15 February 2013, by gj
Having a variety of different colored flowers to attract pollinators and good predators to your crops can help increase your harvest.
Bees simply love sunflowers and are wonderful for transferring pollen from one flower to another.
Yarrow can attract parasitic wasps. Bonus: They can help reduce your tomato hornworm and cucumber beetle head count.
Lavender also attracts parasitic wasps and gets the attention of Damsel bugs. These delicate winged beauties feed on many eggs and larvae that otherwise would grow up to cause damage to your vegetables, the Colorado potato beetle for example. Damsels also like worms, in particular cabbage worms and cutworms.
Four o’clocks are a fun to grow flower just to discover what colors they will show. You may even find different colored flowers on the same plant, or watch to see the blooms change color. Four o’clocks and white geraniums have an interesting ability to attract and kill Japanese beetles; helping to keep your raspberry canes and grape vines happy and productive. Along with a number of other beautiful flowers such as fuchsia and impatiens, four o’clocks also attract hummingbirds to the garden. These wonders of nature like to feed on aphids, flying ants, mosquitoes, and the eggs of many insects. If your tomatoes and peppers are getting attacked, consider feeding the hummingbirds.
Marigolds, especially the heirloom varieties, keep rabbits and squash bugs away with their pungent aroma. Some of the newer hybrids don’t smell as bad, or work as well. If you are looking to keep deer away, whatever you do don’t plant hostas. They are like crack to deer.
Keep in mind that many of the pests that will damage a vegetable garden will also cause trouble in an ornamental bed.
Planting some edibles can help. For example, dill will attract ladybugs. These well recognized lovelies are considered to be one of the best for keeping out pests. Dill also feeds the caterpillars of swallow tail butterflies, perfect if you want to develop a wildlife garden. The caterpillars may very well destroy the dill in the process, but many consider it well worth it.
Edibles can also add interest to a formerly ornamental-only garden. The tall okra plant is often grown solely for its beautiful white flowers and interesting leaves. Scarlett Runner Beans have gorgeous lush greenery, beautiful red flowers that attract hummingbirds, and you can eat the beans.
They are grown both as an ornamental and as an edible. How wonderful is that?
Categories: how to grow