I’m going to let you in on a secret but you have to promise not to ruin it. There is still a corner of the internet that’s wholesome and good. There is a place where people aren’t at each other’s throats every second of the day. Positivity reigns. Smiles abound. You feel better, rather than worse, for staring at your screen. It’s time to talk about Big Veg Twitter.
Big Veg Twitter is exactly what it says on the packet. It’s a community of passionate growers of absurdly large vegetables sharing photos of their latest frankly ungodly creations. In this world, you are judged not by who you know or where you come from but purely by the size of your veg.
It is also a strangely funny place. There aren’t jokes per se, or even really banter. The world of Big Veg is far too serious for that. In fact, I cannot really comprehend what makes Big Veg Twitter so funny to me but I think the simplest way I can put it is these vegetables are wrong. They simply should not be. When I see someone holding a very, very large vegetable with a serious look it triggers something in the back of my admittedly underdeveloped brain that says this is funny. It’s as if I’ve found a secret game where one in every one thousand photos won’t be of a man beside a big pumpkin but rather a tiny, tiny man next to a regular pumpkin and it’s up to me to spot him.
When the second Melbourne lockdown began, I made growing vegetables my home project. This was a terrible idea. It’s far too slow, for starters. When you’re entirely devoid of other activities to fill your time, you can practically hear your poor little seedlings demanding to be overwatered. But I found a weird level of comfort spending my days flicking through photos of these absurdly big vegetables. They sold the dream of what is possible with my little garden if only I wasn’t so awful at every aspect of gardening.
For mine, the superstar of Big Veg Twitter is Gerald Stratford, who seems by all accounts to be a lovely gentleman whose feed gives off a vibe of gardening with your grandpa.
Every few days, Gerald uploads a delightful photo of himself with something absurd he’s grown, a sweet deadpan caption, and more often than not, his signature sign-off “cheers”.
In response, Gerald’s replies will then be flooded by hundreds of people commenting that, yes, it is a very big leek indeed or simply saying “cheers, Gerald!” Honestly, think to yourself, when have you last seen something so consistently nice on the internet?
That might be the thing I enjoy most about Big Veg Twitter. Sweet, uncomplicated pride in something you’ve made. What you’re seeing is the end result of months of hard work and effort coming to fruition, as a stranger beams with pride about how it turned out. Also, it’s quite funny to see a grown adult very proudly hug a cabbage.
When everything else in your feed is bitterly depressing or outwardly mean, Big Veg Twitter offers a soothing respite. I’ve become very protective of it. Wary to share it with the world in, say, an article in the Guardian that may invite people in to trample all over these lovely gardens. We have enough places filled with bitter irony, horror, and endless cynicism. This is not that place. Big Veg Twitter is the last good place online and I beg of you, please, please do not ruin it for me.