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Grow the Good Life: Why a Vegetable Garden Will Make You Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
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Grow the Good Life: Why a Vegetable Garden Will Make You Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A lively, passionate argument for the backyard vegetable garden, drawing on science, history, and stories from the author’s garden.


Our parents saw supermarkets and processed foods as the height of convenience. But nothing is more
convenient than grocery shopping in the backyard. A vegetable garden offers the best defense against
rising food prices, the most environmentally s
...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Rodale Books
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Community Reviews

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Sara
The New York Times said this would inspire anyone who read it to grow a vegetable garden. So, as a person who has been procrastinating on that very task for four years now, I went ahead and ordered it.

I'd have to say that it didn't do its job very well. I'm sure Michelle Owens is a lovely woman, and I've checked out her Garden Rant blog, and I admire that she preaches being organic and not being consumerist about gardening. Great. But the voice she uses in this book is very difficult to like.

Sh
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Crazyredhead17
I received this book through a goodreads.com giveaway.

Bearing in mind that with the exception of certain shrubs and maybe cacti, I tend to have a black thumb, but after my tiny backyard grew tumbleweed this past summer. I went into this book hoping it was a bit of a how-to - it's not but I think it's better that way.

The book focuses on talking about how gardening is good and worthwhile, which is a boost I have needed in the past to get out there and tend whatever it was I attempted to grow. The
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Alanna
I just grabbed this on a whim, hoping for a nice light read to get me excited for the garden we're starting on. And in that sense, it was a success, because it did build my excitement. But I have to say that I came away from it not particularly liking Owens. She seemed so snobby (and I consider myself to be quite capable of snobbery, so for her to out-do me at my own game is really saying a lot!), going on and on about how ugly suburban America's yards are and how she would die of boredom if for ...more
Gil Lopez
Feb 22, 2011 Gil Lopez rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: my mom, home-makers, suburbanites
Recommended to Gil by: Daniel Simon-Bowman
Shelves: foodie
This is a great book for the beginning gardener. Although I don't consider myself a beginning gardener, I'm giving the book 4 stars because, it was fun and easy to read, it mentioned so many of the thought leaders that I readily referance in my daily conversations and Ms. Owens pulled everything together for the novice gardener to fully understand why it's an important act of self-reliance, health, knowledge and spiritual significance for a broad spectrum of Americans to start and maintain a hom ...more
Rachael Quinn
Last year we planted our first garden. If was rough. Our pepper plants only produced one pepper a piece. The onions failed. The only plants that did very well at all were the tomatoes, which we couldn't keep up with, and the cucumbers, which an inexperienced pickler accidentally let rot in the fridge. This year I set out to learn something about gardening before starting again. I wanted some nice, easy advice to get me started and maybe some encouragement too.

I chose Owens's book because of the
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Bonnie Rock Jewell
This was an informative book with very basic concepts. Although considering how basic the concepts were, the author went into such great detail to make her points. This sometimes became alittle boring. Usually I can finish a book much faster, but I found this one at times to be a little hard to want to pick up and finish reading. I even found myself constantly counting how many pages left in a chapter before I could start the next one and read something fresh. I do think her points about gardeni ...more
Emily
This woman clearly comes from a privileged place. She has gigantic irrigated gardens at both her city house and her country house, for example. Her kids seem spoiled. She recognizes the problems of processed food and grocery store tomatoes, but she does not seem to realize how tough it is for many folks to access a backyard garden. I was pretty annoyed by her privileged voice at times and can see where it could be extremely obnoxious or alienating to some readers. Taken with that grain of salt, ...more
ElroyStrongjaws
Her chapters were really interesting and I think she successfully teaches her readers to get dirty. I skipped the chapter about convincing the children to eat their veggies. I especially liked how she examined why Americans do not garden as a generational divide. She did her research about how we went from Victory gardens to Taco Bell. She's on board with writers like Pollen, Kingsolver, Schlosser and others who want to save us from our grocery stores. This is a really easy quick read that made ...more
Sarah
Provided some fun inspiration to get my butt in gear to take advantage of mild Seattle winters and plant some veggies. Lots of gardening books extol the virtues of healthy soil, and honestly tend to make my eyes glaze over. But Owens writes about soil in a way that is actually interesting and engaging and may someday inspire me to pay more attention to it!
Suzanne
This is not a what to grow and how to grow it as much as a why we should all be gardening. Michelle does give general ideas of things that work for her in her 20+ years of gardening experiences. Reading this has given me the extra push to work harder at putting a small garden in our backyard again. Hopefully this time I will have better luck.
Linda
A great book to inspire a Gardner who is philosophically motivated. I enjoyed the author's sense of humor and writing style, plus she peppered it with some interesting facts. I especially liked the chapter on soil.
Beth
Regardless of what some others say about this book, it should give you pause about our current food system and fire you up about growing your own. Not a how-to book, but a why-aren't-we book. I enjoyed it a lot.
Jenny
Didn't particularly enjoy the book although I suspect I would have liked it more if I weren't already a gardener. But I do agree with what Owens shares and appreciate the books, blogs and other resources she references.
Cindy
Great book for both beginners and experienced gardeners. I wish more wanna-be garderners would hear about this book and read it and get started. Lots of funny lines and lots of encouragement.
Carol
Read it to gain the confidence to grab a shovel and start your own garden. Or read it to be re-inspired if you already grow vegetables. I really liked this book!
Sheryl
Not a "how to" book...more of a "reassurance book" that makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my family and the environment by gardening.
Maggie
Not a book on "how" to garden, but rather "why". Opinionated, smart and funny - a good rant that sent me back outside to revel in some weeding.
Jane
Sorry the book didn't motivate me to start gardening. I passed the book on to a friend who does like gardening, and he enjoyed it.
Megan Butcher
Well written, but still a little overwhelming to someone who wants to garden, but hasn't managed it yet.
Carolyn
Interesting read -- read it awhile ago and still find myself lending it to people. Worth checking out!
Michelle McComb
I had a very hard time getting past the condescending tone of this author.
Chris
This book is available in the Larkspur Elementary School library.
Susan
Of course I would be reading this!!!
Diana
Diana marked it as to-read
Dec 14, 2014
Tom
Tom marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2014
Janie
Janie marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2014
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