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I Have Expanded My Etsy Shop To Include Vintage Items!

Well, well, well, I never thought this day would come.

I added vintage items to my Etsy shop, BlissCraftLife. I never thought I would actually let myself do something I enjoy doing so much.

Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it’s just hard to overcome the conditioning that says that real work is serious, hard and grueling. And you’d better have a degree in that or just forget it.

Not that creating an Etsy shop is a piece of cake — it isn’t. Mostly it takes time and surrendering to the step-by-step, trial and error process. But by expanding what I offer to include vintage items, my shop just feels more well-rounded — more like me.

I’m multi-faceted and I like being this way. I know I am not the only person, who enjoys taking a varied approach to life.

So, here it is– my newly updated Etsy shop, Blisscraft Life. I am having fun with it and I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s all about.

Thanks for checking it out and supporting me by following my shop, liking some items and even making a purchase if you feel so moved.

I appreciate your time and I hope you are taking some time to follow your bliss today, too.


Thank You For Supporting My Etsy Shop This Holiday Season

I have created a discount code for 20% off all items in my Etsy shop, Blisscraft Life.

Please participate in my “Thankful” sale between now and Friday, November 19th.

You can use the code “Thankful” or click here for the code to be added to your order automatically.

This offer is only good for a short time! Order Thanksgiving decor now to receive it in time for the holiday.

All of my downloadable writing posters are also on sale as are my craft ebooks.

I am adding new decor items to the shop steadily so please keep checking back.

Thank you for supporting small, creative businesses this holiday season!

Christina Katz is a writer, artist, coach and activist, committed to living colorfully out loud.


Photo of Best Sour Cream Banana Bread With Walnuts and Chocolate ChipsBest Sour Cream Banana Bread With Walnuts And Chocolate Chips


  • 2 cups organic flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c salted butter
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar (or use sugar subs for baking)
  • 2 large pasture-raised eggs at room temperature
  • 1/3 c sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 c ripe mashed organic bananas (about 4)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c walnuts
  • 3/4 c chocolate chips

No or low sugar substitutes can be subbed in for ingredients. Match texture to texture for best results.

Put oven rack in the lower third position, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in medium bowl.

Use mixer to cream butter and brown sugar for two minutes. Then on medium speed, beat in each egg one at a time. Beat in the sour cream, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract on medium speed until mixed. Switch mixer to low speed, slowly blend in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes. Loosely cover the pan with foil after 30 minutes to keep top from getting too brown. A skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf will come out clean when bread is done. Please check. Ovens do vary. Cool bread on wire rack.

Wrap bread in foil and store in the fridge for up to a week. It won’t last that long. Heat slices for 20 seconds in the microwave before eating. Delicious!


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I am a human being who lives with another human being and we have both learned a lot about gut health recovery over the past few years. I am simply sharing some of the things we have learned from personal experience.

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@towfiqu999999?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Towfiqu barbhuiya</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/xs2rdwVoqks?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a> We have had some gut health issues in our home over the past few years. If poor gut health, leaky gut or any kind of digestive disorders affect you or someone you love, the first thing I want to acknowledge is how common gut problems are in the world. There are a lot of things that can cause gut problems like aging (often happens for those over the age of 45), poor food quality (thanks GMO manufacturers and Glyphosate companies), use of OTC and prescription drugs (you may have needed them before but if you don’t any longer, why not stop or at least stop as many as you comfortably can?) and stress (who isn’t somewhat stressed these days?).

People with gut pain need quick, safe solutions they can test out to improve gut resilience swiftly. But that’s not typically what is offered. In my opinion, most of the mainstream offerings to relieve gut pain do not help at all and may even make things worse. I suggest you try healing your gut yourself by conducting personal experiments using food and supplements and see if you can improve your situation. However, from everything I have seen up close and personal, gut pain is no laughing matter. The pain is real. Don’t ignore it. Don’t let it linger. Take baby steps towards relief sooner rather than later.

Remember the definition of insanity, which is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Nothing changed for the better at our house until we started doing things differently and then kept doing and adding new things that worked for us. You may have to try a lot of new things to discover solutions to your digestive discomfort. I am here to tell you: it’s totally worth it.

We’ve tried a bunch of things at our home and I am going to share some of the best gut health solutions we’ve found.

  1. Order ION — Intelligence Of Nature Gut Support and take it as recommended. You can find this amazing microbe product either on the website of Dr. Zach Bush or on My Amazon Link. If you use my Amazon link I get a cut and, of course, there is no pressure whatsoever — only support my blog if you wish. I encourage you to use whatever sources offer you the most savings (this stuff is not cheap, but it’s so helpful). Our experience with this product is that it delivers exactly what it says it will deliver: a more resilient digestive system that can tolerate more varieties of foods even if they were not tolerated in the past. We did not go straight to ION. We tried other things first and I will tell you about them shortly. But if I could do it all over again, I would order ION as soon as I possibly could and I would take it as directed. If it helps you the way it’s helped us, then you’re welcome in advance.
  2. Elimination Of Pain-triggering Foods. I know it’s hard to stop when foods you are used to eating trigger intolerable pain. But, hear me out. You may only have to give them up in the short run. I can’t promise because I can’t promise anything. But I can encourage you to experiment starting today. Say you ordered ION and you are waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime, cease eating the foods and drinks that cause you pain or reflux or gas or whatever symptoms you are dealing with. Just put those foods and drinks to the side in your home, for now, and stick to whatever you can digest comfortably.
  3. What If There Are Almost No Foods You Can Tolerate? Okay, listen up. If you are in a situation where your digestive system has become so inflamed that you can hardly eat anything, acknowledge that you are in an emergency situation. Your gut is sending you messages and you have to listen. In the short run, every food that causes pain must be eliminated from your diet. Some suggestions of foods to eliminate right off the bat are: all processed foods, fried foods, hard-to-digest meats and deli products, dairy products, starchy vegetables like potatoes, vegetables from the nightshade family, breads including gluten-free breads and pastas and rice, sweets as well as all kinds of condiments including pepper- or chili-based spices. Here are some foods that may not be as hard to digest that can keep you going until you start taking ION regularly: sweet potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, quality bone broth, bananas, organic grass-fed no sugar yogurt like Nancy’s, plain white rice cakes with no-skin almond butter or no-skin macadamia butter, eggs, salmon, plain white chicken or turkey. Cooking in imported virgin olive oil is recommended. The key is to baby your stomach by eating small amounts of plain foods and keep your diet very simple. Try salting your food with pink Himalayan salt. You may need to eat lightly for a week or more in order to stabilize your system. If you need help finding foods you can eat in the short run, I recommend reviewing this Yes/No List from Dr. Gundry as part of his Lectin-free Diet. Hopefully you won’t have to go on the Lectin-free Diet full time or for very long, but it sure can help you eliminate potentially pain-causing foods in the short run. Again, I hope you will have a long happy future eating all the foods you love. But in the short run, don’t eat what you want; eat what your gut needs to recover and heal now.
  4. Take The Daily Recommended Amount Of These Supplements Once You Can. Once your digestive system is calm enough to tolerate supplements, here are the ones I recommend. You are welcome to buy them with my Amazon link or track them down yourself.
    1. Magnesium Glycinate: You may have heard that most of us are deficient in Magnesium however some types of Magnesium have challenging side-effects. I recommend the fully chelated Magnesium Glycinate at the recommended daily amount split into two or three doses throughout the day. We take half after breakfast and half before bed with the added benefit that it assists with a good night’s sleep. Magnesium is good for healing your gut and helps calm your nerves. So even if you don’t have gut issues, you can try this product to help you get more consistent sleep. [My Amazon Link or visit the Solaray site]
    2. Vitamineral Green: If you have been suffering from digestive issues for a while, you may be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. Taking 4 – 8 Vitamineral Green tablets a day is a good way to make sure you have all your green foods covered. Once you are again eating adequate green foods, you can decrease this supplement or eliminate it. As with all my recommendations, you are the expert on how you feel. Conduct your own experiments. [My Amazon Link or visit the HealthForce Superfoods site]
    3. Vitamin D: We’ve just passed the Fall Equinox here in the Northern part of the US and you know what that means for many people — the winter blues. Try to get out in the sun as much as you can in the darker months. Take a little walk while you’re at it or do some outdoor chores. Breathe fresh air and move your body. Let the sun hit your skin as much as you can without catching a chill. If you still feel kind of low, try taking a daily Vitamin D supplement for a couple weeks and see if you notice an improvement in mood. And don’t stop grabbing sunshine whenever you can. Most people have depleted Vitamin D reserves over the darker months. Get yours up and keep it up, as best you can. [My Amazon Link or visit the Thorne site]
  5. Sprinkle A Pinch Of Pink or Gray Salt Into Your Drinking Water. You won’t get iodine from this salt but your body will stay better hydrated and hydration is healing. Keep a BPA-free water bottle with you all day with your barely salted high-quality water. Avoid water in plastic bottles. Avoid municipal water if you can. Well water is typically better than municipal water, so bring your water from home if you have a well. Either way, leave your glass of barely salted drinking water open on the kitchen counter in a glass or water bottle when you go to bed and then chug some first thing when you wake up. Sip on this water throughout the day, don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Also use it to take your supplements. I like using salts in a grinder like this one [My Amazon Link] but you can find them in most grocery stores.
  6. General Lifestyle Tips: Here are some more ways to help heal your gut that you may not realize you’ve gotten away from:
    1. Switch To Organic Vegetables, Pasture-raised Eggs And Grass-fed Meats Gradually. I understand that it’s too expensive for most people to upgrade the quality of foods overnight. I suggest you commit to upgrading your food quality over the course of a year. Here’s how it works: you buy no more processed foods and invest that money into better quality whole foods. In the meantime, know the Dirty Dozen and start buying those foods in organic form immediately.
    2. Get Outside And Breathe. Sometimes when you’ve been feeling unwell, you spend too much time indoors. But the fresh air and sunshine are outside. Keep your outdoor shoes and jacket by the door and get out there as much as you can each day. If you won’t do it on your own, make plans to meet friends.
    3. Move Your Body. What’s your favorite exercise? Mine is walking. Your choice does not have to be extreme or exotic. It can be as basic as lacing up your shoes and heading out the door. Consider adopting a dog if you need motivation for taking walks outdoors. Dogs make great companions.
    4. Touch Nature. Why not start gardening? If you have never done it, maybe begin with a container of herbs. Even a four-foot by four-foot square can grow a beautiful patch of flowers. Don’t try to garden perfectly. Get down with your hands and knees in the dirt and let nature encourage next steps. In America, we tend to make gardening complex and intimidating. I’m talking about putting down some newspapers or cardboard, covering it in a few inches of planting compost, scattering some seeds and watering them in. Gardening can be this simple. No need for herbicides or pesticides. No-dig gardening doesn’t require them.
    5. Take Short Trips To Beautiful Places Near And Far. We prefer short day trips to long overnight trips. Planned vacations can be somewhat exhausting but short day trips can spark fresh energy and improved perspective within 24 hours. Don’t judge your budget or compare yourself with your neighbors, just get out there and have an adventure.
    6. Address Unhealed Trauma. Most people have some amount of trauma. Americans have a tendency to either dismiss trauma or expect people to hurry up and get over it. Neither of these attitudes are healthy or helpful. Underneath your trauma is your authentic self. You may have to dig deep to feel and heal and process your trauma but it’s worth it. The more trauma you have, the more time you should grant yourself to heal it. Other people’s opinions about whether or not you have or do not have trauma are irrelevant. You are the only one living in your body. I believe that simply living in the modern world is traumatizing. 2020 was traumatizing. 9-11 was traumatizing. Naming and claiming the traumatic moments in your life is as important as naming and claiming the blissful moments of your life. We have all had both as well as the spectrum in between.
    7. Let Healing Be A Process. Your inability to digest well could have been caused by any number of triggers. Sadly, we live in a world that favors corporate greed over the abundance of healthy food that is our birthright. It’s okay to acknowledge how much out there is unhelpful in order to better locate what is helpful. I am going to list some resources below if you’d like to dive deeper into what they have to offer on your own. I may come back later and update this post. I wish you the best of luck in your gut-healing experiments. Don’t give up! I am holding the vision of total recovery for you and your loved ones and a return to the deep enjoyment of delicious healthy food.

Any Interview With Dr. Zach Bush

The Lectin-free Diet by Dr. Steven Gundry, Shopping List

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


Fill Your Home With Flowers Grown Mostly From Seed

Lately I have been thinking about what I do best in the niche of flower growing. Recently I was discussing a bouquet with someone and they asked if I had grown most of the flowers from seed. The answer is yes, I grow most of my flowers from seed and you can, too. You don’t need to be a flower farmer and you don’t even need to grow a lot of flowers. You can just grow enough to enjoy yourself.

I cannot tell you how much joy my flower gardens have brought me, especially over the past few years. One thing I have learned is how much these basics secrets simply are not taught. Conspiracy theories aside, this is America. We make most things way too complicated. I like to keep things as simple as possible. My philosophy is: more flowers, less fuss.


Earth For President Or No President

Earth from space from NASA

Earth as seen from space. Credit: NASA

I don’t know about you but I am tired of being told who I have to vote for in politics. I am tired of voting out of fear rather than personal preference. This is supposed to be a democracy not a fearocracy.

The historic and current neglect and abuse of Earth really irks me. As far as I am concerned, Earth is a powerful sentient being and we live on her. We are literally desecrating the very foundation we stand on.

And don’t even get me started with talk of fleeing to Mars or fighting World War III in space. No freaking way. Enough with the arrogant colonizer energy. I am pretty sure that’s how we got where we are.

When are we going to stop rubbing everyone else’s backs and start finding our own backbone? The USA is a mess. We are divided and we are destructive. We are not heroes. We are not a democracy. We are not free.

Freedom begins and ends with taking care of the earth we stand on. We should all be able to agree on this. It should be a no-brainer. Without Earth, there is no humanity. The idea that we can all just hop on a rocket and go to Mars is baloney. Only the richest are going to Mars (and good luck with that). The rest of us are staying right here.

We all have one thing in common: her name is Earth. It’s time to clean up our act. I would love to see a global artist campaign that puts Earth and her needs at the center of everyone’s attention prior to the 2024 elections. It does not need to be organized. Most of us have access to the Internet. We can just do it.

I will be forwarding lots of Earthcentric art and inspiration on social media and I invite you to join me. Got Earthcentric art ideas? Now is the time to create, create, create. Intellectualism is dead. Art is everything. Let’s create an online movement seeded by things that really matter like, you know, the ground under our feet.

Let’s vote with our likes and shares for the people who care about Earth. If enough of us join in, maybe our intentions can take root and blossom in time to turn this crash-dummy test around.

Earth first. Earth now. Earth for President or do we even really need a President? Maybe having a President is part of the problem. Become President of your own life and make a sentient Earth central to your daily existence. If we care and act from there, things change.

People of Earth, it’s time to wake up. We have some time but not much. We have enough time to express what we deserve and demand loud and clear. This is how we start changing the world from colonizer culture to care and share culture. Care and share culture is the future even if it does not look that way right now. I can feel it in my bones. How about you?


Blisscraft Thoughts: Walking Keeps Me Fit, Happy & More

Hellobores Blossoming In Oregon Walking Christina KatzIf you were like me when you were a kid, you probably spent a lot of time outside playing, getting dirty and flinging your body through time and space. Remember how it felt? It was awesome. I loved it. I still love it. But for too many today, it’s all too easy to feel disconnected from the earth we’re living on.

And it’s not like I’m moving at the same pace at 56 as I was when I was a kid. In October, I started walking several days a week to help recover that feeling of moving through time and space outdoors. This wasn’t exactly a choice. I re-injured myself last summer causing pain from many years ago to flare back up. It’s a leg/hip/lower back type of injury so it’s pretty debilitating. I kind of need those three parts of my body to do just about anything. My awesome medical masseuse, Ranee, asked me to walk to help speed along the healing process and I wasn’t really convinced that it was important. Walking sounded boring. Walking was for old people. How could walking even help? After several massages, the discomfort wasn’t easing up as much as I had hoped, so I reluctantly took Ranee’s advice and started walking.

Lo and behold, the improvement was immediate. Ranee is no dummy. She knows how the body works and she knows how walking can help people heal. My pain went from nagging to negligible and after a few more sessions it disappeared altogether. That’s how I got hooked on walking.

Moving my body reminds me I have a body, that my body works better when I keep it fit and that bodies thrive when you take care of them. I take care of my body and my body takes care of me — what a concept. I walked away the winter in a nearby retirement community, crossing paths with seniors who are also out walking in whatever patches of decent weather we could find. I finally got the full message: if you want to be walking when you are a senior, start walking in middle age and keep walking until walking is no longer an option.

As a flower gardener, I spend a lot of time outside in nature and it fills me up inside. I enjoy my own company. I always have and I feel especially content when I’m out in nature. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, my hands in the soil and my knees slightly sunk into the soft ground. I love seeing the cacophony of colors that sway on stalks all around me when the garden is at her resplendent best. Incredible smells are new in every direction I turn. My garden is always abuzz with the sounds of bees, insects, and birds. However, the ground where I work is uneven, riddled with critter holes and tricky to traipse unless you like tripping and falling.

Apparently I like tripping and falling because I do it a lot. It’s not a big deal for me to tumble right now because I’m middle aged and I am still pretty good at either catching myself in mid-fall or finding a soft spot to land. In cases where I manage to do neither, I am still spry enough to watch the sky for a minute, catch my breath, roll over, get back up and carry on. But this kind of resilience will not last forever. What I learned last summer is, if you fall enough times, you may be able to get up and carry on in the moment, but you will pretty quickly be in enough pain to call your trusty medical masseuse and beg her to fit you into her busy schedule.

So how can something as simple as walking be such a revelation? Maybe it’s because walking isn’t just medicine for the body; it’s also medicine for the mind and soul. It pulls the scattered parts of me back together. It helps me breathe more deeply. It helps me rediscover my natural rhythm. Walking calms me. Walking energized me. Walking creates alignment. And the best part is the immediate positive effects also translate into lasting benefits, as well.

Maybe it’s okay to walk daily for the instant fix it provides. Life on earth is weird right now. Heck, life on earth is hard for most people these days for one reason or a hundred. And if it’s not hard on the daily, it’s challenging in fits and starts. I find my life is easier, smoother and cheerier when I walk regularly. I try to walk five days a week and sometimes I even hit that goal. And when I don’t, it’s no biggie, I just begin again the next week.

As a kid, I would throw myself off the edge of the pool and into the water. Toss myself over a make-shift high jump and land in a bean bag chair. I relished the feeling of flying through the air on a swing or a tree vine in the woods. In later years, I was an athlete. I played soccer, softball, and rugby. I swam and I dove competitively. That was then and this is now. I don’t need to be who I used to be except for the part of me that loves being outdoors. Then I flew, I soared, I dove, I tackled. Now I walk. I simply walk. I’m grateful that it feels like enough each and every time.


I am not sure which algorithm landed me on the stream of video content being produced by actor, producer, director and musician Adrian Grenier, but –wow — I am sure glad I clicked my way over to his YouTube Channel, “Earth Speed By Adrian Grenier.”

From the YouTube page: Earth Speed is a series about Adrian Grenier’s quest to evolve our relationship to value, and how wiser investments of time and money can make a real impact on our planet. On this verité-style documentary series, we will follow Adrian Grenier as he searches for partners, companies and entrepreneurs who can change the world for the better. Created by Adrian Grenier Powered by DuContra Ventures

As an earth-lover, flower gardener and sustainability nerd, I often watch educational content related to living in harmony with the planet we stand on. I am honestly not even that familiar with Grenier’s former professional body of work, although I must have seen him in The Devil Wears Prada. Needless to say, I am a fan now.

Anne Hathaway and Adrian Genier in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

More and more I am becoming interested in sharing resources that break down big sustainability concepts in to do-able steps for the average person, and that’s what Adrian Grenier is doing with this project. This series contains great storytelling, poignant revelations and excellent education and motivation. Also check out other series on his channel. I have not even watched them all yet but the one I watched is excellent.

If you haven’t watched yet, head on over to his YouTube Channel and watch and share his Earth Speed docu-series. He’s just getting started and I’m excited to see what he will produce next!


Today the topic is how to deal with the trickle of hate in the world. I don’t believe that there is much hate in the world. I believe that there is a little bit of hate, a lot of manipulation by greed and power trying to leverage that trickle of hate for their own purposes, and a tidal wave of love in each of us, just waiting to be released.

Yup, I believe that each of us contains a huge gush of love just waiting to pour through and all we have to do is point and shoot. If only folks could point and shoot love instead of everything else that gets pointed and shot. What would happen to the world if they did? Let’s try and find out by putting our love behind good things and let the rest dry up like a puddle in the sun.

For example, Parade opened on Broadway last night and it was met with a trickle of hate. Thanks to the cowardly forces of manipulation, you might think we should be afraid of shows like Parade and stay away from places like Broadway because there is so much danger there.

Poppycock. Good luck to the folks showing up in a state of hate trying to live in a world that is full of love. It’s not going to be easy for them to maintain that hate and we’re not going to make it easy on them by letting them polarize this wonderful work of art.

This is where you come in. Show your love for Parade on Broadway. Get behind it. Share about it. Send the team your love. Buy tickets. Tell your friends in NYC to go. Here is what Parade is about:

Leo and Lucille Frank are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, PARADE reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.

We need beautiful stories because they help us feel things. And you know what is hard to do when you feel things? It’s hard to hate when you feel things. So let’s keep feeling things and let’s keep supporting art in the world that helps us feel things.

What can you do? You can feel your love. Feel your love for art. Feel your love for Broadway shows. Feel your love for these performers. Feel your love for the whole team. Feel your love for musical theatre in general. Feel your love for New York City. Feel your love for diversity and tolerance and a world that is safe and supportive for all.

Feel your love. Feel your love. Feel your love. And only after you feel your love, take action. No more rants. No more trying to show how smart you are. No more fighting. Get into a space of feeling love and then get behind something good. When we get behind the good stuff instead of fighting the crummy stuff, the trajectory of the world is nudged towards a more loving future.

We believe we have to pin hate to the floor and fight it into submission. We don’t. Fighting hate just makes hate bigger, stronger and more troublesome. Tune out hate and tune in love. And then do something with your love that makes the world a better place for all of us.

Use your love and change the world for good. You can do it. I know you can. This is not over yet. Listen to the song in the above video. It’s called, “This Is Not Over Yet.”

Deep breath. Let go of hate. Admit how powerless you are over it. Let it get smaller. Watch it fade into the background. Open up your heart-gates. Rev up the heart-light. Then pour out the love. Let it flow. Let it rip. Flood the world with it. Then onward towards a more loving world. We can do it.

For more information about Parade on Broadway starring Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, please visit: https://paradebroadway.com/.


My No-Dig, Flower Growing Cheat Sheet Is Available For Only $9.99! Click Here To Download It Now.

Well, it’s the end of the flower-growing season here in zone 8b in Oregon. I have been practicing growing cut flowers for a couple of years now and I am definitely living a flower-filled life. In fact, I have more than enough flowers to share, which is always fun.

I have researched quite a bit of information online. I have also read a ton of books and watched a lot of Gardener’s World from the BBC. I thought I would give back some of what I have learned from real-life experience to those of you who are hoping, wishing and praying to fill your home with flowers next year. Here are seven things I have learned that I hope you find helpful. Consider them the broad strokes of what to consider before you plan a successful flower-growing season.

If you are looking to save money in the long run on starting to grow cut flowers or continuing to grow cut flowers, I hope you will check out these tips. Keep in mind that most of my growing tips also apply to vegetable and herb growing. I prefer growing flowers but you might be excited to know there are low-impact, inexpensive ways to grow anything you like, no matter what your garden zone. Why not give yourself a year to experiment with growing? I bet you actually do have a green thumb and you just didn’t know it.

1. Give Yourself A Monthly Budget & Stick To It By having a spending limit each month for your flower garden, you will be forced to prioritize your monthly purchases. This is important when you are just starting out because yes, you can grow cut flowers cheaply. Even so, you are going to need to invest steadily and the more you do the bigger results you will see in your garden each year. Even if you only spend $100 a month, you will be amazed at what you can build and grow. I would suggest starting simple and small. You can replace lawn with a couple of long rows of cutting flowers in your yard and you will be amazed by how many flowers you can grow from seed. Just don’t make your rows too close together and follow the advice in my no-dig flower garden cheat sheet when you are creating first your beds. Bye-bye, lawn! Hello, flowers all season long!

2. Buy Compost By The Yard I purchase several yards of compost twice a year and have it delivered from our local garden shop. I try to purchase it when the ground is hard, so I don’t have to worry about the delivery truck getting stuck in the mud, which has definitely happened before! I lay a large tarp down on the ground, have the driver dump the compost on the tarp, and then cover it with another tarp. I weigh down the edges of the tarp with old two by fours. In the fall, I cover my existing beds with compost to feed the soil and protect existing plants from freeze. In the spring, I top off old and new beds with a couple inches of fresh compost before I plant seeds. Check out my two-page cheat sheet for comprehensive instructions for building your first beds.

3. Always Be Gathering Seeds, Bulbs, Corms & Tubers Here is the tricky part about growing your first cut flower garden. There is no one time of year when you can access all the bulbs, corms and tubers you want. For example, you purchase daffodils and tulips anywhere from summer to fall, depending on how you purchase them. And you can purchase dahlias in the summer for delivery the following spring or you can purchase them in the late-winter and early spring in-person. Basically in the fall you getting first pick and in the spring you are getting varieties that are leftover after pre-orders. After a couple of years’ experience, I have decided to purchase locally except for a few mail orders of seeds each year. I am fortunate to live in a place where we have abundant supplies of bulbs, corms and tubers. It’s important to buy local and support local farmers. My advice to you is to make a few garden shops nearby your local haunts and visit them frequently so you get a sense of what products come through when. Always inspect the products you buy before purchasing to make sure they are not old, moldy or mildewy. Have a well-ventilated closet or enclosed space in a garage or shed for storing your bulbs, corms and tubers, so they will be nice and fresh when it’s time to plant them. Be certain not to expose your purchased items to mice, wood rats or any other critters who might find them delicious. And don’t forget good ventilation! In a future post, I will share a simple method for sorting seeds packets by planting time and tell you about all my favorite seed sources.

4. Use A No-Dig Approach Growing flowers is fun way to connect with nature. I think you will be amazed at the positive impact a small stretch of cutting flowers can have on your heart and soul, not to mention your family and friends and local ecosystem. I use an organic, no-dig method in my flower gardens, although these tips will work no matter which method you use. No-dig means disrupting the soil as little as possible when planting. But of course, if I have to dig a hole to plant a bulb or tuber, I will. Otherwise, I do not have a need to dig and this keeps the structure of my garden soil intact. If you have not tried no-dig, I encourage you to try it. It’s easier than you may think and is so much better for your soil in the short and long run. No-dig is also a lot less work than traditional farming methods. Check out my downloadable cheat sheet that can help you set up your very first no-dig beds. Making no-dig beds is so fun and easy, I would not be surprised if you don’t get hooked on replacing lawn with flowers. Flowers that come from a no-dig or no-till method of growing possess a magical quality that other flowers simply do not have. If you want to find out the difference, commit to a no-dig approach. You will be so glad you did!

5. Enrich Beds For Ongoing Productivity I plant my flower beds in waves. I start planting seeds at the end of February and plant the last wave in August. This means I have ample flowers all the way up until my first hard frost. But it’s not like I am busy planting all the time. I usually plant a whole row or half a row at a time. Then I don’t need to plant again for weeks in between plantings. When the flower-growing season is over, I chop my annual flowers down at the base, spread out a layer of newspaper and cover each bed with a couple inches of compost and finally a tarp or roll of weed cover. I have found that the time when I am not gardening is just as important as the time I am gardening. When I am ready to start planting beds I have already used, I will add a bit of Nature’s Intent organic fertilizer as well as some wood ash from my wood stove and coffee grounds we save from our morning habit. Before I plant anything, I top off each bed with an inch or so of fresh compost and direct-sow my seeds. Using this system, my beds stay healthy and fertile year after year with very little fuss. When you are direct-seeding your beds, planting in harmony with your best growing season is crucial. My method of planting is so relaxed and easy, I have plenty of time to check the weather.

6. Make Seedling Protection Priority One The reason I am so successful growing direct-sown flowers is that I have a simple system I use for early protection of seedlings. Nothing matters as much to me as protecting my seedlings until they are at least a foot tall. This system is outlined in my no-dig flower bed cheat sheet. I kept the instructions short and sweet so busy people can understand the concepts and plan on incorporating them into their flower garden plans. Three products contribute to my extremely high seed direct-sow germination rates: floating row cover by the yard, metal hoops for creating tunnels with row cover and slug repellant. Without these three supplies, I would have to grow my seeds indoors under grow lights or in a greenhouse and go through the arduous, back-breaking process of hardening-off and planting seedlings. My flower gardens grow in a simple four-step process: bed preparation, direct-sowing and seedling protection. Once flowers are established, all I have to do is water them. That’s four steps. The rest is flower heaven. And here’s the kicker: all that push to grow seeds indoors and all the fuss and mess and spending that go with it–you don’t have to do that. Will my direct seeding system work work in your gardening zone? You will have to experiment to find out. But you may as well try it before you spend all that money on a greenhouse or the materials for starting seeds indoors!

7. Borrow This Plan For First-year Success You can have a spectacular garden in year one if you use this simple plan and follow the instructions in my no-dig cheat sheet. If I were to start growing over again, here’s what I would do. I would plant one 30-foot bed for hardy annuals perpendicular to the trajectory of the sun. Then I would plant another 30-food bed six feet away from that bed for the second wave of hardy annuals. Then I would plant another 30-foot bed for tender annuals six feet from that bed. Then another for the second wave of tender annuals six feet from that. Finally, I would plant one more 30-foot bed for bulbs, corms and tubers. I grow daffodils, hyacinth, tulips, Siberian irises, and dahlias, which blossom in that order. By planting in waves, in long rows that are direct-seeded 3-feet wide and six feet apart from each other, it’s easy to irrigate or water beds by sprinkler or hand. That’s only about a 30-foot by a 40-foot space. You can totally hold off on purchasing irrigation until your second year growing flowers, if necessary. Just plan on watering in the evenings, after dinner. You can grow a ton of flowers in beds a fraction of the size I just recommended, so go ahead and adapt this plan to 10-foot long beds or 20-foot long beds, if you want. Just be sure to always leave six feet between rows. Otherwise you won’t be able to get between your rows at the height of the season. Keep in mind, less longer rows will be easier and cheaper to irrigate than more shorter rows.

If it’s your first year growing flowers and you want to be amazed by how much you can grow primarily from seed, mark off space for your beds now and gradually prepare the soil between now and January, February or March–whenever the weather is appropriate to start direct-sowing hardy annuals in your zone. My helpful two-page cheat sheet can help you grow flowers wisely and in harmony with nature. The earth will thank you and you will feel that renewed connection with mother nature from your very first day practicing no-dig gardening.

Maybe people avoid earth-friendly practices because they think they are too hard or too expensive or too yuppie. But no-dig flower-growing techniques are actually easier, cheaper and more socially responsible than what we have inherited. In fact, if we all moved in this direction this coming year, we could make a global impact, just by growing beautiful no-dig flowers. The birds, bees and butterflies will thank you so kindly your first year growing, you will never look back. Future generations will also thank you for gardening sustainably.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. I hope these tips are helpful and inspiring. Happy gardening!