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Foodscaping: Incorporating Vegetables into Your Garden

March 24, 2022
Written by Aaron

Who says your flower garden and your vegetable garden have to remain separate? Vegetable plants have plenty of aesthetic value, on top of providing us with delicious produce, and there are some unexpected benefits to incorporating them into your flower garden. It’s great for space-saving, too. If you only have room for one garden bed in your yard, plant a colourful variety of flowers and veggies to reap all the benefits of both!

 

Companion Planting and Foodscaping

Have you ever heard of companion planting? It’s pretty cool! The basic idea is that some plant pairings make good neighbours and provide each other with benefits that improve the growth and health of one or both plants. Many vegetables and herbs make good companion plants, but there are actually some flowers that make good companions for vegetables, too! For example, some flowers have pest repelling properties, so if you plant them near certain vegetables, you can keep away the hungry bugs, rabbits, or deer.

-eising arden centre growing tomatoes with marigold flowers

The Best Flower and Vegetable Companion Plant Combos

Plant these pairings next to each other in the garden to maximize the success of your plants! 

Marigolds and Tomatoes are a winning combination because marigolds release an aromatic compound called limonene. Limonene repels whiteflies, which can do a lot of damage to tomato plants!

Nasturtiums and Cucumbers make great neighbours because nasturtiums repel cucumber beetles! Plus, nasturtiums are actually edible flowers with a lovely peppery flavour. You can mix them into a salad with your cucumbers! 

Squash and Borage should be together because borage improves the flavour of the squash and repels hornworms.

Corn and Thunbergia grow nicely together because vining thunbergia needs a structure to climb. Tall corn stalks function as a living trellis, and the colourful thunbergia blooms make it look so much prettier!

Corn and Sunflowers are also a great pair because sunflowers increase the crop yield of corn.

Blueberries and Hydrangeas can live comfortably together because they both love acidic soil. Some Hydrangea macrophylla varieties will turn blue in acidic conditions, so if you want a cool-toned landscape, create landscape borders and shrubs with blueberry bushes and hydrangeas. 

Onions and Chamomile look lovely together, and the chamomile improves the flavour of the onions.

Calendula and Asparagus are a perfect match because asparagus beetles hate calendula! 

Some flowers are also great for attracting beneficial predatory insects that eat up pests that can harm your vegetables. Incorporating them into your vegetable garden will have great results! These flowers include:

  • Rudbeckia
  • Scabiosa
  • Monarda
  • Echinacea
  • Iberis
  • Cosmos 
  • Coreopsis
  • Chrysanthemums

eising garden centre - bee balm flower pollination

Attract More Pollinators with Native Flowers

Pollinators are essential for food production in our gardens, so you want to make your garden as attractive to them as possible. Local pollinators favour native flowers because they prefer the plants that they recognize! Check out our list of native plants of Ontario to add to your vegetable garden. 

 

Planning a Foodscape Layout

When you’re planting vegetables and flowers together, be mindful of the size and spread of your plants so that you don’t block sightlines. For example, you’ll want to keep tall plants like corn near the back of your garden, so they don’t block your shorter flowers.

-eising garden centre marigold flower border

Short vegetables like lettuce and cabbage make excellent border plants for the front of the garden, and if you create a line of pest-repelling flowers behind them, your garden will have an excellent defence! Lettuce is also a great filler plant for flowers because they germinate quickly, so there’s less available space for weeds to take root. 

Remember, you can grow vegetables and flowers together in containers and hanging baskets, too! Colourful hot peppers look gorgeous in a flower pot, and you can plant them with trailing petunias. The petunias will help repel aphids and other pests while creating beautiful trailing vines to hang down around your pepper plant. 

If you’d like to start foodscaping in Ontario, visit Eising to see all the amazing flowers and vegetables that are ready to plant! Our staff will be happy to recommend other winning plant combos that can live in harmony together in the flower bed.

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