Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Companion Plants - Vegetable Garden

The companion plants for the vegetable garden will aid the gardener in reducing plant damage from insects, and help reduce the need for chemical remedies.
Companion plants draw insects to the garden for several important tasks. One task is pollination. For plants to produce fruit or seeds, these plants need to be pollinated. 

The second task is survival.  The plant world has survived due to, in part, the relationship plants have made with others. Nature has a way to providing protections from insects and diseases just by having the right companion plants in the neighborhood. Some companion plants lure pests away from their target plant while, yet, others can repel insects in the vicinity all together.

Today, we are going to focus on Insectary plants – those plants that lure insects to the garden.  Insects that can prey on problem insects are called beneficial insects. Let’s focus on the plants that draw in the ‘good guys’.  Later, we will indicate the damage that the ‘pests’ can do to crops and plants.

cilantro with bee
Bee on cilantro
Dill blooms
Carrots, Queen Anne’s Lace, Dill and Cilantro plants are in a plant family called Umbellifers.  These plants will bring a host of beneficial insects to the garden.

chamomile with insects
Chamomile will bring many beneficial insects to the garden like hover-flies and wasps.
Alyssum, is a pretty little plants with tons of blooms and fragrance.  This plant will self-seed and adds a dainty ground cover around the garden. images (3)

Monarda, or Bee Balm, is a taller Insectary plant that blooms in the mid-season.  Many different bees, wasps, and hummingbirds adore this plant. monarda with bee

Cornflower, or perennial bachelor’s button, can be a great companion plant for inviting beneficial insects.  And any member of the Aster family, like yarrow, tansy, cosmos and coreopsis will certainly draw the insects to the garden. The pollen and nectar of these plants entices the beneficial insects to the garden.
Plants starting at top left: Buckwheat, Calendula, Yarrow, Poppy, Marigolds, Cornflower, Goldenrod, Tansy.

Chives and catnip are garden favorites.  Mint and oregano act as Insectary plants in addition to enhancing the herb garden.
Chives in flower.
tachinid fly on catnip
Tachinid fly on catnip.
mint with metalic flies
Mint with metallic flies.
bee on oregano
Bee on Oregano

Borage , annual Herb
sunflowers by MantisOwners
Sunflowers in Garden
comfrey blooms in May
Comfrey in Bloom in May
Nasturtiums  in Cabbage Bed
Planning a vegetable garden with beneficial companion plants is going to 1) help remedy some insect damage of crops, and 2) can dress up the garden with color. By inter-planting these vegetables with Insectary plants the garden will not only look great, but the crops will thrive.

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