants will flower and produce seed, but we usually eat them before they do so. Vegetable nutrients are vital for every bodily function. Without them, our bodies do not work well and our health breaks down. Vegetables are a recommended part of a person's daily dietary, and the amount depends on a person's gender, age and level of physical activity. For example, a 25-year-old man who is physically active for 30 to 60 minutes per day should have at least 3.5 cups of vegetables.

There are different types of vegetables, some of them are bud, bulb, flowers, leafy, root, stem, tuber…etc.

Bulbs - the main edible part of these vegetables is their bulb, the underground part, where the plant’s nutrient reserves are stored. Many of the staple foods we eat are buds. These include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, green onions, and scallions.

Tubers - are underground plant organs that store important nutrients, such as potato, cassava, yam, and sweet potato.

Flowers - there are many edible flowers. Some edible flowers are obvious but others are a little harder to detect as truly the flowering structure of a plant - violets, cauliflower, capers, artichoke, broccoli and roses.

Leaf vegetables - also called vegetable greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, such as kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce.

Stem vegetables - are plant stems used as vegetables, such as celery, bamboo shoot, fennel, and asparagus.

Root vegetables - are plant roots used as vegetables which means they grow under the ground. Example of these ones are carrots, radishes, beets and turnips, salsify, horseradish, carrot, and parsnip.


How to grow vegetables

Growing vegetables is easier than you think. Here you will find all the gardening advice you will need to know.

A vegetable plant has the same basic needs, as we do, like light, food, water, and warmth. The amount of each of these given to a plant will determine the success of your harvest.

Light: It is one of the most important elements in growing vegetables and is probably the one that we have least control over. When growing vegetables consider the amount of light your area will be getting. Most vegetables need an average of 6 hours of sunlight. Do not be too concerned if your garden plot is in a shady area as leaf and root vegetables (lettuce, peas, carrots, kale) will tolerate some shade. Vegetables that produce fruit (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash) are the ones that need full sun, but these can easily be grown in containers on a sunny patio. Container gardening is a wonderful way to grow your vegetables.

Food: The soil provides a place for plant roots to grow and to produce nutrients. Plants need the following to grow - nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients. These nutrients are usually present naturally in soil, but modifying your soil regularly with compost and other organic matter will give you better results.

Water: Vegetable plants need 1 - 2 inches of water each week especially from mid June to mid August. Too little water will not let plant roots grow deep and strong enough to collect nutrients for good growth. Too much water will saturate the soil, not allowing the plant air and space needed to grow. Irrigate your vegetable garden twice a week, giving 1/2 the water requirement with each watering. The best time to water before 11 am or after 4 pm. In addition, it will depend on your climate, but all of us will need to water our gardens at some point in the season. Be sure to let plants dry off before dark so they are less likely to get fungus or disease. Container gardening has different rules for watering.

Warmth: Most vegetables need warm weather to grow, some more than the others. Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, carrots and turnips, can grow in cold weather. The air and soil temperature is most important for seed germination. Some seeds do best in cool soil (lettuce, peas, radishes), others need warm soil (tomatoes, squash, corn) to grow. We do have some control over this basic need as we can supply plants with extra heat using heating pads, cold frames, plastic or cloth covers.

Last modified: Wednesday, 7 September 2016, 9:50 PM
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