It is possible to have your kale and eat it too! Just because a plant is ornamental doesn’t mean it can’t also be edible. So lettuce lead you down the garden path and introduce you to some edible plants that double as decor.
1. Russian and Lacinato Kale
Both these varieties make great edging plants in your garden, and they happen to produce great tasting produce. Best of all, they can survive the first fall frost. Russian kale displays dark green leaves with purple veins and stems. It goes great in salads and soups. Lacinato Kales is even more colorful with dark blue-green leaves. It goes well in soups and stews and tastes great in a stir-fry.
Artichokes take a little more work, but they’re well worth the effort. They need fertile soil and more fertilization once they’re in the ground. These perennials can survive up to six years in damp climates with mild winters. It’s best to plant the seeds indoors, then transplant them in late November. The artichoke will add interest to your garden, and the purple bloom will make it one to envy. And you can’t beet this vegetable when it comes to making dips and sauces.
3. Toscana Strawberries
It’s tough to find a prettier, sweeter or more versatile plant than this one. While all strawberry plants produce fruit, the Toscana variety gives you deep pink blooms along with the fruit. These beautiful plants do well in hanging baskets, smaller indoor containers or as climbing plants in the garden. They’ll also attract the bees and hummingbirds to pollinate the rest of your garden.
4. Herbs & Spices
It’s hard to herb your enthusiasm for these plants. A small herb garden in the kitchen with mint, basil, lemon balm, parsley, and oregano will spice up your decor and give you plenty of seasonings at your fingertips. Consider planting chamomile outdoors for fragrant daisy-like flowers that you can dry and use to make chamomile tea. The sage plant produces ornamental foliage that doubles as a seasoning.
5. Chili Peppers
Spice up your garden by planting chili peppers. The prairie fire peppers will make your garden look like you’ve hung Christmas lights out in the summer. They’ll definitely add color to your landscape or your indoor garden. We should warn you these peppers are hotter than jalapenos, so make sure you have plenty of water before popping one in your mouth!
Keep in mind, your fruit and vegetable plants will require some maintenance. There are a variety of ornamental edibles, but we’ve chosen ones that need less work to get you started. Kale, strawberries, and herbs generally take care of themselves, but you will need to water, mulch and fertilize your garden. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for grubs, cinch worms and other pests which enjoy the fruits of your labor as much as you and your family.
With only so mushroom in the garden, use it wisely. Choose edible plants that double as decor. These plants will look good in your yard and taste great on your table!
Brenda Stuart is a journalist who enjoys gardening and growing her own vegetables. When she’s not chasing her dog out of her flower beds, she’s chasing her kids around the house.