Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Companion Planting Adventures

My goal is have about 10% of my garden full of flowers.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First, I live in a community with an HOA with rules on landscaping.  So I'll make sure there are plenty of flowers to keep my garden looking pretty!

But another major reason is that the right flowers can attract beneficial insects that eat the "bad bugs", pollinators (like bees, butterflies, moths and maybe even humming birds), or detract "bad bugs".

All of these images are from Burpee.com and clicking on the links will take you to Burpee's site where you could purchase them.



Marigolds - These cheery little blooms are power houses of benefits.  Beetles that might attack beans, melons, potatoes, cucumbers and squash hate them as do the nematodes that attack tomatoes and eggplants.  They are mostly yellows and oranges, but as you can see from the images above, come in a few different "styles".


Nasturtiums - I'm super excited about planting Nasturtiums this year.  These little guys are edible...okay, lots of stuff are edible, but these taste great in salads or candied.  You'll for sure see a few posts on my culinary adventures with Nasturtiums in a few months.  But, even better, aphids hate them.  This helps so many plants like cabbages, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery.  They also help the cucumbers and celery from beetles.



Borage - Borage is another edible flower.  Some say that the flowers have a cucumber flavor and is a yummy addition to lemonade.  Actually, it's classified as an herb and the leaves have various usages as well.  It helps strawberries and tomatoes resist various pests.  It also attracts lacewings which eat lots of bugs like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and pretty much any slow moving insect.



Zinnias - These flowers are so pretty and come in a range of colors.  They are great in a cut arrangement.  Pollinators love them, including monarch butterflies!  Also, various insects that eat "bad bugs" love them too.  But, cucumber beetles and tomato worms do not love zinnias and stay away.  Awesome!



Alyssum - These attract various insects that eat aphids.  I hate aphids because they attack cabbages, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery.  They are a low growing plant that can form a nice garden cover that acts like a living mulch to prevent weeds.  They come in a few colors, mostly white and purple.


Bachelor's Buttons (Cornflower) - This one attracts flower flies, ladybugs, lacewings, and helpful wasps.  These insects eat aphids among other things.


References:
* https://www.gardenguides.com/92101-beneficial-vegetable-garden-flowers.html
* https://gardenerdy.com/good-plants-to-attract-beneficial-insects-to-your-garden


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