If you want a beautiful and productive kitchen garden, flowers are essential to your planting plan. The right flowers in your garden can increase your veggie harvests, discourage weeds and pests, and help the ecosystem.
Let's look at five reasons to tuck some of your favorite posies into your raised beds.
REASON #1: Flowers are beautiful
We love planting flowers in the corners and along the edges of raised beds for bright pops of color between all those leaves and vines.
Not only do flowers improve the aesthetic appeal of every space, they can also help to lift your mood and bring joy to your gardening tasks.
When you're out in the garden cutting some leaves for your salad or picking some cherry tomatoes for salsa, you can snip some blooms too and bring them indoors, increasing the pleasures a more garden-to-table lifestyle can bring.
REASON #2: Flowers add plant diversity
Did you know that your backyard is actually a microhabitat? Just like with larger ecosystems, the more diverse your little microhabitat is, the better. Your garden will be more resilient, more capable of recovering from insect infestations, bad weather, and disease.
Having a variety of flowers in your garden encourages more beneficial wildlife into your yard, which can help you deter pests. It'll also deter weeds. Weeds love the monoculture found in a backyard covered in turf and a couple choice landscaping plants. Greater plant diversity makes it harder for those weeds to become established. That means you can avoid having to reach for those insecticides and herbicides.
Diverse ecosystems are also more productive. Who says productivity can't be cute too?
REASON #3: Flowers attract pollinators
Thoughtful planting of flowers can attract hummingbirds, bees, ladybugs, and butterflies—those creatures we like to think of as the garden "good guys".
Have you ever grown a tomato or cucumber plant that gave you lots of lush foliage and even some pretty flowers but little fruit? The reason was most likely a lack of pollination. A flower can only turn into fruit once it's been pollinated. When bees and other insects are invited into your kitchen garden to help with pollination, your yield will significantly increase.
In addition to helping plants produce a higher yield, ladybugs and other beneficial insects also feed on garden pests.
Flowers come in many shapes and colors, and each appeals to a wide range of helpful pollinators. The longer these pollinators linger in your garden visiting your flowers and drinking necter, the better your garden will be for it.
REASON #4: Flowers provide a trap crop for pests
Those beautiful petals can actually act as decoys that lure aphids, slugs, and caterpillars away from your prized salad greens. Nasturtiums, for instance, will attract aphids that would otherwise go to town on your edible leaves, and sunflowers have been shown to act as excellent decoys for stink bugs here in Texas.
Once the pests are gathered around your trap crop, you can easily dispose of them without having to use harmful pesticides that reduce your pollinator population.
While it's important to lure pests away from plants you don't want them to devour, you can also plant flowers that will deter pests entirely. Gardeners have long insisted on planting marigolds next to tomatoes to repel whiteflies and other small pests who make their home on the underside of leaves. At Lettuce Grow Something, we’re all for easy and organic pest control.
REASON #5: Flowers fill empty space in the garden
Flowering plants add ground cover to your garden’s borders. Bare, exposed soil invites weeds and dries out quickly, so planting flowers that grow densely can help shade soil and prevent weeds from getting any sunlight.
Boost the health of your garden soil, plus save yourself extra hours of weeding and watering, by planting flower varieties.
FLOWERS TO ADD TO YOUR RAISED BEDS
We recommend a mix of flowers that bloom at different times of the year to give seasonal color and attract those beautiful pollinators.
Our Favorite Flowers for Central Texas:
alyssum (great for ground cover)
basil (yummy to eat and the bees love the flowers)
petunias (great for attracting hummingbirds)
purple cone flowers
These flowers all do well in Central Texas and attract plenty of pollinators.
If you’re looking for more information on how to make your green space a beautiful, thriving home to pollinators and plants alike, book your consultation with us today. We find joy in helping our community of kitchen gardeners grow.