In the quest of a perfect organic garden, most people strive to attract beneficial insects to their garden to eat the pesky bugs. (Read more about the benefits of beneficial insects here) You can go and buy praying mantises and ladybugs and release them into your yard, but another way is to invite them in. We do this by planting flowers at the ends and corners of our vegetable garden spaces. In front of our vegetable garden I keep about a 40 foot border of perennial flowers to attract beneficials, but then in our vegetable garden we add in more spots of flowers. This year we are doing both marigolds and sunflowers.
Most any flowers will help, but if you are headed to the nursery to find a few new 6-packs, look for big fat flowers. Think of them as little landing pads for flying bugs to land on. Marigolds, cosmos, bee balms, sunflowers, zinnas anything with a nice big flower head would make a great addition.
Birds are also great at eating the bad bugs, so invite them in with a new bird feeder, bird house or bird bath. And if you set out big tomato cages like we do, you have cat safe bird perches (and, uh, instant bird manure for your tomatoes too).
Do you make a habit of adding flowers to your veggie garden? If so, what kind?