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Flowers for Veggie Garden (companion planting)

 
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
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I have been looking into companion planting flowers with my veggies in my garden, some attract good bugs, some repel bad bugs, some maker organic pesticides. I hope this helps and if you have any that work please add to this list so others may benefit from this post...

Thanks and here is my list...

Beneficial Insect attractors, Dill, Queen Anne's Lace, Parsely, French Marigold, Penny Royal, Buckwheet, Sweet Alyssum, Columbine, Cilantro, Mint and Goldenrod. (my mix/ easier to grow and useful selling with veggies)(French Marigold, dill, columbine, cilantro, parsley and mint, BUT NOTE*** MINT can be invasive, plant in pots NOT in ground!!!***)

Repellents, hot pepper spray, garlic spray, garlic plant itself, onion plants... to make the spray, I personally take some hot peppers (1 cup) chopped up fine and steeped in 1 gallon of water, I also do (1 cup) of garlic in the same gallon as hot peppers as mixing them work better than having separate sprays. Also add a drop of dish soap (organic/green best, but make sure no fragrance). French marigolds are also know to repel some moths ( i put some near my cabage, greens as they repel the moths that lay eggs on the leaves and eat my cabbage and greens) I plant them about every 5-7 feet in the row. I also do the same with garlic and onions in my tomatoes and pepper plants as the bugs that like one hat the other so they repel the bad bugs from both the onion/garlic family AND the pepper/tomato plants.

Organic pesticides, ****NOTE**** just because a poison is organic does NOT mean its safe for humans or pets !!! Treat all pesticides with care and any tools/ equipment used in making this is NEVER to be used in food production!!! That being said, I make my own Pyrethrin. I grow (tanacetum cinerarifolium) aka painted daisies. I then cut the flowers in full bllom, hang them upside down in cool dark dry area till they are dry. Then grind them up (1 qt) in a blender (only used for this!!! read above^^^) ( i got a blender at garage sale for $2. Steep the 1 qt of flowers in 1 gallon of water w/ 2 drops of dish soap for 3-4 days. Make sure to label this as "UNDILUTED POISON" then dilute this 1 qt of poison to 3 qts of water, this kills true bugs, caterpillars, beetles, aphids, mite, white flies, thrips & leaf hoppers.
 
Posts: 67
Location: Ontario
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I'm surprised nasturtiums are not on your list.
 
C Rogers
Posts: 97
Location: South Mississippi
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James Sullivan wrote:I'm surprised nasturtiums are not on your list.


Thats why I said others to chime in, I've never heard of "Nasturtium" till now, and WOW I do like what I read about them.... here is some of what they do....

Cucurbit Family
Nasturtiums planted with cucumbers help improve the vegetables' flavor and growth, as well as deterring aphids, whiteflies and cucumber beetles.
Melons, Squash. Other members of the cucurbit family also are helped by nasturtium. Squash, melons, gourds and pumpkins should be interplanted with nasturtiums to deter squash beetles and borers.

Other Vegetables
Plant nasturtium around tomatoes, celery, carrots, radishes, potatoes and beans to deter whiteflies, aphids, carrot fly, Colorado potato beetle and the Mexican bean beetle.

Cabbage Family
Broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts grow better with nasturtiums planted nearby. The flowers keep away Japanese beetles, aphids, cabbage looper and the imported cabbage worm.

Apple Trees
Plant nasturtium under apple trees to repel the codling moth.

THANKS James for that one :)
 
gardener
Posts: 533
Location: N. California
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I love to plant flowers in my veggie garden.  Only eatable flowers go in my veggie garden, then everyone knows you can eat everything in there.  I grow most of what is on your list and Cosmos, they attract many helpful insects like green Lacewing.  They are voracious eaters of soft-bodied insects like aphids, scale, and thrips.  Borage, attracts bees. (this can be a pain because it will self seed everywhere)  Lavender repel several common veggie pests, also cut down on the number of ticks in the area, and moths and mice avoid the sent.  Zinnia attracts bees.  Chamomile attracts beneficial insects.
 
pollinator
Posts: 360
Location: Southern Germany
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I am a bit confused: I looked up the German names for marigold, and it seems to be used for both tagetes and calendula. I thought it means tagetes, but now I am doubting.
Is there a different name for calendula?
Both are popular as companion planting here. Calendula is easier as the tagetes is a favourite of the slugs.

I also have lots of self-seeding borage.

And as I am not good at weeding "pretty" plants, I also had lots of spontaneous linaria maroccana in all colours that attracts lots of pollinators. It was in a seed mix I planted in a different patch and then the next year they came up in different places.
The picture shows one plant near my peas.
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linaria moraccana
 
gardener & author
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Anita Martini wrote:I am a bit confused: I looked up the German names for marigold, and it seems to be used for both tagetes and calendula. I thought it means tagetes, but now I am doubting.
Is there a different name for calendula?
Both are popular as companion planting here. Calendula is easier as the tagetes is a favourite of the slugs.



Yes, it's confusing! Americans say "marigold" only for Tagetes, whereas British people say "marigold" for Calendula (or both? I'm not sure). There is a term "pot marigold" for calendula that is supposed to help differentiate them, but I've never met a person who says "pot marigold." In US "calendula" is a common name, not a weirdly scientific name. I don't know what British people call Tagetes since they call Calendula "marigold."

Supposedly, the idea that "marigolds" repel pests in a major way is a bit of a myth, and apparently Tagetes only repel soil nematodes while their roots are still in the soil, or something like that, and anyway, I don't know if all of us really have a problem with nematodes.

Both calendula and tagetes grow, bloom, and self-seed like crazy where I live.
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
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Location: Southern Germany
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Thanks Rebecca for the clarification! Once you think you know something you realize it could also be something different because of different groups of English speakers...

That's why I think it is so useful to also know the botanical names. They are quite common among plant-lovers here, but e.g. my MIL in law in Argentina never heard of most of the botanical names and it is difficult to come up with a translation that is really unambiguous in a particular region.

Anyway, I love tagetes that comes up spontaneously due to the mentioned problems with slugs. I also use the tenuifolia variety in cooking (tender sprigs) and it attracts so many hoverflies and they are simply cheerful and pretty!
 
C Rogers
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Rebecca Norman wrote:
Supposedly, the idea that "marigolds" repel pests in a major way is a bit of a myth, and apparently Tagetes only repel soil nematodes while their roots are still in the soil, or something like that, and anyway, I don't know if all of us really have a problem with nematodes.

Both calendula and tagetes grow, bloom, and self-seed like crazy where I live.



You are correct that they don't repel bad bugs in a major way, I was told that the flower sent confuses some insects or covers up the sent of things they like to munch (eat) on, and that makes them fly to a different area. But what helps the most is the attraction of the good bugs like hover flies, lady bugs (lady beetles) etc. As these either eat the bad ones or their offspring eat them. Some good bugs even lay their eggs on caterpillars so keep an eye for that as if you are handpicking the caterpillars and destroying them you may want to leave the ones that have weird barrel shaped objects all on its back as these are the eggs of things like parasitic wasps and will soon hatch and eat the caterpillar and then kill other bad bugs as well so try not to kill those so the good bug population can increase and help you fight the bad bugs.
 
Posts: 68
Location: Unincorporated East Bay Area, CA
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For attracting pollinators and hummingbirds here in California, they go absolutely nuts over our "Hot Lips" salvia, and I cannot kill it either (big bonus for me). I have experimented with many different types of salvia around the garden, and much seems to die off for me, or require maintenance, but not the Hot Lips.
 
pollinator
Posts: 116
Location: Western MA, zone 6b
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These are sold as "french marigolds" here,   Tagetes patula  I think.
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Heather Staas
pollinator
Posts: 116
Location: Western MA, zone 6b
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RE: mint.    Nepeta/catmints can be really polite garden mints.   Mounding habit, gorgeous bee-attracting flowers,   lovely fragrance..  and you can make tea with them too!   I have quite a collection in my gardens and under fruit trees, blueberries,  just love them.   I chop and drop them when they need trimming too,  aromatic mulch that hopefully repels and confuses pests!
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pollinator
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To clear up, in England we have pot marigolds Calendula officinalis and French marigolds Tagetes patula either may be just called marigold :p
 
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
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I typically grow a lot of flowers in my food gardens. Some have a purpose, while others are just there for beauty (or because I needed to stick them somewhere).
French marigolds tend to be all over the place since they're so easy to grow from seed & cuttings. I pull the seed pods off all spring/summer and just scatter them around; and if the marigolds start getting too big & crowding the bed, I clip off the top half of the foliage and stick the stems down in the mulch/soil. They usually wilt for a day then throw out roots and start growing.
Lantana is a perennial (here) that the pollinators love. Hardy hibiscus makes huge flowers and provides biomass.
Castor bean plants are gorgeous annuals (and toxic to consume), but they grow fast & tall and serve as a support for climbers, and may fix nitrogen since they're legumes (not positive on that).
Lots of sedums are cold hardy, flowering ground covers, and have a creeping habit that fills in space where undesirable plants could've sprouted. They also don't use much water, so act as a living mulch that's pretty, and doesn't take moisture from the food producers. Plus,if you just break a piece off & toss it on the surface of the bed, it'll send out roots and start growing. I like using the sedums in the perennial gardens & purslane in the annual beds.
Personally, I like having flowers mixed in, even if their only purpose is to look pretty. My gardens are my own little haven, so I figure if it brings me happiness & makes me enjoy working in them, that's a good enough purpose for having them in there. 🙂
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
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C Rogers wrote:
You are correct that they don't repel bad bugs in a major way, I was told that the flower sent confuses some insects or covers up the sent of things they like to munch (eat) on, and that makes them fly to a different area. But what helps the most is the attraction of the good bugs like hover flies, lady bugs (lady beetles) etc. As these either eat the bad ones or their offspring eat them. Some good bugs even lay their eggs on caterpillars so keep an eye for that as if you are handpicking the caterpillars and destroying them you may want to leave the ones that have weird barrel shaped objects all on its back as these are the eggs of things like parasitic wasps and will soon hatch and eat the caterpillar and then kill other bad bugs as well so try not to kill those so the good bug population can increase and help you fight the bad bugs.



I have been reading a German book on bees from a well-known specialist. And the author talks about tests where cabbages were interplanted with flowers that attract pollinators.
It was found that the caterpillars feeding on the cabbage family tried to evade the danger of being chosen by parasitic wasps by letting themselves fall to the ground whenever a flying object the size of these wasps was approaching. As they could not differentiate between the different flying insects, the mixed planting resulted in more disturbances of the caterpillars and thus less damage on the cabbage plants.
Thought that might be an interesting fact.
 
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 5, Ontario, CA
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When it comes to planting borage as a companion to different veggies, will any from the borage family do, or is there a particular reason Borago officinalis is the go-to choice? I have some Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) and Purple Tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) on hand and was planning to try planting some of those near my tomatoes, squash, strawberries and/or kale.
 
Jen Fulkerson
gardener
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Location: N. California
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Hi Hayley My feelings are it's your garden and you can do anything you want in it.  I planted borage because I read it was a good pollinator and eatable.  I like to plant eatable flowers in my veggie garden.  From what I have read the purple tansy sounds wonderful.  It is said to attract bees and other good bugs.  I couldn't find anything that said it was eatable, but it is nontoxic.  The Chinese forget-me-not on the other hand is a little more questionable.  The consensus is it is mildly toxic. I did read its used in Chinese medicine, so I'm thinking mild is the word.  Like I said I grow only eatables in my veggie garden.  My kids are all adults(3 out of 4 still live at home)  and I always get a kick out of one of them trying a bite of flower just to see what it tastes like.  They both sound like beneficial flowers, and I'm glad you mentioned them, I will be planting them both in my flower garden, which is pretty close to the veggie garden, so they will still be beneficial, and I will enjoy something new.  Thank you.
 
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