The Q&A Archives: Does a vegetable garden need flowering annuals?

Question: This year I am making my 1st attempt of a veg garden. I have noticed many people will plant flowering annuals in the area of their garden - I presume to attact bees to pollinate blooms of veg plants. Could you give me some guidance on this. Are there particular suggested plants?

Answer: You don't need to plant flowers in or near your vegetable garden, but most people do. I always mix in flowers with my vegetables. Besides making the garden more attractive, they go a long way in attracting beneficial insects and bees. Just about any flower will do, as long as it doesn't grow so tall as to shade other plants. I like zinnias, calendula, and nasturtium in my beds, and I always plant a small patch of sunflowers. Plants like dill, caraway, and anise have flowers that attract many beneficial insects. Marigolds are reputed to repel certain insects, and make a nice border plant. Whatever you plant, be sure that you are very cautious with pesticide use on your crops. You don't want to attract all those beneficial insects and bees, only to kill them off with a pesticide spray.

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