Flowers aren’t just for looking pretty.

By Meghan Overdeep
May 11, 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has changed nearly every facet of American life, including the way we look at food.

Fears of scarcity have brought back not only the victory garden, but its indoor cousin, the victory sill. People who never considered growing their own fruits and veggies are now tending their first gardens—and realizing it’s not as simple as it looks. For example, did you know that it’s best to plant flowers amongst your veggies?

Companion planting, or putting bee-friendly flowers and vegetables in the same beds, is an easy strategy professional growers use to boost yields and keep crops healthy, notes Good Housekeeping.

Growing flowers in your vegetable bed attracts native bees and other beneficial insects. These helpful bugs help spread pollen around, which encourages your vegetable plants to grow, breed, and produce food.

Maggie Saska, plant production specialist at the Rodale Institute organic farm, shared a few tips for pulling off successful companion planting with Good Housekeeping.

First, you have to select flowers that will bloom at the same time as your veggie crops. Check your seed packets to make sure their timelines match up. You also want to be conscious of the kind of flowers you’re planting. Flowers with a composite shape, like zinnias, cosmos, daisies, sunflowers, and purple coneflower, are best for attracting pollinators.

You can also check out Xerces Society’s region-by-region guide to pollinator-friendly plants. It includes information on bloom time, height, and watering needs.

Happy planting, y’all!