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Create a Rainbow in the Garden and on Your Plate

By Paula Peirce, Colorado Master Gardener

Gardeners know the joy of biting into the perfect tomato. We also love to watch plants grow, change and develop. It can all come together when we plant, grow, and eat food from a home vegetable garden or planter.

A rainbow of colorful vegetables, Photo: pixabay

As we plan what to grow this year, consider planting a rainbow of colors in your garden. Everything we eat has a different mix of vitamins, minerals and healthy phytochemicals. The phytochemical pigments add vibrant colors to our food. The tried-and-true wisdom of eating a wide variety of foods is the first step toward getting all the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. “Eating a rainbow” of colors is the next step to enhance our phytochemical intake and wellness.

Research also tells us that these vitamins, minerals and especially phytochemicals come from healthy living soil. In What Your Food Ate, David Montgomery and Anne Biklé dive into an exciting world of research around caring for our soil and the influence soil can have on the nutrients in food. Their impressive research highlights no till soil practices, enriching and feeding our soil with organic matter to create a living ecosystem for our plant roots. The result is nutrient rich food with amazing color, flavor, and superior nutrition.

So, let’s start planning! Pick foods you enjoy from each of the color categories.

The goal of eating the rainbow is to eat a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables every day. The realistic gardener knows that space can often limit what we can grow. Plan to grow what you can and select other colors of fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market or grocery. The result can be creating a rainbow on your plate.

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