Gardens of Eatin'

Rainbow on Your Plate

The Rainbow on Your Plate garden plot is located in the Home Demonstration Vegetable Garden. The plants in this plot all produce food crops that are brightly colored - sometimes unexpectedly so! Take a look at blue potatoes, orange cauliflower and green tomatoes, among other colorful veggies. Why are these strange crops important? University of Minnesota researchers are finding that the most vibrant-colored crops also have the most vitamins and nutrients. There may indeed be scientific truth behind the phrase "Eat for Color." 
Plant List:

  • Capsicum annuum ‘Satsuma' (bell pepper)
  • Cichorium intybus ‘Red Rib'(common chicory)
  • Brassica oleracea ‘Kolibri'(kohlrabi)
  • Cynara scolymus ‘Imperial Star' (globe artichoke)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Pencil Pod Wax' (wax bean)
  • Cucurbita pepo ‘Saffron' (summer squash)
  • Brassica oleracea ‘Cheddar' (cauliflower)
  • Beta vulgaris ‘Burpee's Rhubarb Chard' (Swiss chard)
  • Solanum melongena ‘Violetta di Firenze' (eggplant)
  • Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Baby Bubba' (okra)
  • Brassica oleracea ‘Super Red 80' (cabbage)
  • Physalis primosa ‘Goldie' (ground cherry)
  • Solanum tuberosum ‘All blue' (potato)
  • Solanum lycopersicum 'Evergreen' (tomato)
  • Capsicum annuum ‘Sweet banana' (pepper)
  • Daucus carota ‘Baltimore' (carrot)
  • Beta vulgaris ‘Bull's Blood' (beet)

Chemopreventive Café

The thirteen crops planted in the Chemopreventive Café (located in the Home Demonstration Vegetable Garden) are especially rich in the phytonutrients that plants often produce to protect themselves. University of Minnesota researchers at the Southern Research and Outreach Center are currently studying whether or not these phytonutrients will also have protective effects on human bodies.  (For more information about Professor Vince Fritz's phytonutrient studies, click here.)

Plant List:

  • Zingiber officinale (ginger)
  • Brassica oleracea ‘Packman' (broccoli)
  • Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
  • Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Chippewa' (blueberry)
  • Daucus carota ‘Sugarsnax 54' (carrot)
  • Brassica oleracea ‘Jude Cross' (Brussels sprouts)
  • Malus domestica ‘Northpole' (apple)
  • Malus domestica ‘Golden Sentinel' (apple)
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon (American cranberry)
  •  Vitis labrusca ‘Canadice' (seedless fox grape)
  • Arachis hypogaea ‘Valencia Tennessee Red' (peanut)
  • Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)
  • Juglans regia (Carpathian walnut)

Great Quilt of Grains 

Grains are the primary energy engine of our lives. Just three of them - rice, corn, wheat - provide 60% of the total calories consumed by earth's human population. In the Home Demonstration Garden, view nine grain crops growing in a small, patchwork plot. Some of these grains are traditional and familiar, while others are more exotic.

Plant list:

  • Zea mays ‘Nothstine Dent' (corn)
  • Chenopodium quinoa ‘Kaslala' (quinoa)
  • Amaranthus cruentus ‘Golden Giant' (amaranth)
  • Oryza sativa ‘Blue Bonnet' (rice) 
  • Glycine max ‘Viking 2265' (soybean)
  • Hordeum vulgare (barley) 
  • Secale cereale (winter rye)
  • Triticum aestiuum (spring wheat)
  • Avena sativa ‘Rodeo' (oats)

Lurking in the Annuals

The gardeners in the Griggs Annual Garden have included edible crops in this year's annual flower displays.  Vegetable and herb plants can be both decorative and delicious, adding new textures and functions to flower beds and containers.  Visit the Arboretum, and try to identify the edible plants that are "lurking in the annuals."  Plus, check out these design tips for integrating edibles into ornamental display beds:
*Avoid short-season crops that need replanting (e.g. lettuce, radish, spinach). 
*Incorporate brightly-colored fruits.
*Use edible-foliaged plants for drifts of color: kale, basil, sage, chard.
*Brighten a salad with a sprinkle of edible flowers such as nasturtium, anise hyssop and gem marigold.

Plant list (partial):

  • Tropaeolum majus ‘Gleam Lemon Yellow' (nasturtium, pictured above left)
  • Solanum quitoense (naranjilla, pictured above right)
  • Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee' (anise hyssop)
  • Brassica oleracea (ornamental kale)
  • Ocimum basilicum ‘Pistou' (basil)
  • Capsicum annuum ‘Purple flash' (ornamental pepper)
  • Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor' (common sage)