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Grow with KARE: Flowers for the veggie garden

A lot of us have vegetable gardens. But no veggie patch is complete without a few flowers, and not just because they're pretty. They have important jobs to do.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — A lot of us have vegetable gardens. But no veggie patch is complete without a few flowers, and not just because they're pretty. Today we’re shopping for flowers with important jobs to do. 

First up, cosmos. The good bugs love cosmos, especially lacewings. Choose the orange or white varieties to attract the most lacewings.  

Lacewings, along with ladybugs and hoverflies, also love calendula. Calendula repels tomato hornworm but it does attract aphids, so plant it near your tomatoes but away from veggies that aphids love, like peas.  

Sweet alyssum is also great at attracting hoverflies that pollinate and lay their eggs that will eventually hatch and feed on all the bad bugs.  

Borage is great for bringing in the bees. Plus it’s an edible treat to add to salads or drinks! 

Nasturtium is another edible flower. Plus they keep squash bugs at bay.  

Lavender will bring in a wonderful scent to your garden. We love it but bugs don’t. Lavender can help keep away mosquitos, ticks and those darn cabbage moths. 

Marigolds between your beans can help keep away bean beetles. French marigolds attract slugs so use them as a decoy plant to bring them away from veggies. And the jury is still out on this one, but French marigolds also may help repel or kill nematodes in the soil. 

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list and adding any flower you love to the garden will help bring in pollinators that visit your vegetable plants too. Happy gardening! 

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