Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty by Lisa Mason Ziegler, Cool Springs Press, soft cover, $21.99.
Ziegler started her plant career in the florist business, which quickly expanded to growing her own cut flowers. This book shares her knowledge of how flowers work in the vegetable garden. She gives helpful info on incorporating flowers and food, cutting gardens, pollinators and beneficial predators.
Planting flowers in food gardens and orchards are good for production because the blooms bring in important pollinating insects. This has been the practice of gardeners and growers for centuries, and Ziegler shows how to continue the practice with her Virginia property as the backdrop.
Plant Partners: Science-based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden by Jessica Walliser, Storey Publishing, soft cover, $24.95.
I am so thankful to Walliser for presenting solid, science-based information on which plants do what to other plants. Just plug in companion planting on Google and you’ll get dozens of combos based on myths, legends, common theories and more. There’s a plethora of false, sometimes even damaging, information out there when it comes to gardening. Walliser, a horticulturist from Pennsylvania, bases information on her years of research to hunt down and verify proven companions.
One of her findings: An Iowa State University study that reported a significant decrease of the dreaded squash bugs on summer squash when grown side-by-side with nasturtiums.
Sometimes the partnership is one plant trapping or luring undesirable insects from desirable plants.