Graham Kerr’s Growing at the Speed of Life: So Much More Than a Cookbook (Plus a Giveaway!)

I come from a long line green-thumb-having, plant-loving, always-gardening people.  My Dad used to say my Grandma Earley could “plant a rock and grow a mountain”. 

You would think the trait to have a such handle on nature would be a strong one; I’m guessing it skips a generation or two.

I admit, I enjoy planting and growing things but the results are far from what someone with a  “green thumb” could accomplish.  Take the jalapeno bush I planted last year.  Even with my love and affection it is currently in the final throws of a withering death with one small, stunted pepper clinging to the last bit of chlorophyll in its stem.

This spring, I’m excited to turn a new leaf — for lack of a better term — with some help from a review copy of Graham Kerr’s Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year In the Life of My First Kitchen Garden (links to

Graham Kerr's "Growing at the Speed of Life".

Graham Kerr's "Growing at the Speed of Life".

I can’t really call “Growing” a cookbook because its so much more than that.  Along with 100 or so recipes, Mr. Kerr provides step by step instructions on growing, harvesting, and cooking an encyclopedic list of vegetables and herbs from artichokes to turnips.

I can only imagine…and I mean that literally…the rewarding feeling of cooking fruits and veggies that I’ve grown and harvested in my own backyard.

Since the garden at South Bay Foodies HQ is not at the peak of perfection, I spent some time reading “Growing” at the Manhattan Beach Botanical Gardens for inspiration.  I felt right at home around the sages, mints, thymes, and lovely flowers and trees.

Growing at the Speed of Life in Manhattan Beach Botanical Gardens

"I wish my garden looked like this!"

In this book, Mr. Kerr has done a great job of covering everything for the gardener turned chef or the home cook that wants to grow their own veggies.  The book begins with considerations on preparing your space for gardening and gives tips on making sure your harvest is successful.  Along the way he gives examples of his short-comings (don’t over-water!) and successes which let me know I’m not alone in my struggle to get food from my own little farm to the table.

Each plant that is covered comes with a side view of the vegetable, seen as it should be planted.   Also included are dimensions for spacing around the plant, guidelines for watering, and even notes on the bugs that might try to get to your harvest before you do.

Even if my garden doesn’t turn out well, I can see me referring to this book quite a bit this summer.  After all, I can always get veggies from the grocery store!

On another note, Graham Kerr will be appearing at the upcoming LA Times Festival of Books.  He’ll be doing a cooking demonstration at 12:30 on Saturday, April 30 and will no doubt be whipping up something from the book.

If you’re interested in winning your own copy of Graham Kerr’s “Growing at the Speed of Life”, leave a comment below!  Make sure you include your name and email address where indicated. Let me know either what you’ve had success growing or why you need help getting plants to take root in your garden.  One randomly chosen green-thumb — or green-thumb to be! — will get a copy of the book from the publisher (who was kind enough to let me have a copy to review).  Deadline for comments is Friday, April 29 at 6 PM PST.  If you have dreams of growing olives in Spain, I’m sorry to burst your bubble; Only U.S. gardeners are eligible for this giveaway.

Happy growing…and cooking!

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About the Author

Michael loves grilling, rum, and has a weakness for key lime pie.

4 Responses to “Graham Kerr’s Growing at the Speed of Life: So Much More Than a Cookbook (Plus a Giveaway!)”

  1. Like you, I (theoretically) have the green thumb gene, but have failed in my attempts to create a bountiful kitchen garden. My grandmother would spend every summer at our house, during which she’d build up a luscious garden we’d eat from all season. But after she’d leave, my mother and I would promptly ruin her garden through a combination of neglect, over-care, or just plain incompetence.

  2. I love reading
    I love to cook
    I love gardening
    So send me a book!!

    ps: I also like to write poetry (smile)
    Moma Jerrie

  3. Yes, you’re a poet and we all know it! 😀

    I know you’re gardening skills are already up to par (are we getting any fig preserves this year?) so I’ll send you a few recipes.