Cool-season vegetables offer color and texture that are perfect for the ornamental-edible garden. They blend spectacularly with spring flowers like Pansies, Violas, Daffodils and Tulips. Most are also just as beautiful when they get to the kitchen in salads and other recipes. And if you want to get your kids involved in gardening and eating more vegetables, what could be more exciting than harvesting purple Carrots or multicolored Radishes?
Here are some spring vegetable ideas to make your garden and dining room table more colorful this spring.
Any list of beautiful vegetables has to start with Lettuce. There are so many colorful varieties with distinctly different leaf textures, it's hard to decide where to begin. Even mixing common green- and red-leafed varieties creates a kaleidoscope of color. But then look at varieties like ‘Green Frills,’ ‘Yugoslavian Red Butterhead,’ ‘King Crimson,’ ‘Cimmaron’ and ‘Rouge d' Hiver Romaine’ and the diversity of textures and hues is remarkable.
With its crinkled, deep green leaves highlighted by its red or white stems, Swiss Chard is another visual stunner. Blends like ‘Bright Lights’ and ‘Neon Lights’ add even more color with red, white, orange and yellow stems. And you couldn’t ask for a more delicious or nutritious vegetable. High in vitamins, the leaves are wonderful steamed with a touch of lemon juice and butter.
The frilly foliage of Carrots is enough of an attraction but add the rainbow of colors from the Kaleidoscope Mix, which produces red, yellow, purple and orange Carrots, and you've really got some excitement. Individual colors like ‘Purple Dragon’ are also available.
Mardi Gras mix includes white, yellow and purple Radishes. ‘Watermelon’ Radishes have a bright red interior surrounded by green exterior. ‘Fire N' Ice’ Radishes are elongated, sweet flavored, white at the bottom and red at the top.
Other Ornamental Edibles
These group of vegetables include Mustards like ‘Red Giant’ and frilly ‘Ruby Streaks.’ The foliage of edible Kale also comes in many colors and textures. Look for varieties such as ‘Red Russian’ and the curly ‘Bor’ series.