Welcome 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 sale of house plants. I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught cook and family taught gardener.
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.
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.
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.
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Like mother, like daugher, 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.