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Who is The Gardening Cook?


Carol ImageWelcome to The Gardening Cook! My name is Carol Speake, and I’m the founder of The Gardening Cook, a place to find not only lots of great gardening advice and wholesome healthy recipes, but also household tips and home decor ideas to make your time at home easier and more enjoyable.

At The Gardening Cook, it is really my hope that I can help others find ways to have a balanced, natural life.  I will teach you how to make easy healthy meals, and provide practical advice for all areas of your home and garden.

I have loved nature since I was a little girl. I am happiest digging in the dirt and showing love to my family with good, wholesome food.

I come from a long line of gardeners, and remember fondly trying to steal peas from my great grandmother’s garden, until she discovered me three. 

My love of gardening has continued to this day and I read constantly trying to increase my knowledge of outdoor plants, vegetables and houseplants.

I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the propagation and sale of indoor plants. 

Later, my husband and I were owners of a reticulation company which provided watering systems for homes and commercial businesses.

I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught cook and long time horticulturalist.The Gardening Cook

About the Gardening Cook

I started this blog late in 2012 as a hobby, to share my garden photos and recipes with my family and friends. At the time, I had an online jewelry store and wanted a more creative outlet.  

Little did I know then, how much I would love to photograph and work with photo editing and share garden and home advice with a growing following of like minded readers.

As my photography skills improved, so did my readership.  Now, less than four years later, I have turned The Gardening Cook into a full time job.  

I have worked with many companies to promote their products and messages with my readers.

My first love is gardening.   I watched my mother, who was always busy (with a family of six children and a husband most often working away) tending to her gardens.  

It gets hot here in North Carolina, but you will still find me out in my garden, doing what I love the most – making our outside living area a beautiful place in which to be.

Summer time Gardening Tips

My second love is cooking.  Once again, this love formed when I was young.   I have always loved experimenting with new recipes.  I’m not a person who cooks with recipes, even though I provide them all here on my blog. 

I love to add a bit of this and a bit of that and see how it works.  Some are successful and some, well, not so much, but it’s all fun.  I told my daughter the other day “the way you learn to cook, is to cook!”

Many of my recipes have been featured on both Food Gawker and Taste Spotting.  My  homemade marinara sauce  is one of my most popular recipes on the site with over 200,000 page views.. 

I love to feature healthy recipes, or to slim down versions of normally decadent recipes. Incorporating garden veggies in my recipes is something that I never tire of.

grilled pork with strawberry peach salsa

My third love is what I call “nesting.” Basically, anything to do with making a home more comfortable and inviting appeals to me.  For years, I spent a great deal of time in DIY home decor projects.  

I especially love to transform areas of my home in need of some loving TLC. My before and after posts are very popular with my readers.


Find me on Social Media.

I am very active on social media, where I have a very engaged following of over 120,000 fans. These are my four major social media channels.

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram

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Do you like what you see here?  If so, hop on over and sign up for my newsletter. Each time I have a new blog post, you’ll get an email with an overview of the post to help you stay up to date with my latest news.

The Gardening Cook Newsletter

Like mother, like daughter, Jess has her own blog called Jess Explains it All.  (The irony of the name never escapes me!)  Jess is the light of my life and I mention her often in my blog posts.  

Be sure to visit her site. She talks about many of the same things that I do, but also has her own interests as well, and it’s a great blog.  You can also find her on Facebook at Jess Explains it all.

Jess is also the primary author of posts on my sister site, Always the Holidays.

Sunflowers and My daughter Jess

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Md Roman

Sunday 9th of January 2022

Hey Carol Speake!

I read all your content and can learn a lot. In fact, your blog is very useful. I really like the idea of making your recipe. You said your mother loved the garden. And after that, I saw a statue in the picture. Why are you keeping it in the garden? I have a website that is about gardens

Carol Speake

Sunday 9th of January 2022

the statue belonged to my mother.

luna mistica

Sunday 14th of February 2021

please add me to your email list. thank you.

Carol Speake

Monday 15th of February 2021

You have been added to the email list. Thanks!

Steve Blomgren

Saturday 25th of May 2019

HiCarol, you recommended 20. Mule team liquid borax weed killer to kill creeping Charlie and I can’t find anyone who sells it. Do you know where I can buy it? Or do you know if I can make it from Borox powder and water? Thanks, Steve


Saturday 25th of May 2019

Hi Steve. I got mine at the grocery store. Most of them sell it here. It's available with amazon. Not sure about making it yourself.


Wednesday 1st of May 2019

Question for you on the recipe for plant food. When feeding do I use 1/8 -1/4 of the total gallon concentrate to 4 cups water OR do I use just an 1/8 -1/4 Cup of the concentrate to the 4 cups of water. Confusing for an old senior! Thank you


Wednesday 1st of May 2019

Hi Jean. I have several recipes for plant food on my site. Which one are you asking about? Carol

Taste Sofia

Monday 24th of December 2018

Nice to be visiting your blog again. it has been months for me. Well this article that i’ve been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college. and it has same topic with your article. Thanks. great share.