Companion flowers for vegetable garden
This topic contains 11 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago.
- April 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm #28999
Can anyone recommend the best annuals to plant in a vegetable garden to encourage pollination? Zone 7
NanZApril 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm #29335
I’m not telling you what the best flowers to have would be, but for my berry patch and vegetable garden I put in potted french lavender plants to attract bees to that area of my garden right away. Works great for me; I also planted nasturtium (an annual) in my vegetable garden since the style of the plant fits right in with vegetables and I noticed they seem to attract bumble bees. Hope this helps!
Brian DenizApril 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm #29338
Thanks for the tips Brian! I actually put some lavender seed in last year and am hoping to get flowers this year. Just this morning, I planted nasturtium seeds in several spots (on the recommendation of a fellow gardener), so I think I’m on the right track to luring those bees! Someone also suggested adding marigolds.
NanZApril 11, 2010 at 12:09 am #29341
I’ve heard marigolds are supposed to be a natural pest deterrent. Not sure if it’s true but I always plant them around my veggies. And my veggies always look pretty with them close by :)April 12, 2010 at 3:46 am #29346
Borage is the best bee attractor I know. And it is a veggie in it’s own right so very appropriate for the veg garden. The flowers are great in salads and the leaves can be steamed briefly and eaten as a side or chopped very fine and added to yogurt or butter for a spread or dip. It tastes like cucumber. But it does reseed liberally.April 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm #29354
I got a copy of Great garden companions: a companion planting system for a beautiful, chemical-free vegetable garden by Sally Jean Cunningham from the library and am finding it filled with great suggestions of what to plant together, using an uncomplicated system.
She too highly recommends borage, and also tansy. Most of all though I feel encouraged to plant as many varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers together as possible so as to create a fairly complex ecosystem that will attract lots of good guys.April 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm #29358
Thank you all for the great suggestions! I will add borage and marigolds to the lavender & nasturtium already planted!
NanZApril 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm #29365
NanZ — In addition to what has been said about borage above, it is also delicious in cocktails. It is the traditional cucumber “note” in the oh so British Pimm’s Cup, and is also just lovely in a Gin and Tonic.April 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm #29368
Ann the head hen- Is it the leaves that are used for the drinks?
I just read a good article on bee gardens and thought I would add some more suggestions. Dandelions are important pollen and nectar sources early in the season. Mountain mint (pycnathemum) is another plant that bees love. I have this in my perennial bed, not far from the veg garden and had forgotton how many bees I see on it when it blooms. Mountain mint is also fabulous for cut flower arranging. I love to bring the scent indoors and the dusty green is a good accent for certain colors. General bee attracting advice: large groups of the same plant and a diversity of species in the entire garden are most effective to attract and sustain a population of bees. Try to have plants blooming through a long season-very early and very late not just midsummer. You may only need the bees midseason for the vegetables, but remember you need to support and sustain a population or there won’t be any bees midsummer. Last year my Dendranthemum ‘Shefield Pink’ was completely covered with bees as it was one of the only plants in the area that was still in bloom till frost.April 16, 2010 at 3:40 pm #29369
And don’t forget the native bees. These mostly solitary bees are very good pollinators and need places to live. Straws bundled together or blocks of wood with holes drilled make good homes. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Other/note109/note109.html
We were just at my brother-in-laws house for easter and he was complaining that the ‘honeybees’ wouldn’t leave his wind chime alone. As he said this he started to vigorously shake said wind chime and several mason bees flew out of the hollow reeds that the chime was constructed from. I reassured him that these were gentle mason bees not honeybees. They were building nests for their young and he did not need to be worried about them stinging his kids. But it just goes to show that, if you build it (even if you didn’t know what you were building) they will come.April 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm #29370
Leslie — You can just call me ann (ann was already taken as a username :-) Sorry, yes it is the leaves. Chiffonade them as you would basil.
It’s really surprising how much they add to the drink. I love a good Pimm’s Cup (being an avowed Anglophile) and I was always disappointed by how little cucumber flavor a slice of cuke brought to the glass. And then one day I was reading something (wish I could remember) and ran across the borage reference. Of course I dashed right out to my garden to pick some leaves and poured myself a nice tall one, and boy was I surprised by the flavor! Delicious! Refreshing!April 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm #29396
Try calendula too! I planted some next to my Roma tomatoes last year and both performed really well!
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