The Q&A Archives: Flowers For Compost

Question: I have inherited an enormous organic garden at our new house. It lay fallow last season. I am planning a garden this season, but it is too large for me to use the whole space for vegetables. I planned on rotating flowers, corn, compost and various vegetables, and have been researching this, but need to know what flowers would work in rotation in a vegetable garden? What would be easy to care for in a large plot?

Answer: Your plan to rotate crops is a good one. In doing so you'll allow the soil to recover, and you'll confuse the insects. Plan to use only annual flowers (no point in digging up perennials every year!) or use one of the attractive green manure cover crops instead of annual flowers. I like the lavender flowers of crown vetch, but stands of the white flowering buckwheat are beautiful in early summer, too. You can dig the plant residue in at the end of the season to help enrich your soil. The only caution I can offer is to resist the temptation to sow wildflowers. If you broadcast wildflower seeds over the plot you'll be digging weeds for ever and ever!

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