Familiarizing Yourself With The Food Families


When our family first started our seed company, I was unfamiliar with the garden lingo used. Actually, unfamiliar may be an understatement. I pretty much had no knowledge of what vegetable belonged in what family.

And though I know you can be a successful gardener without memorizing each of the food families below, it does give you an advantage when you are working with the different vegetables in their different families, especially when it comes to seed starting, growing and harvesting is consistent in each of the families. Like finely tuning my garden, I’m still learning (don’t think I’ll ever master it all) and growing as a gardener!

Aseracae-Sunflower Family. Crop families include radicchio, sunflower, lettuce, endive and artichoke. Members of this family tend to be easy to grow.

Apiacae-Carrot and Parsley Family. Crop examples include celery, dill, cilantro, carrot, fennel, parsnip and parsley.

Brassicaceae-Mustard Family. Crops such as mustard, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi, turnips, radish, Brussels sprouts and collards belong to this family. These crops do well in cool weather.

Lamiaceae-Mint Family. This family includes basil, lavender, rosemary, hyssop, sage, mint and thyme. These crops provide versatility in that they can be used to cook with or as herbal medicines.

Amaryllidaceae-Onion Family. Crops such as onions, chives, garlic, leeks and shallots make up this family. Great staple items to have in your garden.

Solanaceae-Nightshade Family. Crop examples include peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. You may be familiar with the negative effects these crops in the nightshade family can have on individuals who have autoimmune problems. But if you do not have an autoimmune problem, these crops are probably the most common amongst gardeners.

Curcubitaceae-Squash Family. Cucumbers, watermelon, muskmelon, gourds, pumpkins and squash. These fast growing plants climb by tendrils. They do not like cold temperatures.

Chenopodiaceae-Goosefoot Family. These crops include Swiss chard, beets and spinach.

Leguminosae-Bean Family. This family includes peas, peanuts, lentils, beans and soybeans. Easy to grow and very nutritious.

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