Learning about vegetable gardens

Carol Bray
Isanti County Master Gardener

Serious gardeners just want to have fun. Every vegetable gardener seems to try a new variety of vegetable each year. For giggles, here are some vegetables that you can grow that have a “different” color than their norm. (Purple is a popular color for unusual colored veggies.)

‘Purple Passion’ asparagus.  Yum.

‘Purple Viking’ or ‘Purple Majesty’ potatoes—Good flavor and kids will love purple mashed potatoes.

‘Royalty Purple Pod Beans’—These “magic beans” are fun to pick and cook with little children who know the garden fairies were at work.

‘Purple Cherokee’—Large dark red tomatoes with good taste and nice color variety for salads. (heirloom)

Purple and yellow carrots: ‘Purple Dragon’ and ‘Solar Yellow’ or ‘David’ (yellow)

‘Ruffled Red’ Eggplant—Also called Hmong eggplant or Pumpkins on a Stick. Good for fall floral arrangements. Edible, but bitter.

‘Ghostbusters’- white eggplant. Very good mild taste with thin skins.

‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’—old tomatoes  (heirloom)

‘Pintung Long’ eggplant—Magenta-colored veggie. They get really good sized and are delicious.

‘Aunt Ruby’s German Green’—Greenish-yellow when ripe and absolutely delicious.

‘Green Zebra’—In between cherry and regular-sized tomatoes.  (heirloom)

‘Jubilee’—medium yellow tomatoes

Here are a couple of “plant finder” websites that have filters by zone, color, deer resistance, bloom time, etc.—www.sustland.umn.edu/plant/search.asp and www.bluestoneperenials.com.

Trivia: The 100th National Cherry Blossom Festival.  In 1912 Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gave 3000 cherry trees to Washington; they were planted around the city’s tidal basin, where their abundant pink blossoms draw crowds each spring. As these old trees decline, they are gradually being replaced with new trees.

For more information, visit the U of M Extension website at www.extension.umn.edu or call the Isanti County Master Gardeners at 763-689-8254.