Herbs in Your Garden

by Tom Tomas

Your herbs will do more good for you if you distribute them throughout the garden rather than planting them all in one place. The flowers of many herbs provide nectar and pollen as well as alternate habitat for beneficial insects.

Beneficial insects may prey on aphids or parasitize cabbage worms, but they also must have the proteins from pollen to become sexually mature. Herb plants can provide this pollen. By spreading your herb plants around the garden, you can encourage beneficial insects to visit the vegetables and fruits that need their help.

Plant dill around your cabbage patch. Plant caraway under your fruit trees. Garlic chives fit well in any flower bed. Oregano, summer savory and hyssop are frequented by beneficial insects during their long blooming season. Low-growing thyme makes a beautiful and fragrant ground cover that can serve as a living mulch under fruit trees where there is some sun.

Mint and catnip will provide flowers and harbor aphids that feed lady bugs when they are in short supply on your lettuce. Remember, lady bugs need a food supply at all times if they are to be ready when you need them to control aphids on your crops.

Herbs provide needed biodiversity in your garden, even if you only harvest an occasional sprig for your salad or mint julep. So improve the sex lives of your beneficial insects while you enhance your culinary life. Plant herbs here and there all over your garden.

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