Spring Vegetables: Beautiful in the Garden and on the Plate

Spring Vegetables: Beautiful in the Garden and on the Plate

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.

Swiss chard, with its crinkled, deep green leaves highlighted by its red or white stems is another visual stunner. Blends like Bright Lights and Neon Lights add even more color with red, white, orange and yellow stems.

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 edible 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.