Beneficial flowers down at the allotment

I am trying to learn more about the beneficial effects of planting flowers amongst my vegetables down at the allotment, both to attract beneficial insects, and deter pests. The flowers look pretty too.

With a total of 16 square metres over two allotments space is at a premium but I’ve started to introduce a few flowers to attract good bugs, and repel bad.

Here’s a few flowers growing in my ‘lottie’.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

The extra benefit of growing nasturtium is that you can eat the leaves and the flowers. The leaves have a peppery taste and the flowers add a bit of the exotic to a salad.

IMG_2631

Alyssum

I like to see alyssum growing in a border. My alyssum plants were bought from Bunnings nursery but I also planted a row of seeds to give me a little border. That was some weeks ago and the seeds have refused to germinate so far. Looks like Bunnings are going to make a few more dollars out of me as I buy another punnet.

Marigolds help deter root-eating nematodes in the soil, and add a nice bit of colour.

Marigolds

Marigolds

The community garden at the farm is scattered with flowers.  Here is a view taken recently across the community garden.

Flowers in the community garden

Flowers in the community garden

Liz, the co-ordinator in the community garden planted a whole bed of sunflowers. It’s great watching the bees going berserk on the flower heads, and the birds have a field day too on the seeds of the flower.

Sunflowers with bee ( in the top corner of the left flower)

Sunflowers

Cosmos flowers pop up, self seeded, all over the place.

Cosmos

Cosmos

I took this photograph of a flower border on the edge of the farm, near to the allotments and the community garden. We all feel the benefit of these flowers both in the pollination of our vegetables, and just for the pleasure of looking at them.

A flower border at the farm

A flower border at the farm

Happy gardening.

Pests and diseases

Linda Brennan gave a great workshop at the farm this morning about organic gardening. We spent an hour walking round while Linda honed in on the pests and diseases that were attacking our vegetables. She then told us how we could deal with them organically.

She also covered ways to improve the fertility and health of our soil.  Linda packed so much information in just one and a half hours.  Next Monday she will be back with another workshop “Fruit in Pots”.

We waste no opportunity over at the farm to put the kettle on, and today was no exception as we sat around  after the workshop drinking tea and chatting. Nobody was in a hurry to move off.

Then, in a wild burst of enthusiasm after the workshop, I went over to my allotment and spent a fascinating (my tongue is in my cheek) time pinching off caterpillars and 28-spotted ladybirds.

I think ladybirds are the cutest thing and it’s a revelation to me that there is actually a ladybird that causes so much damage to my leaf vegetables. They were having a wild old time on one of my potato plants sucking and chewing and munching and whatever else they do on their path of destruction!

I like to end on a happy note so I took the camera out and captured this sunflower growing in Lindell and Andy’s allotment next to mine. The birds are going to love those seeds when the sunflower matures.

Happy gardening.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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