When building and planting a vegetable garden, especially when space is a major factor, it can be tempting to use every available square inch for edible plants to increase food production.  It seems logical enough, and to some extent it is, space should not be wasted.  But is it a waste to plant ornamental flowers in your vegetable garden?  You might think so, but here are a few reasons why to reconsider.

  1. Pollinators

All fruiting plants require pollinators like bees to produce their fruit.  You might think that their flowers alone can do the job of attracting bees, but if this were the case then large scale commercial farmers would have no reason to pay good money to have bees brought in for pollination.

  1. Predators

Some of the animals that are drawn to the nectar of flowers also eat garden pests.  For instance humming birds that can be attracted by the nectar of flowers like zinnias will feed on white flies once they are in your garden.

  1. Confusion

Having an array of colors and smells will reduce the likelihood of potential pests being drawn to your garden by the plants they would target.  The more your garden smells like a flower garden, the less pests will like it and the more pleasurable it will be to spend time in it.

  1. Chemical Protection

Flowers like marigolds actually produce nematocidal compounds that can protect vulnerable crops such as beets, kale, or cabbage.

  1. Income

It’s always nice if you can bring in some money from your homestead.  Ornamental flowers can be sold to flower shops or at farmer’s markets.

 

Space will always be a concern in the garden for most of us.  But ultimately production levels are what really matters, and sometimes making a little room for flowers will increase the level of food production while making the garden more attractive.

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