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It is time once again to fine tune our gardens into mean, lean, veggie growing machines. How can we make this year’s garden even better than the last? How can we work along with nature? How about this…Try planting herbs and flowers to make gardens more diverse and nature friendly. Plants like fennel and dill attract honey bees, butterflies and ladybugs to our gardens while adding flavor and medicine to our kitchens. When we diversify our gardens, we are encouraging a holistic life. When our garden’s immune system is stimulated, the food that comes out of it will then fill our
bodies with vitality.

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One family of herbs, Echinacea spp, attracts beneficial insects such as honey bees and butterflies. Without these insects, our plants would not get pollinated and we would have no food. Predator insects would start to move in. Echinacea also attracts birds when it goes to seed. Echinacea has been known to enhance our immune systems by making more white blood cells. Digging the roots of third-year plants in the fall is an example of traditional herbal medicine. A person could dry these roots and use them in tea to help stave off the first signs of cold and flu.

Also, red clover can be planted to attract honey bees. The roots of this plant travel deep into the ground and attract nitrogen fixating bacteria. These bacteria also feed our veggie plants, keeping them green and healthy. Red clover also has been known to cleanse human blood and supply the lungs with extra oxygen for healing. Red clover is also high in micro nutrients that can feed our soil and our bodies. One of my favorite things about spring is going into the garden and nibbling these vibrant, purple blossoms. Warning: Red clover is a blood thinner for those who are already on medication. I always let a few red clover plants grow among my garden and find it a wonderful companion, always ready to feed and nurture its neighboring plant.

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