Do you find you are always planting the same varieties of vegetables in your garden every year?
Orange carrots, red tomatoes, white cauliflower, green beans, etc.
While that may be all that is available in the grocery store, that doesn’t mean that is all the varieties that are available.
Until a few years ago, I didn’t know there were white carrots, yellow tomatoes, purple cauliflower or purple and white polka dotted beans.
I only knew the kinds that are massed produced at the store.
Gardening and heirloom seeds really opened my eyes to the beauty of vegetables and what we could plant.
So now I try to plant a beautiful array of veggies (and fruits) in my garden every year.
Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite varieties that I have tried, some I that I am planting this year and some that are on my list for the future!
Plant the Rainbow: Veggies In Multiple Colors
I am always trying new tomato varieties. I love how pretty and unique heirloom tomatoes are (and super tasty too)!
Here are a few, but there are so many more!
Green (Emerald Apple)
Orange (Woodle Orange)
Pink (Pink Accordian)
Purple (Cherokee Purple)
Black (True Black Brandywine)
Red (I prefer Roma, Bonny Best and Cherry Tomatoes)
Striped (Black Pineapple)
Blue (Blue Berries Cherry Tomato)
Yellow (Hartman’s Yellow Gooseberry)
And of course, the cool Atomic Grape Tomatoes on the cover of the Baker Creek Seed Catalog look amazing!
Beans come in many different colors. You’ve seen black beans, green beans, navy beans and white beans. What about:
Purple beans? The Blauhilde pole bean has purple pods and rose-purple blooms.
Yellow/purple streaked beans? The Dragon Tongue beans are a variety we have planted for several year.
Pink/white beans? The Borlotto Di Vigevano Nano beans are pink and white on the outside with pink and white beans as well.
Pink/green beans? The Tongs of Fire beans are green and pink on the outside with pink and red beans as well.
Maroon/white beans? The Jacob’s Cattle variety of bean are a bush bean with maroon and white spotted beans inside.
These are just a few of the varieties of heirloom bean you can grow in your garden this year!
There are a lot of varieties of peppers in your local grocery store or market, but there are still more to be found in the seed catalogs!
Black Hungarian are like jalepenos, only black.
Chocolate Habanero (I don’t grow really hot peppers because I don’t like things that are really hot.)
Buena Mulata is a purple hot pepper only offered by Baker Creek.
You can buy a collection of different colored bell peppers from Annies Seeds. These would be awesome in fajitas or as stuffed peppers.
There are so many varieties of peppers, that we have only barely scratched the surface. I love pretty peppers in the garden, even if I can only stand to eat the very mild ones.
Did you know that there are purple sweet potatoes? The Molokai Purple sweet potato is purple inside and out, while the Okinawan Purple sweet potato is white on the outside and purple on the inside.
When I think of colorful corn, I think of Indian corn. But did you know there are other varieties too?
Black corn (Maiz Morado)
Pink corn (Mini Pink Popcorn)
Multicolored corn (Gem Glass)
Red corn (Strawberry Popcorn)
Orange corn (Atomic Orange Corn)
Blue corn (Papa’s Blue Corn)
There are truly a rainbow worth of carrot varieties to choose from:
Red (Atomic Red)
Purple (Black Nebula(
Purple & Yellow (Black Spanish)
White (Lunar White)
and many more. When you harvest these carrots together, it makes for a beautiful site like the photo above.
I found a beautiful variety of garden peas I would like to try one day.
It is a pea with purple on the outside and green peas on the inside. See the photo above.
A really pretty type of beet is the Chioggia italian heirloom beet. The inside of the beet is pink and white striped!
I have grown several types of squash in my gardening years. Zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash and pumpkins all find their way in each year. But have you tried these varieties:
Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash (bright yellow squash that looks like a squished pumpkin)
Delicata (yellow squash with green stripes)
Flat White Boer (white pumpkin)
Lady Godiva (small orange and green pumpkin)
Marina Di Chioggia (green pumpkin from italy with lots of toad like spots on it)
I though radishes were boring little veggies you add to a salad. Boy, was I wrong. There are many different kinds including:
Pink (China Rose)
Watermelon (Chinese Red Meat-green on the outside and pink on the inside (like a watermelon))
Green (Chinese Green Luobo)
Purple/White (Purple Plum)
Purple (Round Black Spanish)
I love rainbow swiss chard. I have been growing it for several years for its rich green leaves and multi colored stalks.
You can also buy the colors individually if you want for a beautiful, colorful garden.
When you think of cauliflower, you think of white, right? Did you know there are:
Purple cauliflower (Purple of Sicily)
Green cauliflower (Green Macerata)
Where can you find all of these beautiful varieties? Not your local grocery store or nursery.
My 2 favorite places to order seeds from are:
Annies Seeds– I love Annies seeds because they sell collections of seeds together at one price. So you can get a salsa collection, or a collection of different colored carrots or peppers together. It makes it really easy to try new varieties.
Baker Creek Seeds– Baker Creek seeds have a beautiful catalog of so many varieties of seeds. I could spend an afternoon with something to drink and just looking over the catalog for hours. Very nice for a cold, winter day.
They both have a free catalog you can order and find all kinds of rare varieties of seeds.
But do it soon! You need to get seed starting early to get those plants in the ground by summer (or before).
As with any vegetable, you want to order seeds that will do well in your climate and that ripen quick enough for your growing season. Don’t just look at how pretty they are, but how functional they will be for you as well.
I love gardening and I want my garden to be a beautiful oasis and a productive way to spend my time. With heirloom seeds, it can be both.
So before you order the same old orange carrots or green beans, think about trying something new. You can start planting a rainbow in your garden this year. You’ll be greatly rewarded!
What are you favorite heirloom varieties that you can’t find at the store? Let us know in the comments below. And if you liked this post, please share. Thanks!