Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zinnias Gone Wild!

As I've said before, this is my very first year having a vegetable garden.  Like any good gardener-to-be, I did a little research before planting.  I knew I wanted to try and not use pesticides, so I looked into tips on "organic gardening."  Turns out there are good bugs (lady bugs, wasps, bees and certain types of beetles) and bad bugs (aphids, beetles, flies etc). when it comes to vegetable gardens.  The idea is to attract the good bugs so they will then deter/eat the bad bugs.  One way to do this is to plant flowers that attract the good bugs.  The most popular flowers people tend to use are Marigolds and Zinnias.  Their brightly colored blooms help attract bees that pollinate the other plants and lady bugs that eat aphids and flies.  I planted a little of both in my vegetable garden and they seemed to really help.  Of course there will always be insects but I think the Marigolds and Zinnias really helped cut down on any possible insect infestations!
As you can see my Zinnias have gone wild!  I had no idea they would grow as tall as they did....and if you cut them after their blooms start fading they spread like mad!  Most Zinnias are listed as growing anywhere from 12-30 inches.  As you can see some of my tallest have grown to over 40 inches!  Probably has to do with the Miracle-Gro garden soil...
Pinching off the stems really helps them spread!
So if you are thinking about having a vegetable garden next year, or have been having problems with insects in your current vegetable garden, consider adding some Zinnias and or Marigolds.  Burpee has a great information page on Zinnias.  Check it out: All About Zinnias

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