A Bluedot Favorite Read: Grow Now

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Emily Murphy’s new garden book inspires “how we can save our health, communities, and planet — one garden at a time.”

During a recent interview with Kaitlin Mitchell about her new line of eco-friendly garden tools, she enthusiastically told me about a must-read for home gardeners: author Emily Murphy’s Grow Now: How We Can Save Our Health, Communities, and Planet  — One Garden at a Time, published in 2022. 

I quickly ordered it and dove in, barely putting it down. Here was a book describing everything I felt about my gardening experience. This book reinforces my belief that taking out my grass and replacing it with an edible garden, filled with native milkweed and pollinator-friendly flowers, would not only create a healing space for my family but for the Earth. 

This is not a steps-to-growing-tomatoes guide, but a book on how we can fight climate change at home, in our gardens, one flower at a time. It’s about shifting perspective. It’s not enough for edible gardens to be organic and pesticide-free; we need to invest in our soil, create biodiversity, sequester carbon, and grow native, all from the comfort of home. 

Grow Now takes us on a journey, backed by science and hands-on experience that highlights how gardeners are redefining the garden:

  • Through the book, Emily Murphy offers practical tips on how to return our space back to nature (rewild), build soil health, create biodiversity, and grow beautiful, nutritious foods. 
  • She reminds us to be creative and work with our space, instead of pushing our garden to be something it is not. A rooftop micro flower farm in Berkeley is inspiring, as are her ideas for planting native plants in the forgotten hell strip (the space between the sidewalk and street), joining a community garden, or growing in containers on your balcony. 
  • She also delves into the philosophy that “gardening is climate activism” and a form of social justice right in our front yard. She shares how growing food in our own communities is “healing the bonds broken through environmental injustices.”

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Laura McLean
Laura McLean
Laura McLean is a native San Diegan who is the plant expert co-owner of Sweet Seedlings, and has spent over 20 years working for a nonprofit and as a marriage and family therapist. She has transformed her yard into an urban vegetable and pollinator garden, and strives to connect mental health, self-care, and a commitment to our earth with every seed she sows.
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