Row by Row Episode 144: Do Vegetables Need Flowers??

On April 15th we spoke with guest Jennifer O’Neal of Fancy Girl Farms in Hahira, Georgia. Fancy Girl Farms is a flower farm where Jennifer grows a wide variety of flowers for all occasions even if it’s just a simple centerpiece for your kitchen table.

Before we share what we spoke with Jennifer about we would like to take a moment to talk about our product highlight, Wynne Peanuts, and the new Hoss Breast Cancer Campaign.

Wynne Peanuts

Wynne Peanuts are a large variety of peanut that are perfect for roasting or boiling and make a great addition to those game day parties at the house or watching at the ball field.

This variety was developed in North Carolina and have some disease resistance to help the crop reach harvest with minimal chemical usage. While most peanuts cultivated in the south stay low to the ground, the Wynne variety grows up to a foot tall.

You can purchase Wynne Peanuts from us in either 1lb or 5lb bags.

Hoss Cancer Campaign

At Hoss Tools we feel like everyone that works here is family. Very recently we have had three ladies that have been impacted by cancer. We have launched a fundraiser to help our ladies with any additional expenses that have or will arise from their battle with their cancer.

Introducing the Hoss Team Fundraising for Francis Fundraiser Collection. This collection is a selection of flowers picked out by one of our ladies, Ms. Francis, that comes in a packet to plant in your garden. In this collection you will find Teddy Bear Sunflowers, Marigold Sparky Mix, Autumn Sunflower Mix, and Sungold Dwarf Sunflowers.

Individually, these four packets sell for $3.99 but the entire collection only costs $9.99 giving you a total savings of about $6. When you purchase this collection 100% of the proceeds will go to our ladies that are battling cancer or have other needs as a result of their fight with cancer. Please consider purchasing this collection and helping our ladies while adding beautiful flowers for your garden.

Fancy Girl Farms

Jennifer has always had a love for flowers and has used them to bring in beneficial insects into her vegetable garden for years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that she started Fancy Girl Farms after a friend showed her another flower farmer’s Instagram page and she realized she could take her love for flowers and create a business from it. With her flowers, along with her chickens and pigs, her business has grown to be a successful venture for her.

As for the name Fancy Girl Farms she says that comes from past interactions with her grandfather who would playfully tell her that her garden was “too fancy” with its flowers, to which she would respond with, “papa, I’m a fancy girl.”

Jennifer reminisces about time with her grandfather and the differences between her farming techniques and those of his. While her grandfather had large fields with dedicated rows, her raised beds have a mix of veggies, herbs, and flowers; bringing in the benefits of the herbs and flowers to help the growth and success of the veggies.

Apart from her raised bed garden she has her flower farm; plots with rows that are similarly dedicated as the large areas her grandfather would farm. However, instead of rows of cotton or corn or peanuts you’ll find snapdragons and sunflowers, lavender and gomphrena. 

Companion Planting

In Jennifer’s garden she uses a gardening technique known as “companion planting” which has been used for centuries by people around the world. This practice utilizes the strengths of several varieties of plants to help each other to be more successful in their growth and production. One of the most well-known examples of this is the “Three Sisters” technique used by the Native American peoples which uses corn, beans, and squash.

Other examples include using flowers with varying blooming schedules and growth cycles alongside vegetables with a similar growth cycle. Some of the plants attract pollinators and others repel pest insects which helps reduce the need for pesticides. Finding and utilizing the right combination of plants can lead to a better harvest as well as a beautiful garden.

Over the years companion gardening was largely put aside as industrialization made access to fresh fruits and vegetables easier to obtain making home gardens unnecessary. While not typically used in larger farming productions it has been seeing a comeback in recent years in smaller backyard gardens and community gardens as it is not only beneficial to the plants but it is also attractive to the eyes.

Pollinators

The most essential thing that has to happen for a successful harvest is the production of the crop and for that you to have pollination. To help bring in your pollinators such as your bees, your butterflies, and even your hummingbirds, flowers can be planted alongside or even amongst your veggies. 

By planting a flower that will bloom at the same time as your crop you will draw in these essential creatures to help ensure your pollination takes place. Some excellent options are lavender, marigold, sunflowers, calendula, and snapdragons.

Indicator Plants

There are many types of plants out there that attract worms and weevils. The benefit of planting these types, such as nasturtiums and heuchera, is that these pests are drawn to them instead of your crop plants and will show signs that worms and weevils are present so that you can take action against them.

Hunters

As strange as it may seem you can use herbs and flowers to attract animals that will hunt the pests that would destroy your plants. Wasps are often seen as a harmful pest insect but, given a chance to work the garden, can feed on many pests you will find and help reduce the amount of pesticides to use. Planting dill alongside your cabbage will attract wasps who will then find the cabbageworms and destroy them.

With all the goings on in the garden you will see an increase in bird activity as well. The more attractive your garden to the bugs, the more the birds will visit and pluck any pests from your beds.

Other Pest Control

Many flowers and herbs can be used as natural pest repellants. Some help to deter deer, mice, beetles and/or rabbits. One such plant is marigolds. Marigolds have many benefits as an addition to a garden. They attract pollinators but also can be used to deter pests such as mice, slugs, and beetles when used in the vegetable garden. These plants have also been found to deter nematodes.

Catnip is very aromatic and can help keep pests away from eggplants when planted alongside them is a similar way that lemon beebalm can be used to keep pests off of fruit trees. As cats love catnip, you may find another helper in the garden as your feline hunts and eliminates any rodent pests.

No matter what you are growing in your garden it is always a good idea to add some flowers to help you manage your crops. Not only will you help improve your harvest, you will also have the added beauty that flowers bring.

Watch the Complete Show on YouTube Below:

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