Every gardener loves a productive and beautiful garden. But, how do you ensure that you grow your vegetables in the back yard while retaining natural beauty? Achieve this by planting flowers in the same beds as your vegetables. You enjoy the visual appeal when the flowers blossom and they help in keeping the vegetables healthy. As a matter of fact, professionals recommend companion planting vegetables and flowers in one bed to boost vegetable yields and keep the vegetables healthy the entire growth season.
Choosing flowers to grow in your vegetable garden
To enjoy the benefits of companion planting with flowers, go for flowers that blossom at a similar period as the vegetables. Flower seed packets will indicate how soon the flowers will bloom and you can use that information to plan your gardening. However, organic gardening experts recommend planting different flowers that bloom at different periods and throughout the entire growth season.
Planting flowers in your garden also attracts beneficial insects like bees and wasps as they search for pollen and nectar. However, there are other flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies among other species beneficial to your garden. Without bees to consume the nectar and swap the pollen grains, you are bound to have disappointing flowers that may not offer the benefits of companion planting. But, some flower shapes make it hard for different species to reach the pollen and nectar. So to attract pollinators like bees, it is advisable to plant composite shaped flowers like cosmos, sunflowers or zinnias.
Space the flowers adequately
You want every vegetable in your garden to enjoy the benefits of companion planting. So, do not clump the flowers at one garden corner. Distribute them throughout the garden. You can plant a row of vegetables followed by a row of flowers or interspace them in one row. Additionally, you can use flowers to mark your garden or divide it. For instance, if you plant different vegetables, use flowers to mark the end of one crop type or the beginning of another.
You do not want the vegetables and flowers to compete for sunlight. Hence, it is advisable to choose low growing flowers because they offer the benefits as long growing plants. However, if you like a certain long growing plant, you could plant it at the garden edges where it would not be blocking sunlight for your vegetables. Also, other vegetable plants such as lettuces require shade to thrive. So, it would make sense to plant taller flower plants in some parts of the garden.
Beginner companion gardeners are advised to start with annual flowers because they are easy to grow, produce a lot of bloom are reliable and require less attention. As such, you would not have to shift your attention from caring for your vegetables. Annual flower plants are easy to manipulate when you want to change your garden’s design. They do not grow in the same spot after their growth season ends. Annual flowers are great at attracting native bees.
Flowers are grown to make the gardens look beautiful and purify the air. However, they have other gardening benefits that every organic gardener would benefit from such as boosting your vegetables’ health and produce. However, mixing vegetables and flowers can be tricky. So, seek advice from organic gardening experts within your area before getting started with companion planting.