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Planting and maintaining a vegetable garden is a productive hobby for many people. But for some, vegetable gardening is much more than a hobby. Those who wish to live a healthy lifestyle often turn to organic gardening in efforts to eat healthy, organic produce while remaining on a strict budget. For these individuals, it is important that their gardens flourish without the use of harmful chemicals. To increase the chances of a hearty bounty, many organic gardeners turn to companion planting. Companion planting is a natural and strategic way to increase the growth of plants and reduce the amount of harmful pests by planting two or more compatible plants closely together. This works especially well when planting flowers in vegetable gardens, as there are many flowers that are compatible with various types of vegetables. These flowers offer benefits to the growing vegetables by attracting bees for pollination and reducing the amounts of harmful insects in the garden. While planting flowers can be beneficial to the garden, it is important that the right type of flower is chosen for companion planting to be successful.
French marigolds, also known as Tagetes Patula, are annual flowers that are brightly colored with orange and yellow petals. They are not the same as the popular "pot marigold" plants that are edible and often used in herbal medicinal remedies. French marigolds are generally much wider than they are tall, especially in comparison to the more popular varieties of marigold plants. French marigolds are extremely popular choices for those that are seeking flowers to plant in their vegetable gardens. They are an excellent choice for vegetable gardens in which tomatoes, carrots, eggplants, potatoes and gourds are grown. This is because they grow well in similar conditions and close quarters without either plant harming the other. French marigolds are helpful to these vegetables as their scent acts as a repellant towards insects that commonly harm their growth. Insects that are deterred by the French marigold include a wide variety of beetles and microscopic worms known as nematodes or "tomato worms".
Poached egg flowers, or Limnanthes Douglasii, are gorgeous white and yellow flowers that truly resemble poached eggs. While they are delightful to look at, they are also helpful in vegetable gardens. Poached egg flowers are commonly planted alongside any type of plant that requires pollination. Unlike other companion flowers, poached egg flowers do not directly repel harmful insects. Instead, these flowers attract pollinators. These flowers are known for their ability to attract bees and hoverflies. With these pollinators around, vegetables will be pollinated and as aphids are eaten by hoverflies, the amount of harmful aphids in the garden will be significantly reduced.
Daisies are a common type of flower that many individuals plant in their flower gardens. Daisies add a bright and lively look to outdoor spaces, yet they are also used frequently in companion planting. Much like the poached egg flowers, daisies work to attract pollinators to the garden. They work particularly well in attracting wasps and hoverflies. Because many types of vegetable plants benefit from pollination, daisies can be used as companion plants in nearly all vegetable gardens.
Sunflowers are an extremely large and towering variety of flowers. Due to their height, they can produce a lot of shade in a garden. Shade may or may not be a good quality for a companion flower in a vegetable garden, depending upon the requirements of the vegetable. For vegetables like lettuce, green beans and kale, the shade provided by sunflowers is important to their growing process. Other vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplants, corn, and peppers may suffer if sunlight is blocked. Sunflowers, however, also attract butterflies and bees which are needed for pollination. Sunflowers can be incorporated in vegetable gardens with crops that require full sun for their pollination benefits, so long as they are placed in an area that will not block sunlight.
Petunias are beautiful, fragrant flowers that require very little maintenance. With their cheery bright purple appearance, they give a pop of color to even the dreariest looking gardens. They are often grown on their own in flower gardens or as part of a landscape design, though many gardeners use them as an organic means of pest control. Petunias are well known for their ability to repel unwelcomed garden dwellers. Generally, they are planted in vegetable gardens to rid the garden of cabbage and tomato worms, beetles, varieties of aphids and leafhoppers. They are most useful in vegetable gardens where beans, corn, peppers, broccoli or cabbage is grown. Not only will these flowers flourish in vegetable gardens, they will also ensure a healthy vegetable harvest with little effort on behalf of the gardener.
Written By Ava Rose.