Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5 Flowers That Will Help Your Home Vegetable Garden

I recently wrote an article about the importance of beneficial insects for your home vegetable garden. Beneficial insects are vital for healthy, productive gardens. Not only do they help with the pollination process, but they also ward off harmful insects by making them their prey. The more beneficial insects you have in your home vegetable garden, the less likely you will need to use some kind of pesticide to rid yourself of the harmful ones.

Unfortunately just because you have a few aphids floating around does not necessarily mean that a swarm of ladybugs are headed your way. You have to attract beneficial insects to your home vegetable garden and then give them a reason to stay. Beyond a food source, even beneficial insects need a home.

You can give them that and more by adding some flowers to your home vegetable garden. Besides being simply nice to look at, flowers create an environment that is appealing to the beneficial insects you need to attract. Here aer five you should consider when adding flowers to your home vegetable garden.

Morning Glory
This plant is a great source for attracting a number of hovering flies and ladybugs. Stick with an annual, vining species, because as a perennial it could get overgrown. Morning glory is available at most home and garden centers for a few bucks.

Goldenrods are a genus of about 100 different species of flowers in the Asteraceae family. Stick with an annual species that would be considered native to your area. Remember if the plant is native to your area, it is more likely to attract beneficials.

Also in the Asteraceae family, Yarrow works well to attract ladybugs, hoverflies and parasitic wasps. Not only is it good for attracting beneficials, but Yarrow has been shown to help combat soil erosion since it is resistant to drought.

A genus comprised of anywhere from 100 to 200 species of flowering plants, they can be annual or perennial flowers and even, although rarely, small shrubs. They help with attracting parasitic wasps which are great for eliminating a lot of destructive worm species, i.e. tomato horn worm, corn earworm etc.

In the genus Tagetes, they are mostly annual but in some areas can be perennial. They do a great job in attracting butterflies and bees which aid in pollination as well as various hoverflies. An added bonus of marigolds is the secretion produced by roots has been shown to attack root eating nematodes.

Adding flowers to your home vegetable garden opens up a whole new world. These are just 5 of the hundreds you can choose from. Just remember to plant flowers that are native to your area, your local co-op can help you with this and plant annuals, especially if you rotate your vegetable crop.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, who operates the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook and the widely popular Seeds of the Month Club.

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