When I think of my summer vegetable garden, I envision the color green. After all, the plants are primarily green. But just like my interior décor has contrasting accent shades, the bright colors in my garden catch my eye. And I love vibrant, brightly-colored vegetables.
One of my favorites is Bright Lights Swiss chard. This variety boasts brilliant stalks of red, yellow, orange and pink. The colors fade during cooking, but they sure do look pretty growing in the garden underneath the huge, dark green chard leaves.
Another eye catcher are my bell peppers. I like to plant a rainbow of colors from pale yellow to vivid purple. Each year, I find the availability of pepper seeds expanding to include more color choices. Bell peppers are one the first veggies I check out when the seed catalogs arrive in early winter.
One the coolest pepper varieties to hit the market in recent years are striped Holland bell peppers. Also called Aloha or Enjoya, these patented hybrids have alternating vertical splotches of yellow and red when mature. With such a unique color combination, I’m looking forward to growing striped Holland peppers in my garden someday.
Shades of Red
When it comes to tomatoes, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. Red has always been my color of chioce, but this year I’ve decided to grow a wider variety of tomato shades. I was inspired to do this by the attractive packages of multi-colored cherry tomatoes at my local market. These packs of multi-colored tomatoes are priced two to three times higher than similar packs of all-red tomatoes.
As gardeners, we know it takes the same resources to grow red tomatoes as it does other ones, so why the price hike for novel colors of tomatoes in the grocery store? The same is true for the multi-colored shades of carrots which I grow.
It’s believed yellow and purple were the original color of carrots. Orange-colored carrots were most likely developed in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Yet when these original colors of carrots caught the eye of US consumers, they were marketed as novel veggies and commanded a much higher price than traditional orange carrots.
Healthier and Cheaper
When I look out over the sea of green healthy plants in my garden, I see the real reason why I grow my own vegetables. It’s these brightly-colored veggies which not only catch my eye but also garner a much higher price in the grocery store.
Yet, saving money is not the only reason I grow and love these brightly-colored veggies. The very pigments which are responsible for the beautiful colors of these vegetables are the same components that provide the varied types of antioxidants found in these foods. As science advances our knowledge of nutrition, we will continue to learn more about how antioxidants benefit our health. So you see, these vibrantly-colored veggies not only make a bright garden, but also a bright and healthy future for me and my family.