Chris McLaughlin, Master Gardener

Chris McLaughlin is a Northern California master gardener and published author who has been gardening for more than three decades.


  • Master gardener and homesteader for over 35 years
  • Published multiple books and articles on gardening topics 


Chris McLaughlin is a former writer for The Spruce, where she wrote extensively on gardening, homesteading, and the care of alpacas and rabbits. McLaughlin is a modern homesteader with a strong emphasis on home agriculture. She and her family have actively pursued a self-sufficient and intentional lifestyle from their current country home, as well as in the suburbs for many years prior. They share their farm in California's gold country with horses, goats, bees, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and the occasional bottle lamb.

McLaughlin is the author of seven gardening books and owner of the Laughing Crow & Company website. She has been the home agriculture editor for From Scratch online magazine and a staff columnist at Vegetable

Gardens are a given at the McLaughlin homestead, and while vegetables, fruits, and fiber get top billing, you'll also find gardens devoted to flowers for cutting, wildflowers for bees, and dyer's plants for fiber arts.


McLaughlin completed the master gardening program in 2000 and extended her gardening specialty education by completing courses in The Wildlife Habitat Steward, Kids in Gardens Workshop, and Food, Land, and People programs.


McLaughlin is the author of several gardening books and one small livestock book including: 

  • "Heirloom Flowers: Bring the Vintage Beauty of Heritage Blooms to Your Modern Garden"
  • "A Garden to Dye For"
  • "Vertical Vegetable Gardening"
  • "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Small-Space Gardening"
  • "Hobby Farms: Small-Scale Rabbit Keeping"
  • "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables"
  • "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting"
Expertise: Gardening
Location: California
Title: Master Gardener

About The Spruce

The Spruce, a Dotdash Meredith brand, is a new kind of home website offering practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you create your best home. The Spruce reaches 32 million people each month. Learn more about us and our editorial process, and our commitment to ensuring we are providing you with the most trustworthy advice by certified experts for your home and garden.

More from Chris McLaughlin