Growing food is fast becoming a lost art. It’s feared, it’s unknown, it’s challenging, it’s rebellious. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Join me in the Love of Dirt podcast where we explore topics around growing food, fair food and sustainable living.
I confess. I never used to plant flowers. I didn’t have the luxury of a lot of space so I always felt like it was a waste of room if I planted flowers.
Now since upping my flower game, I consider it an integral part of my veggie planting because I have noticed that my need for dealing with pests has dramatically declined - to almost non existent.
So why plant flowers? There are a few key reasons why you want to plant flowers. The obvious being that it will bring in your bees that will help with pollination. But the big benefits I’ve seen is that it helps attract other pest eating beneficial insects into my garden.
After my chat with the entomologist, this ‘theory’ I had was validated as what I was providing was food and shelter for a diverse variety of bugs. This diversity has allowed nature to just put things in balance.
I always aim for at least 10% flowers and always try to ensure they have multiple benefits other than just looking pretty. I even have entire beds to break up my food growing area dedicated to flowers and I call it my insectary.
So let me dive into some of my My top flowers to plant in the veggie patch.
They help keep caterpillars in check, the entire plant is edible, they also make a great living ground cover that protects my soil.
Again an edible one, but it gets so huge that it’s a great place for little lizards to hang out around and the bees absolutely love it.
The pretty edibles - dianthus, violas and cornflowers
All look stunning and seem to be favourites with the bees and other sap sucking insects.
Letting veggies go to seed
I also let things go to seed, like my rocket, bok choi, coriander and dill. These are like little bug hotels when they get going, I am astounded at how many different bugs I see on these guys,
Other pretty ones I like in the garden are cosmos, lavender, snap dragons, zinnias and sunflowers, and yes these guys are edible.
So next time you’re planting out your veggie patch make sure you grab some flowers to add to the mix.