1. Bob the Tomato
A bit of a straight edged, serious guy, but hey, what do you expect from the number one most consumed vegetable in the country with a reputation to uphold? As with most well known celebrities, people have a love it or hate it relationship with the tomato. Although the super food and is present in many dishes today, it was originally thought to be poisonous, only cultivated for ornamental value. The fruit in disguise, is packed with Vitamin C, carotenes, biotin, Vitamin K, dietary fiber and lycopene that is a powerful antioxidant against many types of cancer. So put aside any hostility towards the tomato and begin embracing it.
2. His BFF, Larry the Cucumber
Fun, cool and outgoing, how could you not include the cucumber in your garden line up? The cucumber is progressive and keeps up with the times as it was one of the first plants to be cultivated in a greenhouse, despite it’s ancient roots as the world’s oldest cultivated vegetable. The cucumber contains silica which contributes to healthy connective tissue. This benefit is not to be underestimated as it is what holds muscles and organs together in the form of a body.
3. Mr. Potato Head
In keeping with the many different faces and personalities that can be captured on the classic toy, the potato vegetable is extremely versatile and can be served at EVERY meal. The potato is one of the more underrated characters in the garden although it produces abundantly, will fill you up fast, can grow in adverse climates, and is a practical and inexpensive way to feed large families. The second most consumed vegetable in the United States, is not only tasty but a source of key nutrients like potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, niacin, Panothenic acid, protein and dietary fiber. Plus, have you ever met someone who didn’t like potatoes? Doubtful.
4. Bugs Bunny’s Carrot
It’s orange. It’s sweet. It can conveniently be eaten raw. It’s no wonder Mr. Bunny was always crunching on the carrot! Although the carrot takes a long time to mature (2 growing seasons), it’s well worth the wait. Along with the succulent sweet taste and refreshing crunch, the carrot can do wonders for the eyes. Filled with Vitamin A and beta carotene, and this veggie promotes good vision and protects against macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Snack on fresh carrots, see the light.
5. Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach
What better to transform into a Princess Carriage than the ever spacious gourd equipped with long, enchanting green vines to wrap into wheels? This plant not only plays dress up in the Disney fantasy, but joins kids and adults alike in a transformation from pumpkin to jack-o-lantern every Halloween. While the South American native likes to have fun and dress up, it’s nutritional value should not be forgotten. Inside the fleshy, sweet center, underneath the hard skin layer, are beta carotenes that are protective against cancer. Whether grown for fall décor or for a home made pie, pumpkins are a terrific addition to all community gardens.
6. The Beets
Everyone’s favorite 90’s cartoon, Doug, makes a point. Filled with calcium, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C beets are more than just a vegetable (or a band) they’re a way of life! The beet brings some mystery to the garden both in their secret sweetness and their root. Long ago, the beets secret sweetness was discovered and widely used when sugar cane became scarce. The beet’s red root is often times hidden by the overarching leaf, both of which are edible. The beet has a protective influence against digestive system cancers of the stomach and colon. This vegetable also has a detoxifying effect on the liver, the perfect snack after a night of partying with “The Beets”.
7. The French Peas
Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they don’t pack a punch. The pea may seem mundane, but does in fact have prestigious roots. The pea was enjoyed by the French Aristocracy as a vegetable cuisine and was a favorite food of former United States president, Thomas Jefferson! The pea hides in cute little wrappers, but don’t be deceived, the shelling process can be quite labor intensive. For those willing to put a little work in, the rewards can be great. This spring time grower is high in Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and minerals.
8. Pop-eye’s Spinach
Arguably the most iconic vegetable there is on the market: Pop-Eye’s super strength spinach. The nutritional powerhouse originated in Persia and thrives in cool spring and fall temperatures. The leafy super food is the best of both worlds: low in calories while high in nutrients. The Vitamin K, Vitamin C, carotenes, folic acid, magnesium and various other nutrients help to regulate body ph, promote good vision and protect against cancer.
Feed your inner sailor man, grow some spinach.
9. The Black Eyed Pea
The fun loving, spunky black eyed pea is the perfect way to add some wealth to your garden. Because they swell up when prepared, the black eyed pea symbolizes an increase in wealth and is traditionally eaten on New Years Day, immediately following the greatest party night of the year. Don’t be fooled by the name, the pea is actually a bean and is rich with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and potassium. The black eyed pea is high in carbs that make for lasting energy throughout your day (and night).
Grow ‘em. Eat ‘em. Party on.