The heavy metal (Cu, Fe, Co, Ni, Cd, Cr, Pb, Zn, and Mn) concentrations in soils and in vegetable samples, i.e. lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L.), parsley ( Petroselinum crispum), dill ( Anethum graveolens), and onion ( Allium cepa L.), taken from three urban vegetable gardens in Kayseri, Turkey, were determined by FAAS. The modified three-step sequential extraction procedure proposed by the European Bureau of References (BCR), now the Standards, Measurements and Testing Programme, was used in order to evaluate trace elements mobility in soil samples, and heavy-metal uptake by vegetables. Three operationally defined fractions were isolated using the BCR procedure: acid extractable (i.e. bound to carbonates), reducible (bound to Fe/Mn oxides), and oxidizable ( bound to organic matter and sulphides). The vegetable samples were prepared to analysis using the wet-ashing procedure. To estimate the accuracy of the method used in analysis of the vegetable samples, the standard reference material (NIST SRM 1573a, Tomato leaves) was used. The results of recovery for all the elements were relatively satisfactory (87.7-108%). For the soil samples, the recovery values were calculated by proportioning the sum of the steps of the BCR procedure to those of the pseudototal digestion (i.e. aqua regia). In soils, the mobility of heavy metals followed the order Mn > Cd > Cu > Pb > Zn > Cr > Ni > Co > Fe. The relationship between the vegetable-metal and soil-extractable metal concentrations was examined in order to evaluate the bioavailability of metals, and the positive correlation, especially for the first (i.e. water, acid-soluble and exchangeable fraction) and for the third (i.e. oxidizable fraction) extraction steps, was obtained.