I’m behind on my planting but there are plenty of spring blossoms on display in the vegetable garden these days. In addition to adding color and interest to the landscape flowers draw in a large range of beneficial insects to help with the tasks of pollination and pest control.
The tiny Alyssums are barely noticeable to the casual gaze but stand out as bright beacons to insects in search of food and nectar. It always seems that some of the smallest blooms are the most attractive ones to beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps and native bees.
For the edible gardener the sight of flowers blooming is an indicator of the fruits that will soon follow. Like those strawberry blossoms that have now turned into big, sweet, juicy berries, or the blueberries that are just now beginning to ripen!
Here’s a look at some of the blooms that are currently on display in the vegetable garden:
Comfrey – One of my favorite companion plants in the veggie garden, comfrey makes a good border plant, hosts beneficials, and can be cut multiple times during the summer to produce rich organic matter for the compost pile.
Horseradish – A reluctant bloomer, horseradish flowers are easy to overlook. Actually everything about the plant is rather reserved… unlike the roots when you blend them with vinegar to make a searingly hot sauce.
Sage – Culinary sages aren’t the biggest bloomers but this Berggarten variety over wintered in the herb bed and is just beginning to put on a display of tiny flowers offset against the large, soft, and textured leaves.
Artichoke – From some of the smallest flowers in the garden to one of the largest; I often leave artichoke buds on the plant and allow them to open into large blooms rather than harvest them for food.
That’s just a glimpse of the unusual flowers that are on display in the vegetable garden this spring. Most of them are not popular with gardeners but are big hits among the beneficial insects that patrol the landscapes.
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