Grit Blogs > Adventures in Rural Living

Country Flower Power

Marie James head shotJim and I have been starting some seeds indoors this month. We’ve always just done a few in a sunny window, but this year we hung some lights on the underside of a closet shelf to provide an area for several flats of seeds to get going.

Starting seeds indoors gives us a jump start on our growing season, which is a bit short in our region, with only four frost-free months. It will also save us some money if our tomato and pepper starts do well and we don’t have to buy nursery plants.


 seeds started in flat 

Last year we had our first garden on our property, and we planted only vegetables. As I was tidying up the veggie patch last fall, I realized that I had really missed having a flower bed. We do have beautiful wildflowers all around us all summer, but I would have enjoyed some color and variety in some of the “brown and beige” areas close to our home.

It kind of dawned on me … along with food production, the visual interest of flowers is an important part of rural living too.

So this year, in addition to a few flowers in our window boxes, we’ll be planting some annuals and perennials around the place. I have a personal priority of not introducing non-natives to our property, so I’m focusing on natives. This is especially important to me where the edges of our “yard” merge into natural areas of grass, brush, and forest.

Last fall I collected seeds from native flowering plants and scattered the seeds in large edging areas. The seeds slept under the snow this winter, and many of them should sprout this spring.

And along with veggie seeds, several packets of flower seeds were included in my seed order this year. Some of them are native varieties to supplement the seeds I collected. Others are favorite non-natives for a few selected beds and containers where I can control spreading.

 pink cosmos

Some of these seeds can be directly sown outdoors, but several varieties will soon be sprouting indoors right alongside our veggie starts. Hopefully we’ll have some fire red petunias, multi-colored cosmos, and Shasta daisies bursting from the soil to eagerly join the crowd.

Not only do I love the outdoor display of flowers, but to me, one thing that says “country kitchen” is my large white pitcher stuffed with multi-colored fresh flowers. So this year I’m determined to have that viewing and cutting flower garden!

If you’re interested in learning to start seeds indoors, hop on over to my family’s blog The Homesteader School and check out some of our “Learning to Garden” tutorials. Here’s a good one to start with! 

Marie and her husband, Jim, are developing a farm in the Pacific Northwest with their adult children and grandchildren. At The Homesteader Kitchen Marie and her daughter review kitchen equipment and talk about preparing and preserving delicious food. Along with other family members, Marie shares glimpses of country life at Rural Living Today and teaches practical skills at The Homesteader School