Multicoloured flowers in a vegetable garden: it is primarily a real pleasure for the eyes. But the flowers are also beneficial for the vegetable garden. If some emit a scent that insects cannot stand, others attract other useful insects. These either ensure the pollination of certain plant varieties or feed on insect pests. But we can also grow edible flowers.

From borage to nasturtium, and including petunia and marigold, all the flowers planted in the vegetable garden have their usefulness. The key is to know their properties and to plant them in the right place.

Flowers in the vegetable garden to protect plantations

There are many flowering plants that have the ability to drive insects and pests away from vegetables and fruit trees. Among these, let us cite french marigold which repels aphids, enemies of most garden plants, and roundworms (nematodes) that feed on the roots of the tomato. As for Petunia, flax and datura, they grow very well close to potatoes. These flowers repel the Colorado potato beetles that attack them. Other than that, aromatic plants such as thyme and rosemary keep the cabbage butterfly at bay.

You can also plant borage near tomatoes. Not only it will fight off five-spotted hawkmoths, but it will also serve as a stake for the tomato plant. Borage is a melliferous plant. It attracts pollinating insects that are essential to certain vegetables, such as zucchini, peppers or tomatoes. Pot marigold, another melliferous plant, is also very effective against pests such as tomato worms, white flies and beetles. Special mention to mugwort and elderberry, which have the ability to drive most insects away from vegetable gardens.

Edible flowers in the vegetable garden

Most edible flowers cannot bear being cooked, but instead supplement certain dishes or are eaten in salads. The taste of seafood and fish can, for example, be enhanced by borage. Lettuce goes well with nasturtiums. Primroses make vegetables even more delicious. Other exotic flowers, such as lotus, banana flowers and hibiscus, are delicious when eaten in salads. Furthermore, the oregano flower gives pizzas a pleasant flavour, much like chives in salads.

The rose is consumed as syrup and is included in several confectioneries’ ingredient list. Elderberry and acacia are used for making donuts. Poppy, just like sweet violet, is used to decorate cakes while the orange flower gives sweet buns flavour. And even the most unknown flowers, such as chamomile and dandelion, can be turned into delicious jam. Certain flowers add colour to some usual dishes: rice takes on a purple hue with amaranth flowers, pot marigold petals give soups a yellow-orange colour, and sauces become more savoury with French marigold…

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  4. Properly watering a vegetable garden

Published in Garden maintenance by Alexander on 07 Jul 2011