Recently, I had a conversation with my friends Bill and Flavia. They asked me how my vegetable garden was doing and that led to some concern on their part that their vine crops (pumpkins and zucchini specifically) were not producing any fruit. My first question to them was, “Are you growing any flowers nearby to attract pollinators?” The answer was “No”.
These are two smart people. I was a little surprised that they didn’t know that you need to be pro-active in attracting bees and butterflies to your garden. No pollinators, no squash, no zucchini, no pumpkins, etc. Every year, I start seeds of cosmos and zinnia to attract bees and butterflies. In addition, we have a border of lavender just outside the entrance to the vegetable garden. Honey bees love lavender and so do bumble bees and mason bees.
We also have lots of flowers planted around the property within proximity to the vegetable garden. We have daisies, calendula, nasturtiums, tassel flower, cone flower, milk weed, and a population of flowers in my wife’s perennial gardens that I can’t even begin to list. I don’t know what those flowers are, but they attract pollinators as well.
As a start, I would recommend planting cosmos near your vine crops. Zinnias also do a good job of attracting bees and butterflies. This is very important to gardening success and also adds some much needed color to the vegetable garden. The French take great pride in their vegetable gardens and give flowers, especially varieties that attract pollinators, plenty of space among the vegetables.
Bill, Flavia and anyone else reading this post; I hope that you can find some room for flowers in your vegetable garden. You will be rewarded.
All the best,
Greg Garnache firstname.lastname@example.org