Weird, Colorful Vegetables to Grow with Your Kids

Nesting on 04.01.11

Photo Credit: Miss Karen, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.

If you're trying to get your kids interested in gardening, or eating more vegetables (or both!) one fun way to get their interest is to let them help you grow some really oddball, super colofrul vegetables. Here are some of my favorite wacky vegetables to grow with kids:

  • 'Watermelon' radish: These radishes look just like teeny watermelons: pink on the inside, with a white ring around the outer edge, and green on the outside.
  • 'OSU Blue' tomato: This oddball tomato was developed by Oregon State University. The developers bred this tomato to have a high amount of heart-healthy lycopene, which accounts for its blue color. (For those interested, it is an open-pollinated variety, not a GMO or anything like that.)
  • 'Bright Lights' chard: What kid can resist eating their greens when the leaves are veined with bright pink, nearly fluorescent yellow, and shocking orange? This is a great heirloom chard variety to try, and it's very easy to grow. (Also look for 'Fantasia Orange' chard, which has striking, bright orange stems and veins.)
  • Colorful potatoes: Look for varieties such as 'Purple Peruvian' or 'Cherries Jubilee' in catalogs or at your local nursery. A plate of mashed potatoes takes on a whole new importance when the potatoes are pink or purple.
  • Red lettuces: While not so "out there" to many vegetable gardeners, a child who is used to green or iceberg lettuce will get a real kick out of eating a salad made of red lettuce. Look for varieties such as 'Red Sails,' 'Red Oakleaf,' and 'Red Salad Bowl.'
  • Purple beans: A kid who won't even touch a run-of-the-mill green bean might surprise you by devouring those same beans once they're available in purple. Keep in mind that most purple beans will turn green once cooked, but they can be eaten raw (maybe with some dip, if your kids like that) to maintain their gorgeous purple color. My favorite purple pole bean variety is 'Purple Peacock,' but there are several tasty purple varieties out there.

I hope you and your kids enjoy growing some of these weird, colorful, and yummy vegetables in your garden this year!