HORT*3510 Vegetable Production

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2019 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

The principles of vegetable production will be studied in terms of sustainable crop management and the impact of biotic and abiotic factors will be discussed. Consideration will also be given to storage processing and marketing.

Pre-Requisite(s): 1 of AGR*2050, AGR*2470, BOT*2100



Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. understand and analyze the factors that affect the distribution of the industry at the global to regional levels, from small community and roof-top gardens to large acreage, commercial production for local consumption, processing and export.

  2. assess and modify cultural practices used in the production of vegetable crops, including the integration of soil science, plant physiology, plant nutrition, agrometeorology and crop protection.

  3. understand the challenges and opportunities facing the vegetable industry in the 21st Century.

  4. read and analyze the scientific literature relevant to vegetable production through a laboratory-based group seminar.

  5. effectively communicate with the vegetable sector, and further develop numeracy and literacy skills required in vegetable production through the writing of field trip reports, delivery of a laboratory-based group seminar, and examinations.

Lecture Content:

Part 1-Overview of Vegetable Production (Weeks 1-4, 6 lectures total)

Course Overview

  • Definition of a vegetable crop, including how vegetable crops differ from agronomic and fruit crops.
  • Economic significance of vegetable production globally and in Canada and Ontario with emphasis on temperate vegetable crops.
  • The large-scale distribution of vegetable production both globally and in Canada and Ontario, and the major factors controlling this distribution.
  • Eleven criteria used to classify temperate vegetable crops and how these criteria influence their production: (1) cropping system, including field-processing, field-fresh market and greenhouse-fresh market; (2) cool- versus warm-season vegetables; (3) growth on mineral or muck soil; (4) life cycle and phenology; (5) method of propagation; (6) photoperiodic response; (7) type of pollination; (8) root depth and water requirements; (9) storage life; (10) nutritional content; and (11) taxonomic families (production of specific vegetable families is examined in Part 2).

Part 2-Production of the Major Temperate Vegetable Families (Weeks 4-9, 10 lectures plus Midterm (Oct 25) = 11 lectures total)

Production of the major temperate vegetable families is examined with emphasis on production issues relevant and unique to each vegetable family.  Emphasis is placed on field-grown vegetables, but comparisons to greenhouse vegetable production are provided where appropriate. Crops grown in hothouses are examined (e.g. mushrooms, forced rhubarb), since these crops are not discussed in detail in other courses at U of G.  Edible specialty crops will also be examined.  Tropical vegetables are not examined in detail since these crops are examined in HORT*4380.

A) Monocot Vegetable Families ($98 million total value Ontario 2016)

Listed in descending order of farm-gate value in Ontario:

  1. Amaryllidaceae (onion, garlic, leek, chive) = $40 million;
  2. Poaceae (sweet corn) = $34 million;
  3. Asparagaceae (asparagus) = $24 million.

B) Dicot Vegetable Families ($1,302 million total value Ontario 2016)

Listed in descending order of farm-gate value in Ontario:

  1. Solanaceae (tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant) = $820 million;
  2. Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, squash and pumpkin, melons, watermelon) = $296 million;
  3. Brassicaceae (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, rutabaga & turnips, radish, kohlrabi, collards & kale, horseradish) = $82 million;
  4. Apiaceae (carrots, celery & celeriac, parsnips, dill, parsley) = $53 million;
  5. Fabaceae (green and waxy beans, green peas) = $29 million;
  6. Convolvulaceae (sweet potato) = $10 million;
  7. Chenopodiaceae (spinach, swiss chard, table beets) = $6 million;
  8. Asteraceae (lettuce, endive, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, salsify, chicory) = $5 million;
  9. Polygonaceae (rhubarb) = $0.7 million;

C) Mushrooms ($297 million total value Ontario 2016)

Part 3-Issues Relevant to the Vegetable Industry (Weeks 10-13, 8 lectures total)

Potential Topics

  • Market gardening in Ontario-MIcallef
  • Weed control in vegetable production
  • Nematode control in vegetable production
  • Integrated disease and insect management in vegetable production
  • Organic vegetable production
  • Canadian vegetable processing industry
  • Economic analysis of vegetable cropping systems
  • Labour costs and supply in the vegetable industry
  • Seasonality of vegetable production and supply coordination with major retailers
  • Trends in consumer demand for vegetables
  • Vegetable seed industry
  • Water availability and irrigation systems in vegetable production
  • Edible specialty crops (e.g. ginseng, hops, herbs)
  • Breeding vegetable crops and specialty cultivars


Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade  

Lecture Midterm



Take Home Final Exam



Field Trip Reports

Lab Group Presentation



Lab Group Presentation 2-page summary + references



Final examination:

Take home final exam.

Course Resources:

Prior to each lecture and lab, PowerPoint lectures, lecture handouts, lab exercises, and readings will be available in CourseLink.  The CourseLink website is at http://courselink.uoguelph.ca.  Login using your central email server user name and password.  Information on field trips for a given week will be available through CourseLink at least one week prior to each applicable lab period. Some readings will be provided on CourseLink, and in some cases these readings will be Required Reading for the Midterm, Final Exam, and Lab.

The Dept. of Plant Agriculture website is at http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca (useful links and general info.) and the Dept. of Plant Agriculture undergraduate website (overview of undergrad programs and courses) is at  http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/students/our-courses.

Required Resource(s)

Required Text (available in the Main U of G Bookstore the 2nd week of September): 

Gregory E. Welbaum (2015) Vegetable Production and Practices.  CABI, Oxford, UK and Boston, MA, USA

Course Policies:

Late Policy

The standard penalty for late assignments will be 10% of the assignment value per working day late. Please note that these policies are binding unless academic consideration is given to an individual student. 

If you need to miss the Midterm or a lab period, the course instructor should be informed ahead of time and supporting documentation provided. Failure to follow these rules could result in a loss of marks.

Groupwork Policy

It is expected that both members delivering a Lab Group Presentation will contribute equally to the assignment. If the course instructor discovers that a member of a Lab Seminar Group does not have a legitimate reason for not attending the seminar, and for not contributing equally to the project, marks will be deducted that reflect the lack of participation.



Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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