You Know You’re A Veggie Gardener If…

You go to Costco and buy one thing – Sluggo in bulk – and ask for 8 large cardboard boxes to take it home in so you can smother more lawn.

You frequent a horse stable even though you have no interest in riding horses.

You have a ridiculous multi-component compost hierarchy to handle kitchen scraps and you assume this is normal:

“The old oatmeal can go to the chickens, but not the orange rinds; they go to the worms, and the cabbage core goes to the worms too, and so does this pizza box I brought home from the work party, but it goes on top of the worm bedding to keep fruit flies down, not buried down in the bedding. The fish bones and the young coconut husk we can put in the pit compost trench I just dug, and the drier lint and old rags can go to the outside compost bin. Oh, but make sure to separate the coffee grounds, I need them for the blueberries. And the egg shells – those I keep under the sink until I bake them to feed back to the chickens. What do you mean you put the egg shells and the coffee grounds in yard waste already? What the hell? Why is this so hard to understand!?

You’ve gardened with a head-lamp.

You’ve thought massive jet-lag that leaves you wide awake at 3 am gives you a nice opportunity to be out in the garden before anyone can bug you.

You stop into the the local bakery and teriyaki place weekly just to see if they have any old 5 gallon buckets they might give you.

Is this heaven, or the Territorial Seed Company store?

You’ve ever taken a vacation to a garden or farm.

You “rescue” compostables (coffee grounds, paper plates from picnics, leftovers from a friend’s kid’s birthday party) with mildly inappropriate frequency and a complete lack of discretion. But hey, it’s not like you dumpster dive…yet.

When you see free scrap wood by the side of the road, you actually stop and pick it up. It’s a potato tower in the making!

You know exactly how many bales of hay the trunk of a Honda Accord can hold (one).

You are on first name basis with the guy who runs the tree removal and stump grinding service even though you’ve never had a tree removed because he drops 10 cubic yards of wood chips in your driveway twice a year.

You have passionate conversations about the relative merits of different overwintering cauliflowers.

You will freely and generously give plant divisions, starts, transplants and seeds to other gardeners, but you are shockingly miserly about your soil, shaking off any excess from plant roots and recapturing any dirt you rinse off in the garden in a five-gallon bucket. Hey, you’ve put years into that soil.

You have more fruit trees in your postage stamp yard than the rest of your neighborhood combined.

You regularly spend more on seeds in a given month than you do on produce.

Your idea of a very romantic anniversary present is a drip irrigation system for the raised beds.

You have empty canning jars under your bed to put by the bounty. And in the laundry room, and tucked behind the tv, and above the washing machine…

You lust over exotic edibles you know you simply must grow – like goji berry and and medlars and paw paws – even though you’ve never purchased, used, or eaten any of these edibles and you have no idea if you’d even like them.

You frequently wonder if you could guerrilla garden the park where no kids ever seem to play and turn it into the neighborhood giant pumpkin patch.

You are incapable of committing to anything in August because your garden will need you.

You have “good” garden shoes and “working” garden shoes. And both are covered in shit.

You’ve subjected guests to photo tours of germinating seeds.

You use terms like umbelliferous and cruciferous to describe things that aren’t vegetables. As in:

“Oh, in Seattle everyone has Gore-Tex, so nobody really uses that umbelliferous rain shieldy thing.”
“Um, you mean like an umbrella?”
“Yeah, right…isn’t that what I said?” 

You pee in your garden (for the nitrogen, of course!).

You cook meals and describe every course as follows: “This is ______. I grew it!”

Weekends are your time to “go to work” in the garden.

You frequently resent the non-edible plants in your garden and think things like, “A hedgerow of blueberries would work better in that space than those dwarf rhododendrons, anyway!”

The phrase “shade tolerant edible” makes you gasp in delight.

When friends ask you to go get a manicure with them, you just laugh and laugh and laugh.


  1. Melanie says

    Totally!! Someone who understands my ways. My Hyundai Accent fits 2 bales of straw and 2 bales of pine needles [ pine needles to mulch my front yard blueberry hedge of course! :-) ]. I also received a medlar tree as a wedding gift. The fruit is good, but has bigger seed to flesh ratio than most of us are used to.

  2. says

    Yup! I can identify. By the way, I just read an article about coffee grounds and it turns out that they are no longer acidic after you have made coffee. The acid goes into the drink and leaves the grounds fairly neutral, so you don’t need to save those for blueberries. They can go to worms or the regular compost. I was trying to remember where I read the article so I could give you the link, but my brain is not that good.

  3. bevykona says

    hey orange peels hurt worms. they are too acidic and can actually burn their skin and mouths. leave them out of the worm bin. :) they aren’t good on onions, either. they love fruit, bread, cereal, etc. i have been reading a lot on worm bins and worm food. i had no idea on the orange peels. i want my worms to be very happy so i dug through all that mess and pulled out orange peels. lol

  4. says

    Is it bad that I was scribbling notes during this? Or that I had to stop reading to text my husband and remind him to bring me home the buckets he’s been promising. I actually said to him the other day… If you don’t have buckets, don’t bother coming home.

    I was kidding. Sorta.

    We had to open the green cones recently to start some vermicompost, the worm population in those suckas completely made my freaking day. Maybe weekend even.

    I’ve also been encouraging the dogs to pee (but not poo) in the yard waste compost bin. They are taking to this training swimmingly. In the current absence of chickens, are doing a remarkable job of turning and trampling. They will be very sad when the garden fence goes up.

    I am currently shopping for chick supplies on Amazon.

    This is what my life has become. Glad to know it’s “normal”. Or at least typical.

  5. says

    guerrilla garden … unless it’s amid the jungle gym, in which case it might legitimately be called a gorilla garden. And yes, you should totally put in a neighborhood pumpkin patch. The prospect of harvesting their own halloween pumpkins should secure you the support of the kids.

  6. says

    Guilty!!! That is so funny! I asked my husband for fruit trees for Valentines Day and when he mentioned he could have got me a bouquet of roses I smiled and told him how about a rose bush that I can actually grow {and get rose hips from ;o)} instead of something that will be lovely for just a few days. I am guilty of almost evrything you mentioned. Ha ha ha ha ha! Love it! I am not the only semi-insane gardener after all….

    • Morgan says

      That just reminded me to talk to my brother about holding the sludge from the bottom of his various brewing stages. Must kill slugs for free. I really wish I had a neighbor cow or goat to feed my dandelions and blackberry shoots to and neighbor chickens to toss bugs and slugs to… Being Urban is so hard!!!

  7. queen of string says

    I have one to add, when you find out your new friend has a rabbit, you ask her if all her poo is accounted for and if not can you have some? You know she is an ace new friend when she is completely unfazed by this :-).

    My rural corner store are saving their icecream buckets for me. That was a useful conversation, I am looking for work just now and the owner, as a result of me starting the conversation about the buckets offered me some seasonal hours shucking icecream if I still need them.

  8. says

    As I read each item on your list, I was thinking, “Check. Check. Check…” all the way through. Add “picking up bags of leaves you’ve convinced people in the neighborhood to leave in front of their houses all fall, desperately wanting to build a small shack/outhouse in the yard to hide a pee bucket in (using the leaves as cover & then adding it all to the compost pile), saving the Spanish moss that protected the roots of shipped bare-root fruit trees to use as cover in the outside pee bucket, saving all the rocks unearthed from digging tree holes to make swales and berms for rainwater retention, having salad for breakfast because the lettuce needs thinning, and laughing as neighbor after neighbor stops by to ask why you’re building bleachers when you set the wood for your new raised beds up on 5 gallon buckets to make painting it easier.”

  9. says

    The hubby bought me a voucher for a mani/pedi last year…I kept thinking the entire time that I hope she doesn’t take off my calluses since I had beds to dig! haha

    I just watched your YouTube video on Brussels Sprouts – it’s lovely to be able to connect a ‘real person’ with your blog. And love how you haul the little one around like a little papoose :)

  10. says

    Ha! I’ve done nearly everything listed.

    In my case, the headlamp gardening was part of a “what the hell were we thinking, planning not one but two vacations in August?!” The one day between them that we were home I never went to bed. I stayed up, planting, harvesting, canning, and freezing. I barely got repacked in time to leave the next day. And yes, I did insist that my husband purchase a couple more headlamps as back-ups after that.

    My husband just gave all three of our avocado trees a diluted pee-drink today.

    Our guest room is really a harvest storage room that happens to have a bed. There’s jars under the bed and 50 odd lbs of winter squash on the floor surrounding it. A crate of sweet potatoes blocks the door to the closet – which is filled with canning supplies, and the mini-fridge holds the surplus eggs and garden harvest.

    Our “middle room” is actually a bedroom, but it also has the primary access to the back yard. That room doesn’t even have a pretense of being a bedroom; it holds poultry feed and supplies, seeds, and right now, multiple flats of starts.

    I have no idea where we are going to put the kids, once we start having them…

  11. says

    Erica, this is nothing less than brilliant. Thank you so much for the wonderful read. I am going to share it with my members in my upcoming email blast. I assume that’s okay with you?

    As I was reading, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh that one’s my favorite, oh wait, ahhh…that one’s even better!” And on and on I went through the entire list. Needless to say, I loved them all and I guess I’d have to say…I am VEGGIE GARDENER!

    Looking forward to reading more of your work.

  12. says

    An irrigation system would be the BEST Valentine’s Day present! I haven’t given or received one and I think my hubby would feel the same…thanks for the uber romantic suggestion. :-)

  13. Leah Adams says

    I am guilty of every single one of those except resenting non-edibles & peeing in the garden. The non-edibles shade the edibles in the Texas summer afternoons! And I have a chain link fence, so not too much privacy there.

    Another one. You plan your shopping trip route by how many coffee shops you can pass. Not for the coffee, but for the grounds! My record is 12 in one shopping trip.

    I’ve got a Honda Odyssey. It will hold 110 cubic feet of…mulch, compost, coffee grounds, rocks (though I do tend to carry less of those, they are heavy!), pig, horse, buffalo, chicken, and/or goat poo. All of the aforementioned are why the husband unit bought his own car.

  14. says

    Bwa ha ha! Love the post. I built a bunny box so I could collect poo from a bunny I do not own … long story: kids’ daycare has a bunny that started chewing on its plastic box and I actually (twice!) hand-picked all the plastic out. And then I got wise and refused the next batch until I could build stacking boxes. Now I’m in hog/bunny heaven!

  15. Cynthia in Denver says

    No matter how Long a shower I take or how meticulous in my grooming before husband comes home, he always knows when I’ve been gardenung because he says I can never get the dirt all out from the nails!

  16. Mary Hall says

    OMG, I’m so embarrassed, because this points out in one article the person I’m becoming! lol.

    Lots of good ideas though! :-)

  17. Danni says

    I read and nodded my way right through this. Guilty as charged. I’ve stopped on the side of the road to gather pine needles for mulch and didn’t think it was an odd thing to do. Our kitchen sink is so full of buckets for various kitchen waste, there’s barely room for the dishes. Lol I even posted my cress growing experiment ‘From seed to salad in seven days’ on Facebook, complete with daily photos!


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