Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
You don’t have to search far to find vegetables that both taste good and look good today on Southern Gardening.
Seed companies have introduced a dazzling array of delicious and decorative plants for both the eye and the palette. You can choose from colorful vegetable that look great and taste even better. Here are some good choices.
Bright Lights Swiss chard is an easy to grow selection that brings a rainbow of colors to the garden and plate. This produces large mild flavored leaves on thick yellow, red, orange, gold and white stalks. Harvest about two inches from the crown to encourage further growth.
If you want to attract hummingbirds and butterflies then scarlet runner bean is a fantastic choice. This plant produces scarlet flowers on a vine that will run 20 feet, so you will need a trellis. Six to 12 inch pods will contain scarlet-black beans. Tender pods can be eaten right off the vine.
Another plant that is attractive in both the vegetable and flower garden is the Mississippi Medallion winner ‘Purple ruffles’ basil. The deep purple leaves are very fragrant. The plant will have a mature size of 24 inches high and 24 inches wide. Uses include fresh garnish or color in salads when as baby greens. You can also make red pesto for a new culinary twist.
I hope you’ll start to think of how you can add colorful vegetables to your ornamental landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.