Some people wonder why we include flowers in our seed shop, specifically in our three ready-made survival garden seed kits. Flowers provide many benefits. They’re good for you and your garden in so many ways! Certain flowers even have culinary and medicinal uses. Let’s explore the top reasons you should consider growing flowers in your garden this year.
Pest & Disease Management
Flowers and herbs do more than attract friendly insects; they can help you manage pests and prevent disease in your plants, too! Sunflowers can attract ants and aphids away from other plants, while nasturtiums, marigolds, lavender, petunia, and other flowers repel various insects and nematodes.
A healthy garden is teeming with life and biodiverse. This includes everything from the plants you grow to the pollinators you’ve attracted to the invertebrates and microbes that release trapped nutrients in your soil. Adding some flowers to your garden (especially native plants and wildflowers) also ripples out to your neighborhood. More variety improves your local ecosystem and promotes a cleaner environment for the entire food chain.
Ground Cover & Weed Control
Although biodiversity is great, you probably want to have a say in what that biodiversity looks like. Adding flowers that pair well with your crops as a ground cover can help enrich the soil while keeping weeds from overtaking the garden. Clover is a good example. Plant it alongside your garden, or use it as a cover crop during the off-season to improve the nutrient quality of the soil.
All of the benefits discussed above add up, and it makes sense that flowers can make excellent good companion crops to many vegetables. In addition to keeping pests and diseases at bay and attracting more pollinators, flowers can help improve soil quality. Vegetables are often heavy feeders, and choosing the right flowers can help to balance soil deficiencies. Some flowers also can provide shade for delicate vegetables or support for climbing vines. See our recent post on companion planting for some great pairings.
Many of the herbs we eat are well known to be edible, but there are also many flowers that you can eat, too! Flower blooms can add elegance to salad, baked goods, and other foods. They can be highly nutritious, too, because the pigments that add color to petals are often rich in antioxidants. Some flowers have edible roots, stems, and leaves. Always check to see what parts of the plant are safe to eat before you add them to your diet.
Some flowers produce seeds that are rich in useful oils. Black Russian sunflowers are prized for their seeds that can be roasted and eaten whole, used to feed birds and other animals, or refined for sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is useful for baking, cooking, skincare, and other practical uses around the homestead. Borage oil is another beneficial flower oil. It’s rich in gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an anti-inflammatory fatty acid with many health benefits.
Flowers have always been a part of the healer’s toolkit, and it would be a mistake not to have these powerful plants in your survival garden. Many flowers are well-known for their proven abilities to soothe, relieve, and promote healing. Depending on the flowers, you might dry the petals for medicinal tea, distill them into an essential oil, or crush the petals into a powder for long-term storage.
Growing flowers is an easy, fun way to add some beauty to your life. Maybe you’d prefer to leave the plants in the garden for everyone to see and enjoy. Or perhaps you love cut flower arrangements that can bring the lovely scent and colors indoors. It’s a lot cheaper than buying flowers at the florist!
Health Benefits for Humans
Gardening is already a healthy activity that gets your body moving and encourages you to spend more time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Being in nature can reduce your risk of dementia and boost your mood. Flowers take those benefits to the next level, in part because of their beauty and other attributes. Plus, the powerful scents can be calming and relaxing, and they also can purify the air you breathe.
Hopefully, by now we’ve convinced you that flowers aren’t just an “extra” to plant. They add so much to your garden and survival homestead, that we think they’re indispensable! That’s why we’ve put so much thought and care into which flowers we carry and include in our survival garden seed collections.