Why I Write About My Garden


It’s National Career Development Month. And more specifically, it’s National Career Development Week, so I thought this would be the perfect week to share a few things I’m often asked when it comes to blogging as a career (or as something more than just a hobby).

First, a disclaimer: I don’t consider myself a career blogger. I suppose I’m a professional blogger, as I’m paid to do it, and that constitutes a job of some sort. But even if I weren’t paid to blog, I’d still be doing it because I love it all the same. That’s how I started, and that’s how I’d end it — if that day ever came.

And I guess that’s the first “rule” of blogging as a career: Blog because you love to.

I didn’t start writing for an audience. In fact, Garden Betty was privately published for the first couple months, intended only as a diary of the whats, wheres, whys, and hows of my garden. I was writing to document the surprising beauty and variety of food that can be grown by somebody who, just three years ago, could barely grow a pot of basil. But I also wanted to share those discoveries with my friends, and I figured if my friends were reading, why not a few strangers who would appreciate them as well?

Every time I walk outside, I’m inspired to make something. I want to work with my hands. I’m filled with so many thoughts and ideas and questions and answers. I start with a sentence in my head and finish with a story on my site.

I write about my garden because there’s so much to learn from the soil that translates to life. There’s wonder and joy and frustration and heartache. Battles to pick and thorns to pull. Sprouts to celebrate and bounties to thank.

I write about my garden as a reminder that living simply is living well. There may be days when I’m too busy to pull the weeds in the beds, or too tired to make a meal at home; when I wonder if it’s worth the time and energy to create something that can be so easily bought. But then I’ll remember — I can’t buy the gratification that comes from gathering breakfast from my own backyard. I can’t buy the experience of raising a purple carrot from seed and back to seed again two summers later. These are the things that should be on everyone’s “100 things to do” list.

Maybe that’s why I really write about my garden. Living off the land is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It truly is one of the great adventures of life, and a narrative worth sharing.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Cathy Thompson
    November 12, 2013 at 2:05 am

    I only discovered your blog about a week ago – found the bit about toasting the pumpkin seeds. Your inspiration got me taking the extra time. Really enjoyed your post above and looking forward to exploring more!

    • Linda Ly
      November 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks Cathy! Hope you enjoyed the pumpkin seed recipes! (I’m tempted to buy more pumpkins just so I can toast more seeds.)

  • The Horticult
    November 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Linda, what a moving essay! You capture the quietness and exuberance of gardening so brilliantly. (Both here and in your other posts.)

  • Rozzie Mistry
    November 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I long for the day when blogging may sustain me financially so I can spend more time playing in the dirt (garden) instead of being at pesky old work haha. Its so true though, there’s nothing quite like the feeling and reward that comes with starting off a plain old looking seed into something you can sustain yourself from for several meals.

    • Linda Ly
      November 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

      It takes a great deal of patience, faith, luck, and sweat for blogging to bring in a decent income… but it can happen, especially in this day and age! When it comes to this type of thing, I say pursue the passion first – and then the money will follow.

  • Ian Harrold
    November 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Great post!

  • Jenn
    November 11, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for a beautiful explanation of the wonder of gardening. I only write about mine in my garden journal but I feel the same wonder. Last night we had cream of celery soup made from celery I grew by sticking the bottom of a bunch of supermarket celery into the dirt a few months ago. What a delightful miracle- trash can become treasure with earth, rain, sunshine, and time!

    • Linda Ly
      November 12, 2013 at 1:02 am

      I love finding new ways to “reuse” the odds and ends from our food!

  • Ellen Hatfield
    November 11, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Thank you for sharing that it’s National Career Development Week! Also, thank you for sharing why you do what you do. As a career counselor, I think it’s important for people to see examples of people following what they love, for a career. So often people are unhappy with their career choices and that ends up filtering into every other aspect of their lives.

    • Linda Ly
      November 12, 2013 at 12:58 am

      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always believed you should do what you love and take pride in it… because why would you not?

  • iwonaw
    November 11, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I am more of a silent reader, but I really enjoy your blog 🙂 I like your writing, it shows that you are passionate about your garden. Keep on blogging 🙂 Greetings from Vienna, Austria!

    • Linda Ly
      November 12, 2013 at 12:56 am

      Thank you for visiting all the way from Vienna!


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