FN 1.01 BRA January King
‘January King’—a French heirloom vegetable goes Ornamental

We have three varieties from the showy vegetable garden that truly deserve to be considered Ornamentals and the first of these is Blue Ribbon ‘January King’. This is a French heirloom that’s unlike most other Ornamental Cabbage varieties—it forms a head rather than a loose rosette. You’ll find that it’s an attractive head though, with tinges of red-purple decorating the outer leaves. A touch of Savoy-style blistering gives the Cabbage a beautiful ruffled appearance.

FN 1.05 BRA January King
Savoy-style texture with showy swirls of purple

They call it ‘January King’ for a reason—this is one of the best varieties for cold weather. It’s very hardy and frost resistant. As a matter of fact, the colder it gets the redder the leaf color becomes, a surprising sight gleaming out from under a light dusting of snow. Tightly packed heads stay crisp and crunchy, and are full of delicious sweet flavor.

FN 1.03 Bok Choi Violetta
‘Violetta’—the classic Pac Choi vase shape in dramatic dark red

Next, ‘Violetta’ has a pretty vase shape like most Pac Choi varieties, making it popular as an Ornamental. This Chinese Cabbage is especially showy, with dark ruby-purple leaves and contrasting bright green veins and stems. Add to that its smooth, glossy texture and you have a dramatic specimen to dress up the garden or dinner plate.

Pac Choi is known for having a crunchy texture and crisp, sweet flavor. When the leaves are small we use them in salads and once they get larger we stir-fry them. ‘Violetta’ is particularly nice for stir-frying because the leaves retain that intense purple even after cooking, bumping up the nutrition and the WOW factor of a dish at the same time.

FN 1.04 Beet Fresh Start
In a surprising twist, ‘Fresh Start’ Beet is eaten as a salad green

Finally, ‘Fresh Start’ is a Beet that follows the rhythm of a different drummer with no usable Beet root. That’s right—it’s grown as a baby leaf salad green and we have to say it makes a beautiful presentation in the garden. These brilliant green leaves are crisp and clean with vivid magenta stems and matching well-defined veins.

FN 1.02 Beet Fresh Start
Ornamental leaves are bright green with stark red stems and veins

According to the National Garden Bureau, 2018 is the Year of the Beet so add sweet and crunchy ‘Fresh Start’ to your salad mix for fall. Beet greens taste best when grown in the cool weather, and this variety is both very uniform and very disease resistant. You can look forward to harvesting nice healthy bunches of beautiful baby Beet greens for your salad bowl.