Many may think a vegetable garden is typically filled with plain and boring plants, but that does not have to be the case. There are quite a few very interesting vegetables and herbs you can grow in your vegetable garden that not only please the taste buds, but also the eye.
If you want to add some visual interest to your vegetable garden, try these top ten ornamentals in your vegetable garden this year.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Bright Lights Swiss Chard is one of the most colorful vegetables you will find. This tasty veggie develops brilliantly colored stalks with green leafy tops. The colors range from red to orange, to yellow, to purple. One great advantage of Swiss Chard is it’s very easy to grow. Direct-sow seeds into the garden after the last frost, and it matures in about 60 days.
Scarlet Runner Beans
Scarlet Runner Beans are very fast climbers and develop many bright red blooms. This climbing bean vine is absolutely gorgeous when grown on an arbor at the beginning of a walkway. The bean pods can grow to a length of 6 to 12 inches long and can be eaten cooked or raw. The bean pods mature in about 70 days. Seeds should be directly sowed in the garden.
Hyacinth beans produce very lovely purple blooms, and interesting deep lavander pods. Hyacinth beans are edible, but are usually heavy in starch. The light purple blooms and deep colored pods will definitely add visual interest to your vegetable garden.
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
The Rosa Bianca eggplant is a beautiful Italian eggplant and a very popular heirloom variety. The fruit features a faint purple-ish white color which really makes this eggplant stand out from the rest. Not only is it gorgeous, but tastes great fried, baked, or grilled. Eggplants are sensitive to cool weather, so make sure the soil temperatures are at least 70°F before planting. Eggplants will mature in about 55 days when transplanted in the garden. Once the plant begins to bloom, be on the look-out – the eggplant will mature quickly.
Pink Panda Strawberry
The ‘Pink Panda’ strawberry produces bright pink blooms and grows to a height of 5 to 6 inches tall. It also makes an excellent ground cover, and bears nice edible berries. These strawberries are generally sold in small pots rather than by seed. Plants can become invasive and tend to grow well in sun or part shade. They can also be grown in window boxes and hanging planters.
If you are interested in growing a summer squash that is different from the norm, then the Lemon Squash will fit the bill. It has the shape, size, and color of a lemon, and is a very prolific producer. Lemon squash is great for grilling or frying, and will not fall apart as easily as typical summer squash varieties. It is best to sow the seeds directly in the garden. The squash will be ready to pick after about 45 days.
Round Midnight Basil
Round Midnight Basil features a reddish-purple color that can definitely add a visual spark to your garden. It can also add some spark to your favorite dishes with its intense, spicy flavor. Plant Red Rubin basil between green basil varieties for a very interesting look. This basil can grow to a height of 12 inches, and is excellent for using in oils and vinegars.
If you love to grow cabbage and want to add a little character to your vegetable garden – try some purple cabbage. Purple and red cabbages can generally take a little longer to mature, but are worth the extra wait. Cabbage grows best by directly sowing the seeds in the garden in the fall or early spring. Purple cabbage matures in 45 to 55 days.
I have always enjoyed the unique look and great taste of Kohlrabi. The purple varieties are the best to use for adding interest to the vegetable garden. Kohlrabi has a taste similar to broccoli and can be grown almost anywhere. It is best to harvest when it’s about the size of a tennis ball for the best taste. The leaves are edible and can be used in soups and salads.
To add some fireworks to your vegetable garden, then try some ornamental peppers, such as ‘Explosive Embers’. These peppers feature purplish foliage, white blooms, and purplish-red to orange edible hot peppers. It’s a compact plant that grows to a height of 12 to 14 inches tall, which makes it perfect for a small vegetable garden space. ‘Explosive Embers’ ornamental peppers are very vigorous and will supply you with a bounty of colorful, tasty peppers.
You can easily add some very beautiful ornamental vegetables to your vegetable garden, eliminating the typical, boring vegetable garden. If you have some favorite ornamental vegetables that you grow in your garden, please feel free to share them.