garcaj
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Vegetables and wildflowers - co-exist?

Good day, all~

Our garden was planted in what had previously been a wildflower garden. Although most vegetables have come up, but not all, many wildflowers have certainly returned, some with a vengeance. Mostly Mexican sunflowers, cosmos, daisies and some I do not recall.
Does anyone know, is this a bad thing? Will the presence of the wildflowers hinder the growth and production of my vegetables?
Many thanks and pleasant gardening.

A

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applestar
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The flowers will attract pollinating bees, wasps, butterflies, and hummingbirds and will help vegetables that fruit by pollination. :wink: They also attract beneficial predatorial insects that will prey on pest insects e.g. aphids and caterpillars. There is also some evidence that a polyculture of various plants confuse the pest insects and makes it harder for them to find their target plants by scent, shape, or color. Some flowering plants also have the ability to repel pests and others will attract them more, acting as trap crop that you can cut, bag, and toss. :clap:

garcaj
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Thank you for your response.
I believe I will let nature do it's thing and remove only those that are on top of the vegetables where they are blocking out all the light.
Happy gardening :)

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hendi_alex
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I know that sun flowers put out some kind of toxin that is not good for gardens, but I'm not sure that Mexican Sunflower is a true sun flower or not. Also am not sure that it emits such chemicals. Also the Mexican Sunflower is so large it could cause a problem from competition for water, nutrients, and of course sun light. In general, I think that mixing vegetables in the wildflower garden is a great idea, but perhaps some plants because of their size or heavy feeding might not be such great candidates for inclusion.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

wolfie
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i have a hard time believing that sunflowers are bad for veggie growing as those that have made the sunflower houses have had great luck mixing the veggies and flowers. i know there are some posts here about them, not sure where tho
Shan -
Who is learning to garden and loving every minute of it!

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applestar
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Alex is right of course. :oops: I really should have addressed that.
You do need to consider interplanting distances. Some wildeflowers have extensive root systems (that's how they survive drought conditions). You can often get optimum plant distances from seed catalogs/on-line sources. Basically, for Plants A and B, a good rule of thumb is In-row planting distances of (A+B)/2.

For example, tomatoes should be planted at least 24" apart and sunflowers should be planted 24" apart. Ideally, there should be 24" distance between the tomatoes and sunflowers. They both require height and width room -- in other words, they are not ideal companions. However, a short-growing marigolds could easily live under tomatoes at the edge of the 24" circle, and cosmos, although tall but being very open stemmed, could live close to the tomato foliage and the tomato leaves would help hold them up. Lettuce could live under taller wildflowers that prefers moist soil.

Give some thought to how the roots and foliage grow to minimize competition, and what the water requirements are, etc. to optimize care.

The flowers you mention tend to grow well in drier conditions, which means they have deep roots and are efficient water uptakers -- which will tend to dry out the surrounding soil. They probably won't do as well grown with veggies that need lots of water.
Last edited by applestar on Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Rambo 09
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.

I was about to say the same thing, wild flowers would attract bees thus helping polonation, but then agein, he is right to, some wild flowers can have tramendes root systems and they can be quiet large. :?
xX Garden 09 Xx
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rainbowgardener
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tithonia

Mexican sunflower is tithonia; it's not a true sunflower. It doesn't get as tall as sunflowers, but gets much bushier.

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hendi_alex
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My Fiesta Del sol, Mexican sun flower plants get six or seven feet tall and as you say with heavy branching. They are quite a dominant plant, though in my wild flower garden, other plants are crowded in most every spot as o attention in paid to spacing in this hand broadcast area. Some plants that are a little too close get a little stunted but that is o.k. and is certainly no major problem. So back to the topic, I can't see any harm in mixing veggies in with the wildflowers. There is no harm done is one or the other is a little smaller because of competition between the two. I wouldn't want one of my prime cucumber producing plants stuck right beside a large competitor, but for a scattered planting of bonus plants, that would be great and would make the wildflower area even more diverse.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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applestar
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Yep. There are some seriously gorgeous coloring going on in the vegetable world. I gave one example here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17250 :D

garcaj
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Gorgeous! So nice to see the world so brightly. :)
Thank you for your reply.

garcaj
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To hendi_alex, wolfie, applestar, rambo 09, rainbowgardener~
Thank you all for your thoughts/suggestions, adive.
I have found it enjoyable to see some of the wildflowers coming up that I thought were goners. Apparently, they were embedded deep in the ground and are having a comeback since the ground was turned over.
This is my first real garden and it is a definite learning process and I appreciate your responses.
Sunny (and rainy ones, too) days to all.
A

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