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Flowers for your vegetable garden

Why I think Calendula and Nasturtiums are Garden Superheroes

Red nasturtium flowers and orange calendula flowers in a walled garden
Such bright sunny colours

I have been growing these flowers amongst my vegetables for the last few years and they have become good friends of mine. Here’s why…

1. Hardy and easy to grow

2. Seeds are easy to collect and sow the following year

A hand and some seeds
The seeds are so easy to collect

3. Abundant splashes of bright sunny colours to the garden – even flowering on into the winter

Calendula flowering in December

4. Sow themselves – good for busy gardeners! If you don’t want them in a certain spot, they’re easy to pull out.

They sow themselves! But easy to pull out

5. Lots of foliage which protects the soil and prevents weeds from growing in the bare patches – a living mulch.

6. Bright colours and nectar attract all sorts of insects:

a. pests like aphids and cabbage white caterpillars are attracted to them, rather than to your cabbages or beans (they’re so cheap and easy to grow, you’ll be happy to sacrifice a few to distract the pests)

b. predators that will eat the pests, such as ladybirds and hoverflies

c. pollinators, like bees and butterflies, to pollinate your food plants

Caterpillars of 'Cabbage White' butterflies eating the nasturtium leaves. For me this is good news as the flowers are plentiful and the caterpillars are distracted from my brassica veg.

7. Beautiful flowers and leaves look gorgeous in the garden

8. Cut them and bring inside to decorate your house

9. Edible flowers and leaves – the flowers have a peppery flavour and look fabulous on salads.

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