There are some plants in your food garden that will need to be pollinated. Sometimes, you can do this by hand, but you may want to simply attract natural pollinators like bees to do the work for you.
Growing certain flowers in your yard will help with the pollination process, but you want to grow the right kind – and avoid those that might be counterproductive. You’ll need pollinators for foods like squash and cucumbers, in addition to any fruit you might be growing.
You want to encourage insects that will help the process, so that while they’re gathering the nectar and pollen from one plant, they’ll deliver it to another, helping your food garden to flourish.
Some flowers you can plant to ensure you attract pollinators are lavender, sunflowers, and geraniums. You’ll want to plant these flowers alone the outer edge of your garden, but also in and among the vegetable crops if you have room.
Some people alternate the rows so that one row is vegetables and the next is flowers and so on. You don’t want to grow a flower that’s going to tower over your vegetable crop and put it in too much shade if it needs ample sunlight.
Other flowers you can grow to help with pollination are Borage, Calendula, California poppy, Chamomile, Zinnia, Cilantro, Sweet peas, Sweet alyssum,
Nasturtium, Cosmos, and Marigold.
Some of these flowers are edible and have additional benefits other than just attracting plant pollinators. Some repel pests that can harm your vegetable plants both above and below the ground.
Remember that not all pollinators will be attracted to the same color, so it’s a good idea to swap it around and have pinks, yellows and other colors. You’ll soon find which pollinator likes which colors, such as bees going more to yellow, while butterflies land on more reds.
Use flowering plants such as butterfly weeds and bushes, honeysuckles, and Joe-Pye weeds to get more bees, butterflies and hummingbirds visiting your garden to help with pollination.
Make sure you avoid flowers that will repel the pollinators or turn things toxic for you. Don’t plant poisonous flowers near your vegetable garden. Oleander, for example, is a deadly flower that you don’t want anywhere near your food garden.
You can do some research to see which companion plants will help repel pests and attract more of the kinds of insects that you want to help you in your garden. Not all vegetables and plants should be grown side-by-side.