Why Grow Flowers in Your Edible Garden?
Flowers are a valuable addition to any edible or ornamental garden. They add beautiful color and fragrance, act as trap crops, discourage pests, and attract pollinators and predatory insects. Flowers can also provide you with an extended season of breathtaking blossoms that can save you money on decorative bouquets and fresh cut stems.
Did you know that planting sunflowers at the edge of your garden bed will attract beneficial insects? Use them to entice hoverflies, lacewings, parasitic wasps, lady beetles, tachinid flies and bees. These insects will act as beneficial pollinators and predators in your vegetable garden! Sunflowers also grow quite tall and can provide shade or act as a wind barrier to shorter plants that may need protection.
Nasturtiums are a trap crop, which makes it especially attractive to certain pest insects and can be used to lure them away from your prized edibles. If your vegetable garden is attracting black aphids, place a pot of nasturtiums near your garden! These glorious little blossoms will draw the aphids away from your beans and other vegetables. Just be sure to dispose of the nasturtiums before your pest population explodes!
Marigolds can aid in natural pest control. They deter nematodes, which can be harmful to your garden soil and their strong fragrance can confuse and distract certain insects from finding (and destroying) their favorite crop. Plant a border of marigolds around your vegetable garden to maximize their benefits, then enjoy the splash of color they bring over the summer.