If you’re planning on planting a spring vegetable garden in Nashville this year, we’re coming up on time to get started — the last frost here is expected around mid-April, and since Nashville’s “USDA Hardiness Zone” is 7a, we can already be starting seeds indoors for all kinds of veggies, mid-February to early March.
Carrots, kale, peppers — by March 1, those and more can be in pots and ready to sprout, for transplanting in April and beyond.
Every year with our gardening, we think about practical concerns — what vegetables and fruits grow well in Nashville, and what kind of stuff we’d like to be harvesting throughout the spring, summer and fall. But this year, we’re feeling like adding an aesthetic twist, too, and focusing on form along with function. Why not — your home garden is as much a visual part of your landscaping as your garden beds, so it can’t hurt to have a little fun, right?
Specifically: We’re talking rainbow seeds, aka seed blends that deliver the vegetables you’re used to, but maybe in a mix of colors you don’t expect. If you’re up for getting a little creative with your seed choices, you can taste the rainbow this year in Nashville, and not just in Skittles form.
This was somewhat inspired by “rainbow” seeds you’ll see all over the internet (blue strawberries, multicolored grapes), but that, sadly, seem to be at best an exaggeration. You can, however, get seeds that’ll bring you a found-in-nature multicolored blend of fruits and vegetables.
Below, check out some of the colorful vegetable and fruit seeds you can buy and plant if you’re up for your own unicorn garden in Nashville. We can’t speak to the hardiness of these seeds just yet, but we’ll report back after our rainbow garden experiment gets going. Hopefully with some colorful photos of rows and rows of successful growth.
Rainbow vegetables and fruits to plant in your Nashville garden
Other-than-orange carrots aren’t unusual, but having a bunch of different seed options packaged together — including Atomic Red, Cosmic Purple and Solar Yellow — sure makes things easier. You can get these carrot seeds in the ground in early April here in Nashville, and by mid-June, you should be enjoying a particularly pretty carrot slaw.
Maybe a little too on the nose here, but if we’re planting a rainbow garden, including rainbow Swiss Chard seems like a must. This particular “Bright Lights” seed blend really goes for color — a mix of savoyed green and bronze leaves with pink, purple, orange, red, gold and white stems. Chard’s a great vegetable to get going early in Nashville, too — we can put seeds in the ground from late February to early March, and your plants should be happy.
Another favorite for bringing color and flavor into dinner. None of these bell pepper colors will seem particularly unusual, but it’ll sure be pretty to have them all growing in a row. In the Carnival Blend: Golden California Wonder, Orange Sun, Purple Beauty and more. Peppers are another option for starting indoors now, or getting in the ground here in Nashville in March.
Beets can tend to be a love/hate vegetable, but most of our team tends to fall on the love side. An earthy roasted beet in the fall is a beautiful thing, and this seed blend looks like it can make that even more true, with four different color varieties, including Golden Detroit and White Albino beets. Important disclaimer: These seeds won’t be for our spring garden (we’ll plant them in early August), but it doesn’t hurt to think out your vegetable-growing attack for the year now.
Our office is in East Nashville, so we weren’t going to wrap up plans without including tomatoes. You can start tomato seeds indoors in early March in zone 7, or wait a little longer and get your rainbow in the ground outdoors. We usually won’t be enjoying the fruits of that labor until later in the summer, but man, the results of these seeds — a mix of red Bonny Best, Brandywine Pink, yellow Golden Sunburst, purple Black Krim tomatoes and more — would be a surefire hit at the Tomato Art Fest, and/or on a nice Nashville BLT.
So what do you think — into our rainbow garden idea, or feel like maybe rain- and gloom-related cabin fever has us getting a little ridiculous? Either: probably fair.