Year 10

Every story has a beginning, and mine began on September 9, 2010, when I had a little idea: I wanted to start a blog. The very one you’re reading!

Linda Ly
Year 10

Every story has a beginning.

Mine unfolded on September 9, 2010. I had a fun idea: I wanted to start a blog. I took a picture of my summer harvest and wrote my first post.

I told a few friends and my mother-in-law (I also told my own mom, who had no idea what a blog even was), and opened up the comments to anyone who might accidentally stumble upon my little corner of the Internet.

I wrote about anything and everything: seedlings, sunsets, surfing, making potting mix. “Content” was simple back then because I didn’t see it as content, I just wanted to share what made me happy. And if I could get a free pair of garden clogs out of it, hooray!

But exactly one year later, out of the blue, I was awarded “Best Gardening Blog” by Country Living magazine, in a time when blogs were still quirky and novel and something you did as a hobby.

That was when everything changed for me.

(Keep reading to the end for something fun!)

Garden Betty hanging 10 on the edge of a boulder

Never did I think that little passion project could turn into my job, or that 10 years later, I’d still be hustling all things Garden Betty and doing work that I’m absolutely obsessed with — in a good way. I love the unexpected turn that life has taken, and the opportunities my blog has opened up over the years.

In the decade that I’ve been sharing all things gardening, chicken-keeping, cooking, and traveling, I’ve also…

Gotten married, visited 14 countries, written three cookbooks and republished one, gone on a cross-country book tour on the road, had a baby, had another baby, and summited dozens of peaks on foot, chairlifts, or long drives.

I’ve camped all over the American West with a newborn. I’ve brought home six pullets and five chicks. I’ve said goodbye to our pugs. I’ve lived in three different homes and moved to another state where the frost-free growing season is just July and August (for real).

I’ve canned hundreds of jars in my kitchen and cooked countless meals for family, friends, and strangers.

Garden Betty grilling over a fire near a lake in the backcountry

For the past 10 years, this little space has always been where I wanted to spend my time. When I started my blog and gave it a funny name (which I’ll get into in a minute), I didn’t worry about who was going to read my words or like my posts (mostly because I didn’t think anyone would).

I just wanted to write, play in my garden, and practice taking pictures of it.

Somewhere along the way, you joined me in this journey and I’m so glad you did. Your curiosity, kindness, and enthusiasm has pushed me to learn something new every day so I can share it with as many people as possible.

Without you, Garden Betty would not be what it is today.

But about that name… I wanted to blog about my garden. And I wanted to infuse a little personality into the name, so I decided to use a nickname I’d always had in California — Betty — a moniker given to a girl in the skate/surf/snow scene.

Garden Betty. The domain was available, and I bought it that day. No thoughts whatsoever as to branding, trademarks, any of that.

To be honest, if I’d known it was going to turn into a business, I might’ve gone with a different name. But it’s short and catchy and I’ve gotten used to answering to Betty (while also answering lots of interviews about how the name came about).

So, that’s the boring backstory to my blog name!

I’ve rambled on enough. Shall we celebrate?

To thank you for being a part of my story, I’ve got a bundle of cookbooks and a few of my favorite things to give away to two readers. (US residents only, sorry!)

Prize pack featured in Garden Betty's 10-year anniversary giveaway bundle

None of this is sponsored, I bought the items with my own money to support companies I love. There’s a gift card to Gardener’s Supply Company, heirloom seeds from Baker Creek (which accounts for more than half the plants in my garden in any given season), the same exact mug I use every day from United by Blue (perfect for holding a huge amount of coffee, chai, or tea), the best Tellicherry peppercorns from The Reluctant Trading Experiment, and non-toxic sunscreen from Goddess Garden.

These are all things I use almost daily, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too.

Enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form below (which will also sign you up to my email list, if you aren’t already on it) and while you’re here, drop a comment and let me know a favorite tip (or blog post) you’ve learned from Garden Betty that’s stuck with you.

The giveaway ends midnight (Pacific Time) on Thursday, October 1, 2020. Two winners will be chosen at random and emailed the next day.

I appreciate you! Here’s to the next 10 years!

Enter this giveaway

(Note: Mobile users will see a button for the Rafflecopter form above. If you’re reading this post on a phone and have trouble accessing the form, try it on desktop.)


  1. Congratulations! I am new to your blog and after reading your advice about soil amendments I am committed to do this in my garden this year. I really enjoy your posts!

  2. Congrats on 10 years! A friend recommended your blog to em when I moved to Southern California and got a plot at our community garden. Love your favorite things and Practical tips.

  3. One of my favorites that I recently read (though content may not have been recent) was about soil amendments beyond the big three macros. Now I just need to decide which ones to prioritize out of the 10…

  4. I found your blog a few months ago and the “Florida weave” and sand bucket were the best tips! congrats on 10 years.

  5. Chicken posts are what brought me to your blog years ago. Sincere congratulations on your last ten years. Cheers to the next ten!

  6. I loved your garden design posts! In addition, I appreciate hearing about your journey to purchase your land and how you’re turning it into something you love that is also good for our planet. Lastly, I felt a bit of camaraderie since I’m a So Cal (Encinitas) gal who moved north to Salem, Oregon. 🙂

  7. Congratulations! Your posts on growing the best tomatoes have been so helpful. I also enjoyed your planting calendar and you seem to have posts on all my gardening questions.

  8. Congratulations, Linda, on the 10 year anniversary of Garden Betty. I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 of those years. I loved reading about the plans for your new garden and look forward to seeing them come to fruition.

  9. Your site is a go-to reference for my home gardening and garden-to-kitchen cooking. Thank you for your decade of work!

  10. I can’t believe you’ve been doing a blog for 10 years! I started following you mid last year, and have learned quite a bit from you. I can’t point to a specific title of a blog, but there was one you covered about planting in pots. What size of pot, what type of plant, and watering schedule. I have had some success, but even if the plant dosen’t produce flower or fruit, I consider it a success if it last longer then a month(lol). Thank you for bringing us along in your journey of discovery and growth of your family.

  11. This year, my favorite blog post has been “Free fertilizer – How to grow fava beans as a cover crop” I inherited a community garden plot last winter and it had something growing in it that I had never seen before–fava beans!

  12. I really enjoyed & appreciated your post “How We Found Land to Build On — and How You Can, Too”. Thanks for all the helpful, thoughtful information you always share!

  13. I’ve enjoyed a lot of your tips, so it’s hard to choose. Purchasing from Azure Standard and your spreadsheet for home-mixed chicken feed really shaped how I care for my chickens. Thank you!

  14. Congrats on your tenth year! I’ve been reading the whole time. Favorite tips? Hmm. Mitsuba for shade. Oh, and how to fill a wall o’ water! Thank you! Here’s a tip for your readers: if you use a wall of water, you’re going to find out just how level your planting surface is, so check and level it out in advance. It’s not a pretty site when the whole thing collapses over onto your tomato. As me how I know…

  15. I’ve always loved 5 Things Friday… But there’s so much great info in your blog it’s hard to choose a favorite post. I’ve been following your blog since 2013 — maybe earlier? — I just looked in my in-box and the oldest blog post from you is from 2013. Congrats on 10 years! Following a passion always leads to an interesting path!

  16. I’m new to your blog and just enjoy your adventures and natural way of living. My daughter and her family were interested in Bend also so that attracted me to your story.

  17. congrats! I learned about growing beans (broad beans) to fix nitrogen in the soil in the winter from you! And then read about and drooled over the alpine strawberries that you posted, and how the yellow color doesn’t stand out to birds, so birds don’t eat them!

  18. Thanks and congrats! I just found your blog very recently so can’t come up with a specific tip but I enjoy your writing and how it just seems to flow effortlessly. Keep up the great work!

  19. So many things, but really, the post about keeping your tools clean without much effort was probably the best for me because I have ruined way too many tools from not cleaning them!

  20. I just planted Fava beans for my cover crop- and I might snack on a few too! Also… I keep dreaming about making my own chicken feed. Love your blog! Thanks!

  21. Wow, a lot of water under the bridge in ten years! Great job! I love your blog and my fave (so hard to choose) post was about growing veggies in containers/grow bags. I like the “recipe” for what goes on the planting hole. I’ve been gardening 50 years and am still learning new ways to be successful! Thanks, Linda.

  22. I love all your chicken tips and stories. I store them away with the hope that one day I will have a little flock of my own.

  23. Congratulations! I came across your blog in recent months and have fallen in love with it. I even bought your vegetable cooking book! I would love to see you publish a book that is focused on gardening primarily with recipes as a bonus. You’ve got such great tips. It was the Florida we’ve tutorial that brought me to the site, but I’ve also found the layer composting tutorial to be very informative as well. Thank you for doing what you do and I wish you the very best of luck in the new garden in Oregon. I will be following along and feeling inspired as I continue building out my own tiny farm on treasure Island in San Francisco.

  24. Congratulations, despite being across the country from me, your tips are helpful and useful. I have plans to clean & repair tools and found an old can of 3 in one oil for it. You also replied quickly to some questions I emailed.Thank you again.

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