Warmer weather means it’s time to fill those gardening beds with juicy tomatoes and plump squash. It may seem like a no-brainer to sequester these vegetables together, but is it? This year, ditch that instinct. Instead, mix in some flowers to optimize the beauty and health of the garden.
It’s called companion planting, a symbiotic philosophy related to bee health and deterring pesky insects like aphids. Scents of certain flowers and the insects they attract can provide a barrier around your prize-winning tomatoes to keep bunnies and other small snackers out. Try these flower/veggie combinations this season:
Plant echinacea to keep the bees happy and the garden pollinated. It can be planted among herbs to keep basil leaves full and nibble-free, and mixing these flowers throughout will keep beetles from migrating from one plant to the next.
The distinct scent of fresh lavender turns away deer, ticks, moths, and mice. The height of the spiky blooms will complement taller vegetable gardens, filling the plot with nice texture. Plus, you can make lavender extract and oils with the blooms.
Frame out a garden in marigolds to detract beetles while enjoying the sunny colors. Plant taller varieties around climbing plants like tomatoes and cucumbers, and cover the ground with short marigolds to protect beans and peppers.
For a towering flower with edible seeds, look toward sunflowers. These large blooms have a beautiful visual impact. Growing up to eight feet tall, these flowers can oversee the healthy growth of corn, squash, and other varieties.
These annuals come in a variety of colors, so choose one to complement your vegetables’ tone. The biggest perk to zinnias are the butterflies that’ll flutter around the bright petals. Zinnias also attract hummingbirds, the kind of critter you want around your garden because of their ability to pollinate flowering plants. Avoid pale zinnias unless you can accept a few Japanese beetles.