Vegetables come in all sorts of colors.
When you think of standard supermarket vegetables like corn, you probably have set ideas of what colors they are.
Corn is yellow, carrots are orange, and cauliflower is white. However, this is not always the case. There are actually an extraordinary range of varicolored vegetables, such as purple cauliflower and rainbow carrots. Best of all, you can grow many of these vegetables right in your backyard!
Flint corn, or as it is commonly nicknamed, “Indian corn,” has been around for centuries, but it is not used as often as it was 300 years ago.
Flint corn is a variant of maize and has a slightly different taste than the popular yellow variety. Though not as sweet as yellow corn, it is uniquely tasty and nutritious.
Growing flint corn is not too different from growing yellow or sweet corn. Corn needs to grow in temperatures around 60°, and the soil should be rich and have good drainage. Plant the seeds one to two inches in the ground, six to eight inches apart. Planting in blocks rather than rows is better for pollination, so ensure they are two to four feet apart for multiple blocks. When the stalks start to emerge and are roughly five inches tall, you should thin the corn to 12 inches apart.
Water regularly and watch out for nitrogen deficiency, which can be observed by yellowing leaves. The big difference with growing flint corn is the time it takes to grow. You can expect flint corn to be ready for harvest in approximately three months!
Orange carrots are not the only option out there.
While orange carrots are rich in vitamins and known to help with eye health, red carrots can help prevent some cancers. Purple carrots have an antioxidant called anthocyanin that can help prevent heart disease. Yellow carrots, similarly to orange carrots, benefit eye health and also assist in preventing certain cancers and macular degeneration. White carrots are high in fiber.
When growing carrots, be sure to till and clear the soil of all rocks and debris, as this will ensure your carrots will grow straight and not fork or curve. Plant the seeds three to four inches apart. Carrots will grow best with plenty of sunlight and about an inch of water, given over the course of a week. Be sure to keep the area weed-free!
Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanin, an antioxidant that is found in other red and purple-colored foods, such as red cabbage and red grapes.
Purple cauliflower is extraordinarily pleasing to the eye and tremendously versatile to cook with, but it is the most challenging to grow out of all the vegetables showcased here. The soil should be well drained but moist, with a pH level between six and seven. Start planting indoors and move outside after four to six weeks. Plant them a half inch deep in the soil and keep them moist. Putting mulch around the bed will help retain moisture.
There are plenty of other vegetables out there that go beyond the traditional supermarket color scheme. Growing rainbow vegetables provides a fun change from the norm and brings beautiful color and healthful nutrition to your garden.