Having flowers in your vegetable garden can help deter pests and promote biodiversity. Here are six vegetable garden flowers that I recommend for improving the health of your garden crops.
What Are the Advantages of Planting Flowers in the Vegetable Patch?
It is a good idea to plant the following flowers among the crops in a permaculture garden. I agree, but I also encourage you to do this. Placing a border of flowers around the perimeter of the garden is a good idea, but my reason for suggesting it is so that beneficial insects will come directly to where they are needed. Because the permaculture garden incorporates various elements to create a diverse, efficient, and low-maintenance ecosystem, this practice is used.
This integration improves the crops' ecosystem health by enabling beneficial insects to locate crop pests. Furthermore, flowers can help control above-ground pests and those below ground. Flowers also help maintain an ecological balance in the garden by holding the soil in place as their roots die back and feeding the beneficial soil organisms (less erosion).
Using flowers in the vegetable garden is simple.
Annuals are great for vegetable gardens, as they self-seed every year. They can be sown in any location that makes sense for that year's crop arrangement. When choosing a location for flower rows, you can alternate between vegetable rows, put them in every other one, or sprinkle seeds in the spring when the rest of the garden is being seeded. These plants are referred to as living mulches.
All things being equal, how you alternate your flowers and vegetables depends on the size of the bed, the crop you select, and the type of flowers you use. Sun exposure and crop height are just two of the things that play a role.
A bed 3 feet wide can hold up to three crop rows, all facing south (northern hemisphere). Here are some examples:
Grow tomatoes as the tallest plant in a bed by putting them on the northern side, medium-size flowers in the middle, and shorter plants such as carrots on the southernmost row.
Planting lettuce in the middle row with radishes on the north side and shorter flowers on the south side is one example of a bed arrangement. Planting radishes on the north side with taller or similar-sized flowers on the south side is another.
Below are the six favorite flowers in the vegetable garden:
My favorites among the many flowers that benefit the vegetable garden are annuals, which allow me to reorder them each year to match the plants I want to grow. These flowers are also excellent for an edible landscape.
These plants are particularly good at attracting beneficial insects and holding the soil. They are edible and don't grow too tall.
California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
I recently planted perennial flowers in my front yard garden and, in the meantime, sowed California poppies in the empty spaces because they increase and produce flowers. In addition to the fact that this plant's roots burrow into the clay soil and soften it, I was particularly fascinated by its yellow flowers, which signal rain by closing up and signaling it by opening up at night.
Beneficial insects adore it because of its lacy foliage. Because of all these factors, I grew it in my vegetable garden and got beautiful, healthy vegetables. It will reach about 12 inches in height.
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
This cheerful, yellow, daisy-like flower is my favorite annual flower to grow in my vegetable garden, but don't tell the other flowers! The sticky sap from this 18-24-inch tall annual herb traps aphids and whiteflies, keeping them away from nearby plants.
Because of its lovely yellow blossoms, calendula attracts many pollinators and beneficial insects, including ladybugs, hoverflies, and green lacewings. In addition to the nectar, the insects enjoy snacks from their favorite prey. Calendula may also be grown as a cover crop over the winter to keep the soil in place.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
Cilantro has either been adored or detested, given its unique taste. Its intense aroma may ward off predators. Whether or not you like to eat it, it may still be valuable for your garden.
The cilantro/coriander grows up to three feet tall and attracts a large variety of beneficial insects, thanks to its carrot roots that loosen the soil as they go (free tilling service). Cilantro/coriander is a carrot relative. Although it is a tall flower for a vegetable garden, its upright habit allows sunlight to reach shorter plants around it.
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita)
Small, delicate flowers with lace-like leaves are an attractive draw for pollinators and beneficial insects. Because chamomile grows to just 12 inches tall, it has deep roots that dredge nutrients. When the season is over, prune the plant back so that the nutrient-rich plant matter can fertilize the soil.
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
Intensely fragrant nasturtiums are annual plants with aromatic leaves and flowers. The colorful flowers and leaves are a favorite in edible landscaping. It keeps pests away by exuding a powerful scent and providing a living mulch for covering the ground under taller plants and feeding the soil as it dies back.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Alyssum is a sweet-scented low-growing plant that is often planted in landscape borders. Hoverflies are attracted to its white flowers, which come in various colors. It is an excellent living mulch because its shallow roots hold the soil in place. Hoverflies have never been as abundant as when I planted sweet alyssum in my garden.
What should you do with the flowers in your vegetable garden after the season?
Leaving the roots of flower plants in your vegetable garden beds is a beautiful notion, but you may wonder how you will clean up at the end of the season. Cleaning up at the end of the season is another way to improve the ecological diversity of your garden by leaving the roots intact. Rather than pulling up the spent plants, cut them off at the base.
Roots left intact will decay and feed the soil, creating fertile soil. The plant material can be chopped and dropped to function as mulch.
In case you miss the root when planting the following spring, don't worry. Simply move your planting to the left or right to avoid it. Your line may not be the straightest, but plants sown next to the old root will benefit from its decaying roots' biological activity and richness.
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