Has anyone used vegetables for ornamental use?

outnproud(5 West MI)March 18, 2009

I really like the idea of using vegetables as an ornamental annual. I have had peppers in pots on the deck because I like the shape they take. I am trying to cover a small barn/shed on the south and west sides with some kind of vine. I have already decided that I am going to use morning glories or thunbergia on the west side. But my veggie garden is going to be oriented to the south of the barn, so I am think about growing some runner beans or peas on it. I have found Scarlet Emperor beans, which have such an abundance of scarlet flowers, they would be pretty I think. Also thinking about something like this on the deck railings. What about small squash or cucumbers? Has anyone grown vining veggies this way?

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Well, here is an idea I got from a magazine 5 years ago and I do it every year. You might like this.
It is not truly an edible since it is an ornamental cabbage, but it looks sharp. Just get a decorative flower pot about 18-20 inch dia. Place cabbage in center and surround it with bright yellow pansies. When the cabbage starts to grow taller and the bottom leaves shed, just snip it out. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 9:45PM
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outnproud(5 West MI)

Thanks harold! I have also considered some of the many colors of ornamental kale for pots so this idea is very appealing to me.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:22PM
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I like to use Swiss Chard bright lights in my flower beds. Sometimes if I have an extra tomato plant or two, I stick them strategically into the flower beds as well, as well as peppers. I think pole beans would be a great idea for your barn! There are many different varieties out there that are as beautiful as they are tasty!
Have you thought about using hyasinth (sp?) bean vine on your railings? Maybe Cherokee Trail of Tears heirloom runner beans?
Nasturtiams look great anywhere and taste nice and spicy, blooms and leaves both! Leaves are better when they are young, in my opinion.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:59PM
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outnproud(5 West MI)

Thanks for the tips Carrie! I like the idea of the swiss chard. i have seen it in burpee. I had thought of nasturtiums. Thanks for the variety suggestions for beans, i will check them out. I think I am going to do a cobble job and do numerous different plants.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:03AM
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I use all types of kales in my flower beds as well as little lucy okra,its ornamental looking as well as edible.Debbie

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 11:36AM
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grovespirit(Zone 9)

I sure have!!

Grew heirloom scarlet runner "Insuk's Wang Kong" in Calif. on my chain link fence as an ornamental edible and LOVED it. It's even prettier and more productive than Scarlet Emperor, in my opinion. Attracts hummingbirds and produces some very big, tasty beans. I highly recommend it and I have some beans I don't need- want them? :)

I used to have Swiss Chard Bright Lights, Osaka Purple mustard, Udmalbet eggplant, purple basil, variegated ginger and some pepper plants on my front porch along with my flowers because they are very attractive plants.

Sadly, some thief kept stealing the healthiest and best of those plants out of their pots anytime I was out of the house for a weekend. Now, I grow them in my backyard patio garden instead.

I also have grown mizuna mustard, red orach, tiger eye amaranth, and Mantovana chicory as ornamental veggies. Their foliage is pretty, in my opinion.
Currently I have Rotonda Bianca Sfumata di Rosa eggplant growing in a 7-gallon pot on the back patio, and I believe its fruit are very ornamental. :)

My front porch now has some more boring looking edible stuff on it- Lucullus (green) swiss chard, Komatsuna (green) mustard, plain-leaf ginger, and Cicoria Catalogna Rossa which looks a lot like a dandelion. So far, none of these have interested the local thief.

Those of you who can actually grow pretty edibles in your front yard without any of them being stolen, have a big blessing to give thanks for. Remember that. :)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 7:20PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

I have oregano growing as a groundcover in one area; it looks great! In that same general area, I have a little bed of garlic chives. -They are meant to be ornamental, but sadly aren't; They have been there for years and have never bloomed and certainly haven't lived up to their invasive reputation. I sure do enjoy them in the kitchen, though.

I also have fennel and the old-fashioned vining nasturtium out in the flower beds. Last year, I grew a nice compact Roma tomato in a container in the front garden. It really looked lovely!

This year, I have started a bed that will be almost all ornamental edibles. It will have the variegated nasturtium, 'Alaska', a variegated variety of garden cress, 'Winter Cream', Purple Perilla (the crinkly kind) and a beautiful variegated hot pepper, 'Fish', that is supposed to be extremely tasty and productive.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:06PM
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