Horn Farms big on veggies– and flowers

Drive past Horn Farm Center and non-gardeners and Green Thumbers alike won’t be surprised.

This summer’s heavy rains have allowed everything green to become even greener and taller. The veggies and flowers in the Hellam Township gardens are thriving, including more tomatoes than any one family can use. While most folks barrelling through on U.S. route 30 see the plots as veggie gardens, there are plenty of flowers– for good reason.

swallowtailUnfortunately, the rains have let the weeds thrive as well, and it didn’t take much for some garden weeds to grow out of control.  To some rookie gardeners, the veggie garden seems like a great idea in April and May. After all, zucchini, squash, tomatoes make an excellent summer frying pan dish. But all too quickly, along comes the scorching heat and humidity of July and August and suddenly hiking to the grocery store seems like a better idea.

The veteran veggie growers here are still getting dirt under their fingernails, weeding and feeding.

Flowers planted throughout the farm add to the visual picture, but more than that, they attract the ‘good’ bugs and birds that help the veggies. One batch of flowers in the garden’s center is coneflowers or echinacea, a flower that Good Housekeeping says is one of the better flowers to plant.

bee closeupFrom MotherEarth news— In the United States, segregating vegetables from flowers still seems like such a hard-and-fast rule that when I lecture on edible landscaping, one of the first things I mention is that I’ve checked the Constitution, and planting flowers in a vegetable garden is not forbidden. Not only can you put flowers in with vegetables, you should.

From Good Housekeeping— Maggie Saska, plant production specialist at the Rodale Institute organic farm, says the most important reason to grow flowers in your vegetable bed is to attract native bees and other beneficial insects. Without bees stopping by your garden to snack on nectar and swap pollen around, you’re going to have a pretty disappointing crop. Plus, planting bee-friendly flowers near your vegetables also supports struggling pollinator populations and biodiversity. You can also plant flowers specifically to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other desirable species.

From Horn Garden Center– Community Garden plots are rented to gardeners looking for good land on which to grow vegetables and flowers in small quantities for use at home or to share with others. The Community Gardens project began in 2009 and has grown to its current size of 102 plots, each a 20-foot square.coneflowers 3 tonemapped

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