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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Interplanting Veggies with Flowers

Quite Adept (Flickr / Creative Commons)

This time of year we're still trying to squeeze extra plants into our veggie garden. But instead of just planting more veggies, we like to take this opportunity to plant flowers and herbs that attract beneficial insects, are beautiful and some that can be eaten, too. It provides a pop of color in the veggie garden in summer while helping control harmful insects.

As in a pollinator garden, we try to plant a variety of flower shapes in the veggie garden to attract a variety of beneficials. We plant tall, flat topped flowers such as cilantro, dill and fennel. These flowers attract parasitic insects to the garden and provide food for us. Often we don't even have to plant them. For years we've had self-sown herbs, including borage, popping up in the garden that we either leave or transplant to certain areas.

We also plant daisy-shaped flowers. These include perennials, such as echinacea and rudbeckia, but also annual, self sowers such as calendula. For tube-shaped flowers we love salvias. Popping a few of these annuals or perennials in the garden is sure to draw a crowd.

Finally, nasturtiums are a favorite flower. Not only do they thwart squash bugs when planted around zucchini and winter squash, the bright flowers are cheery additions to the garden. Plus, I love the peppery flavor of the flowers and leaves. To confuse squash bugs, plant the trailing varieties around and in your squash patch and they'll lay fewer eggs.

So, tuck seeds or transplants of favorite herbs and flowers among your veggies and watch how it transforms your garden over time.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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