Sunday, August 16, 2009

Colorful Cool Season Vegetables

Now is a great time to start cool season vegetables from seed. For most people, the spring/summer vegetable garden is the most favored because of the variety of plants that can be grown. With fewer choices for cool season, the fall/winter gardens can seem a little boring. But this doesn’t need to be the case. If you would like to add some variety to your cool season garden, now is the perfect time to try some of these more unusual varieties of plants available from Botanical Interests seeds. Botanical Interests is one of my favorite seed companies. Not only for the awesome seed varieties they carry, but for the beautiful package illustrations. I love spreading my seed packet collection out on a table to decide just what I’ll be growing for that season.

Beets-Gourmet Blend. I have to admit that it wasn’t until recently that I became a fan of fresh beets. I grew up with the canned, pickled beets and that was all I knew. But once I tried fresh cooked beets, the canned beets paled in comparison. This gourmet blend is not only tasty but beautiful as well. The vivid gold, orange, purple and red beets maintain their lovely colors even when cooked. Both the tops and the roots are edible so you double the amount of production in your gardening bed. Although all the beets are sweet and delicious, my personal favorite is the orange. Easy to prepare by simply cubing and cooking in the microwave or roasting to increase their sweet flavor, I find they need very little additional seasoning.

Bright Lights Chard. Now that you have your gourmet beets, why not plant some matching chard? This variety of chard is easy to grow and lovely in the garden. I find that the colorful stalks and full, ruffled leaves make great filler for fall/winter container gardens. Pair them with edible flowers like brightly colored violas, nasturtiums, or calendula for a bold splash of color that can be added to salads. Use young, fresh leaves chopped in salads to add color and texture. Cook larger stalks and leaves like spinach and enjoy their rich buttery flavor. Try this recipe from Simply Recipes

Carrots-Carnival Blend. Since we are already growing the colorful chard & beets, why not round things out with these delightful carrots? I think colored vegetables are particularly fun for children and fresh carrots are jam packed with nutrition. For better germination success, soak your seeds 12 hours before planting. I’m a big fan of ginger and love this Honey Ginger Carrots recipe from


  1. My dad thinks about his garden all year long and has begun pulling out the icky stuff now that the growing season is pretty much over. He's talked about how he wants to do a few things differently next year.


  2. Hiya Kat,

    Can't abide the odd taste of chard, but if it is that wonderful to look at, I can see myself giving it a try.
    Those stalks in a tall cylindrical glass container would be wonderful, and last for..what..two weeks?

    The verification word is 'amics', almost there for 'amici sunt'. :-)