Growing Flowers and Herbs with your Veggies…

Growing Flowers and Herbs with Your Veggies
     It’s pretty and your veggies will thank you.

By Kathryn Courtney
  How do you have a healthy, organic vegetable garden? Add flowers and herbs of course! The benefits of planting all of these types of plants together is amazing. Flowers and herbs attract pollinators to your veggies, repel pests, invite beneficial predatory insects and make very attractive plantings in your garden.
     There are so many herbs and flowers that attract pollinators to your vegetable garden, I just can’t list them all. A stroll through the nursery will give you an idea as to what types of flowers bees and other pollinators like. You will notice that bees are attracted to certain flowers. Flowers with a daisy like shape are the most attractive to bees and butterflies.Their flat surfaces make it easy for the bees to collect and spread pollen. Once the bees have found their favorite flowers, they will then move on to the nearby vegetable

Cosmos and Parsley with Cucumbers

flowers, pollinating as they go. This pollinating helps guarantee a healthy harvest. Some of my favorite flowers to add to my garden are zinnias, cosmos, cone flowers, coreopsis, sunflowers, pentas and sweet alyssum. Dill, celery, parsley and basil flowers will also attract pollinators. Anise hyssop and tulsi basil are my favorite pollinator herbs. These plants will have the bees and butterflies flocking to your garden.

     There are several flowers and herbs that will repel garden pests. A good companion planting chart will help you find the plants that will help repel the bad pests in your garden. One of the most common companion planting flowers is the marigold. French type marigolds help repel harmful nematodes that do damage to the roots of your veggies. The nematodes can also climb through the roots and up to the stems and leaves of your vegetables,destroying the entire plant. Melons, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, squash and okra will all benefit from marigold plantings. Basil and dill are two herbs that will attract tomato horn worms away from your tomatoes. Borage also repels worms that feed on tomatoes. Planting nasturtiums and tansy among your squash and cucumbers will repel cucumber

Nasturtiums with Squash
Nasturtiums with Squash

and squash beetles. Google companion plantings or look up this subject in your favorite gardening books. You will find a planting combination for everything in your garden.

     Not only can flowers and herbs repel bad insect pests, they can attract beneficial, predatory insects. These insects will feast on pests in the garden. Beneficial insects include ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic and braconid wasps and hover flies. The verdict is still out on praying mantis as these cute bugs will eat the good insects along with the bad. These beneficial garden insects munch on aphids, mealybugs, thrips, mites and scale.To attract these great predators plant daisies, dill and parsley for parasitic and braconid wasps. Mint, fennel, tansy and yarrow will attract a variety of beneficials including ladybugs, lacewings, hover flies and parasitic wasps. Sweet alyssum is one of my very favorite companion flowers because not only do bees love it but

Marigolds with tomatoes

so do hover flies and braconid wasps. Search to find what insects will eat the pests in your vegetable garden, then plant flowers to attract these garden helpers.

    Flowers, herbs and vegetables benefit each other, but planted together they make beautiful gardens. Line your flower beds with curly parsley for a ruffled border. Plant swiss chard for the bright, colorful stems. Plant borage for its great sky blue flowers. Try different combinations of flowers, herbs and vegetables all over your yard. Just remember to keep your yard organic if you are going to eat your wonderful garden plants. Come see us at the nursery. We can help you plan a perfect organic mixed garden.