Mix Flowers and Vegetables in The Garden

I have been going to garden walks in Troy and other cities around Troy for at least 10 years, and every year, it amazes me how many garden are dedicated to only one thing. And I almost never see a garden with vegetables. Yellow arrow points to the watercress, and red arrow points to water mints

When I started my garden, I knew right away that it was going to be a mix of flowers and vegetables. The reason, I love both and I was not going to give up either one. I have to admit, that my front garden is more manicured and contains flowers only. However the backyard is a completely different story. In my backyard, you see beautiful roses mixed with garlic and behind them tall cages of heirloom tomatoes.

I started gardening 26 years ago, when we bought our first house in Plymouth, Michigan. The house had a good size backyard and a big empty space where an above the ground pool used to be. Instead of filling the empty space with grass, I started my first garden. I bought my first, but not last book in gardening called, 'Square Foot Gardening'. The book was the answer to my wishes, how to fit the most in a small place. And that is how I started combining flowers, vegetables and herbs in one suburban backyard.

Cabbage, Chives and Garlic and roses

I learned what I started instinctively, is what most master gardeners recommend, interplanting of flowers and herbs and vegetables. Vegetables need bees for pollination; flowers attract the bees to your garden. Garlic deters diseases from roses.

You need beneficial insects in your garden such as ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps and ground beetles. Planting Parsley, dill, coriander and flowers from the aster family attract these beneficial insects to your garden. The Companion Planting site provides a list of beneficial plants to prevent insect damage in your garden.
There is no comparison between fresh picked vegetables and store bought. Fresh picked vegetables, taste much better, last longer, and you know they’re organic (because you grew them)

Starting a vegetable garden is quite simple, pick a sunny spot, add manure (they sell them in bags and it does not smell), tilt the soil (you can use a shovel) and plant your vegetables. Check out How to start a Fruit and Vegetable Garden

So, get out there and mix your vegetables and herbs with your prize flowers.