Before writing this post, I fondly read over the previous “Years in Review” from 2011, 2012, and 2013, and I’m astounded by how much has happened in the relatively short time I’ve been blogging. If I had to choose a theme for 2014, I think I would call it the “Year of Growth.”
Not only have I grown incredibly as a person through new experiences, but my career has grown in ways I never could’ve imagined, and my blog has grown into a repository of inspiration for visitors all over the world, giving Garden Betty its highest traffic numbers ever in 2014!
From when I first began writing to what I write now, four years later, there’s been a noticeable shift in quality and content — a shift for the better. I’ve put my energy into producing more personal stories, more in-depth articles, and more timeless advice that readers can refer to again and again. One of my oldest posts (knowing when to harvest garlic, written in 2011) remains one of the most-Googled and most-read posts on my blog — a fact that delights and shocks me.
This was the year we really dug (har-har) into the very foundation of gardening, from learning about the anatomy of a seedling and laughing about the sex life of squash to building a no-dig vegetable garden and improving problematic beds with the power of the sun. We planted a Three Sisters garden. We grew bigger tomatoes. And we explored a series of unconventional edibles for our garden, from salad burnet to black radishes.
We went behind the scenes with my backyard chickens and watched a video of Iman taking a dust bath. When she decided to stubbornly sit on an empty nest this past spring, we learned how to break a broody hen — and also got a surprise with the littlest egg my chickens have ever laid.
We stayed hydrated with fresh lemongrass-ginger ale, homemade strawberry lemonade, refreshing watermelon and lime agua fresca, and plenty of sangria (sparkling apple cider or lemongrass, ginger and peach, anyone?).
And if you were wondering why I didn’t post as many food-related recipes this year, it’s because my favorite ones ended up in my forthcoming book, The CSA Cookbook, which officially releases on February 16, 2015! Landing that book deal (and inking the contract on New Year’s Day, no less — what a way to start the year) was the most exciting and nerve-wracking high of 2014. I spent months developing, testing, cooking, shooting, and writing for the book, and I blogged about my journey in the “Making of a Cookbook” series.
Because so many of you amazing people turned up to preorder my book, The CSA Cookbook made Amazon’s Top 10 in the “Whole Foods” category and held the #1 New Release spot for several weeks. (Pinch me!)
I am so, so moved by the overwhelming support of my readers and the generosity of authors who’ve reviewed my book thus far. As I figure out my book tour schedule in the coming months, I sincerely hope I’ll get to meet many of you on the road so I can personally thank you for giving my blog (and my book) a reason to exist. (If you haven’t told me yet where I should be making a stop, please let me know here!)
All told, I’ll have uploaded 131 posts and 1,240 images by the time this year is over.
These were the best of the best… Garden Betty’s greatest hits of 2014!
Choose Your Adventure
- The Post-Apocalyptic World of the Salton Sea
- Finding God and Going Off-Grid: Salvation Mountain and Slab City
- Nothing Like a Sequoia to Make You Feel Young
- Backpacking Through Little Lakes Valley
- The Blood Moon
- How to Harden Off Your Seedlings
- Curing Your Winter Squash for Storage
- Fish Pepper: A Peculiar Pepper With Deep Roots in African-American History
- Pink Peppercorns: A Gourmet Spice Growing in the Backyard
- Garden Betty’s Chicken Feed Calculator For Determining Your Protein Content
In the Kitchen
- The Story of Bug (and the Homemade Diet I Feed My Dogs)
- Fresh Homemade Pasta (Using What You Already Have in the Kitchen)
- Small-Batch Grapefruitcello and Orangecello
- Fermented Hot Chile Sauce
- How to Make Nukadoko (Fermented Rice Bran Bed) for Pickling
Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for learning and growing every step of the way with me. These have been the most thrilling four years of my life, and I’m fired up to see what the next year brings!
Here’s to a bright and beautiful New Year full of life’s simple pleasures, at home and in the wild!