We have had snow on the ground for more than a month now and I am getting weary of shoveling snow from the driveway and roof. Additionally, I am tired of looking at the white scenery and long for color in the landscape. One of the top 10 trends for 2017 is Purple Power according to Whole Foods Market. They say richly colored purple foods are popping up everywhere: purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai, purple sweet potatoes, purple corn and cereal. The power of purple goes beyond the vibrant color and often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants.
With the snow covering the ground, now is the time to start designing your vegetable garden for colorful edibles. Adding vegetable beds to the landscape is a great way to add color and peace of mind as to where your food was grown. There are several varieties of purple vegetables and fruits that will grow well in Bend, Oregon. Here are a few suggestions:
Purple Passion Asparagus has been described as sweet and mild with a unique, nutty flavor. With 20% more natural sugar, this burgundy asparagus has sweeter stalks than green asparagus! These vitamin-rich spears are supposed to be so tender, that they can be eaten right out of the garden. USDA Hardiness Zone 3 – 10.
Graffiti Cauliflower has stunning, flashy heads of glorious purple color. Excellent raw or cooked. Plant transplants in well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Maturity takes about 80 days.
Purple Haze Hybrid Carrots are sweet and easy to grow, reaching maturity in about 70 days. Purple Haze was awarded a 2006 All-America Selection for its remarkable return to the original color of wild carrots Its rich purple color extends only as far as the core, which remains bright orange.
Easter Egg Radishes are fun for children and adults. Maturing at 20 days, the seeds produce a colorful mix of red, purple, and white round radishes. The flavor is mild.
If you are looking for a vegetable to grow on your patio, try the all-America Selection, Patio Baby Hybrid Eggplant. Each plant is 16-20" plants tall with 25 – 50 egg-shaped, 2-3" purple-black fruit. Loaded with rich, mild, sweet flavor, ‘Patio Baby’s’ mini-fruits are delicious baked, roasted, or sautéed.
There are several other great vegetable varieties of purple vegetables that will grow in Central Oregon. A great source for information and to purchase seeds is Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Their web site is www.johnnyseeds.com. If you are looking for heirloom seeds, try Victory Seeds. Their web site is www.victoryseeds.com. Have fun designing your vegetable garden.