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Functional Beauty: Flowers in the Vegetable Garden

Flowers: is there anything they can’t do?

Not only do these plant sex organs brighten our day with their happy little flower faces, they are also powerhouses in the garden. You may be thinking, “Flowers? But I want to grow food!” And I’d say, “You ARE little one, you are.” And then we’d hug.

Orange flowers
From my front bed in the fall

The right type of flowers in your garden can:

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  • Attract beneficial insects
  • Act as a trap crop for the shitty ones
  • Transform a utilitarian space into one that is also beautiful
  • Feed your happy little tummy!

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Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums from my garden

I make sure there’s space around my veggies for flowers. I throw wild flower seeds under my bean┬átrellises, I tuck nasturtiums between rows of lettuce, and I let morning glories grow wild around my garden fence. Some consider morning glories a noxious plant, but I love them. I also put marigolds everywhere I possibly can. This may have to do with the fact I have an assload of marigold seeds I’ve saved over the years, but they’re also a boon to butterflies that migrate through here in Autumn since they’re one of the few flowers that remain robust all the way through Fall.

I think nasturtiums are probably one of my favorite garden flowers. They’re absurdly easy go grow, they’re beautiful, and they’re fucking tasty. Want to make a salad extra fancy for free? Throw a handful of these bad boys on it. They’re a bit peppery, but not overpowering.

Seed pods from a morning glory
Morning glory seed pods

My favorite way to get seeds for garden flowers is to hit the store endcaps when they’re running their end-of-the-year sales. Oh, you mean all these leftover packets of marigolds are two for a nickel? I’LL TAKE THEM ALL PLEASE. Then I just tuck them around my garden and let them do the heavy lifting. Some even begin to reseed themselves, like the morning glories that come up around the perimeter of my garden. Though a bit of warning, morning glories will devour anything you let them:

Morning glories wrapped around a lamp post
Like my lamp post for example

When you’re making your garden lists and checking them twice, remember to save a spot or two in the corners of your garden for a few flowers.

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