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

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  27 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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Sara
Jul 07, 2011 Sara rated it did not like it
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
Dec 10, 2010 Crazyredhead17 rated it really liked it
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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Danette
Jun 07, 2017 Danette rated it liked it
As a friend once told me about my dreams for a garden, "just start!" You can't wait for everything to be perfect. It's fun to learn as you go.
I could have done without the climate change blah, blah, blah.

A book about a hobby.
Rachael Quinn
Mar 28, 2012 Rachael Quinn rated it liked it
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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Tyson Heck
Thus far, the book is not a "how to" but reasons why people should consider backyard gardens. Health, location, simplicity, and value have all been discussed. Chapter 4 was the first chapter when the narcissistic tone begins, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around how an author who has such an open mind for something she loves cannot take that concept and apply it to other aspects of life. I rarely have time or patience for those who cannot keep an open mind- isn't that how we learn?

While
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Alanna
Mar 01, 2014 Alanna rated it it was ok
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 really liked it
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
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
May 19, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
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
Apr 11, 2011 ElroyStrongjaws rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2010 Suzanne rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
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.
Jenny
Apr 25, 2012 Jenny rated it liked it
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.
Linda
Jul 05, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Dec 21, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
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.
Carol
Feb 27, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing
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!
Susan
Jun 28, 2012 Susan rated it it was ok
Of course I would be reading this!!!
Megan Butcher
Dec 29, 2011 Megan Butcher rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Well written, but still a little overwhelming to someone who wants to garden, but hasn't managed it yet.
Jane
Dec 09, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
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.
Carolyn
Nov 25, 2010 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: schtdy-owned
Interesting read -- read it awhile ago and still find myself lending it to people. Worth checking out!
Maggie
Jun 18, 2011 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chris
Aug 17, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
This book is available in the Larkspur Elementary School library.
Cindy
Feb 28, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it
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.
Sheryl
Feb 10, 2013 Sheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
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.
AJ
Feb 01, 2011 AJ rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Scott Hokunson
Scott Hokunson rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2013
Kim Denise
Kim Denise rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2016
Amy
Amy rated it really liked it
Aug 10, 2011
Tracy
Tracy rated it really liked it
Jul 30, 2012
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