Spring is just around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to make plans for your garden. And if there's one thing you should be thinking about adding into the mix this year, it's wildflowers.
Wildflowers aren't just pretty — they're good for your garden, too. Flowers like oxeye daisies, red clovers, poppies, and wild carrots can serve as all-natural pesticides by attracting useful insects to your garden, according to Modern Farmer. These "good" bugs then protect your beautiful blooms and veggies by preying on destructive pests.
Wildflowers are a "secret" that farmers have relied on for years, planting the pesticide alternative on the perimeters of their farms to protect crops. But more recently, many farmers have begun experimenting with a new method: planting strips of wildflowers right alongside their crops and vegetation.
Fifteen farms in England have been testing the strategy over the past five years , and they found that the wildflowers attracted all the right kinds of bugs to the right areas, according to The Guardian. While more research is needed to understand how beneficial the practice is for large-scale farms, a previous study published by Proceedings of the Royal Society B found the method to be effective at reducing pesticide use and plant damage caused by insects.
What's more, wildflowers are also a natural way to enhance your soil's health and increase your garden's yield, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). They're also low-maintenance and tend to need less water. So whether you're growing veggies, crops, bulbs, or flowers in your backyard this year, consider skipping the toxic stuff and opting for this organic pesticide instead.
You can discover wildflowers native to your area through the National Wildlife Federation.
(h/t Modern Farmer)