2016, Week 9: Beneficial Insects and the Plants they Love {Part 2}

Tuesday was a massively productive farm workday this week. The stats: 1,800 seedlings planted – over 1,000 collards, a broccoli trial of 9 varieties, and more; and a couple thousand row-feet of seeds ranging from arugula to kale to turnips. The tough thing about sowing seeds is that there is no immediate gratification, and just a line in the dirt where the planter leaves its mark, so patience gets to be exercised!  And then many tiny miracles occur, and within 2 weeks nearly all of these lines will fill up with varying shades of green – we can’t wait to show them to y’all! 


To continue from last week’s topic on gardening for food, beauty, and others (specifically here, beneficial insects), today I’m highlighting a select few of my favorite herbs to grow for both culinary uses and beneficial insect attractants on the farm. 

Butterfly caterpillars especially enjoy parsley (pictured above), lovage, and dill. Lovage was my personal favorite herb discovery of 2015, a parsley-look-alike with delicious celery-flavored leaves.

Cilantro doesn’t grow well in our summertime heat, as it “bolts” quickly, meaning it flowers and starts to make seeds (which can be left to dry on the plant and then harvested for fresh coriander). But it thrives in cool autumn through early spring weather and grows readily from seed. Cilantro is reputed to attract parasitoid wasps and other beneficial insects, while repelling aphids and other pests. Bees, wasps, and ladybugs love my cilantro’s dainty white blooms.

I shared a link from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds about Borage on the Renfrow Facebook page this week. With delightful and unique edible blue flowers that taste like cucumbers and are a magnet for bees, this herb is a bit off the beaten path but gaining notoriety.

Milkweed isn’t an herb, but is a flower I wanted to highlight, and it deserves noting due to its immense value as a habitat to the vanishing monarch butterfly. When I’ve started seeds, I’ve always followed these helpful instructions from the Monarch Watch group here.

Jersey Knight Asparagus crowns arrived at Renfrow Hardware this week. Plenty of details on how to grow this garden delicacy on the hardware store website here.

Miss last week’s Farm Happenings: Beneficial Insects and the Plants they Love [Part 1]? Never fear – read it here!

We want to thank you all so much for being part of the Renfrow community! Have a wonderful week,

                                                    ~Pressly Williams, Ruth Harris,
& the farm crew