If you take a walk through your local grocery store’s produce department, you’ll learn that tomatoes are red, carrots are orange, eggplant is dark purple, beans are green, as is kohlrabi, and cauliflower is white. These are the most common colors, and therefore the ones the stores are more likely to stock. If, on the other hand, you look through a seed catalog or visit a vegetable garden, you’ll learn that most vegetables actually come in a variety of colors.
Tomatoes can be grown that are white, blue, purple, black, brown, orange, yellow, green and even striped. Carrots run the gamut as well, from white to yellow, orange, red, purple and black. Eggplant comes in numerous colors as well as many shapes. And as you can see from the photo above, not all cauliflower is white. There is even a variety that is purple.
Growing an assortment of colors will make your garden and your meals look more interesting, and it will add to your health. Different colors of the same vegetable contain different phytonutrients, and getting an assortment of these is good for your body. Of course, eating orange cauliflower is more like eating white in overall nutrition, as opposed to eating an orange carrot; but still, a variety is better. It also can make your garden experience more fun and prettier to look at.
The expression eat a rainbow refers to getting a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet for overall good nutrition, but it can easily be expanded upon in your vegetable garden. An added bonus is that when you serve what you grow, it will more enthusiastically received. Who wouldn’t be more interested in a crudité platter that featured a variety of different colors of each vegetable? This does wonders for getting kids, as well as picky adults, to eat vegetables.
For more information, do an online search on some of the vegetable colors mentioned. It will lead you to mail-order seed sources. (Many local stores that sell seeds limit the selection the same way the grocery stores do, so it is easier to get varieties of unusual colors by mail.) This growing season, plant some color!
Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania-based master gardener. Read her other Horticulture posts here and learn more at gardeningjones.com/.
Browse all edible-gardening resources, from low-cost how-to downloads to books to seed packs, at GardenersHub.com.
Get 5 individual packets of easy-to-grow colorful vegetables in the Seeds for a Rainbow Kitchen Garden collection from Renee’s Garden.
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