By Ramon Gonzalez, TreeHugger
If you’re trying to overcome your seed starting fear by growing the five easy vegetables I recommended growing from seed, add these five annuals to your garden too.
Even if the goal of your garden is to grow your own food, you need flowers to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to your garden.
Sunflowers aren’t supposed to take well to transplanting, so sow the seeds directly into the ground when the weather warms up. Small sunflowers grown for cuttings can be sown in large pots, but for a dramatic effect grow some of the giant varieties like ‘Mammoth.’ At the base of sunflowers you can plant beans that will grow up the sunflower stalk as a support.
At the talk by Diane Ott Whealy, co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange, that I attended this year she mentioned that the recent marigold hybrids lack the scents that make them good insect repellents and companions in the vegetable garden. Marigolds are easy to start from seed, either in containers or in the ground. If you’re growing marigolds for their bug repellent qualities, choose an old variety.
The seeds of nasturtium when prepared are called “poor man’s capers.” The young foliage and flowers of nasturtiums are edible and make good additions to salads and soups where you want to add a peppery taste. Nasturtiums are also good trap crops, meaning that garden pests like aphids are attracted to it. You can pick off the stems and blooms with aphids attached and dispose of them before they reach your vegetable garden.
Zinnia seeds are so easy to germinate in the ground as soon as it warms up that it is a waste to start them indoors. Just sow the seeds into the ground or container when the soil is warm. Zinnia blooms also make good additions to homegrown bouquets.
Got a favorite annual that is easy to grow from seed that you’d recommend?