Planting the Rainbow in Your Vegetable Garden

Jul 20, 2018

Pink tomatoes, purple snap beans, yellow cauliflower, orange winter squash. On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturalists Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron about planting and harvesting a colorful vegetable garden. They also share information about the upcoming ISU Horticulture Field Days being held at demonstration gardens across the state.

These field days will be free and open to the public, rain or shine. The theme for this year is 'planting the rainbow,' with all vegetables planted to be donated to nearby food pantries.

"We wanted to showcase the variety of vegetables that are out there," Haynes says. "One of the best ways to showcase that variety is to say, you know, tomatoes don't have to be red, they can be pink, orange, or purple."

"You can get green beans that aren't green, they can be purple or yellow, you can do the same thing with cauliflower where you can have brilliant purples or kind of an orangey yellow."

Beyond beauty, Haynes says that planting a colorful vegetable garden may offer nutritional benefits.

"When you get a darker, more vibrant color sometimes that increases certain vitamins, so cauliflower is okay white but purple cauliflower usually has a little bit more," Haynes says. "Licopene is really high in the red tomatoes, but you still get other vitamins in the other colors as well." 

Later in the hour, DNR Forester Mark Vitosh joins Haynes and Jauron to answer listener questions.