Niki Jabbour’s The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener

Because of all the marketing hype around this book, I was a little leery reviewing it.  I wondered if the book could match the marketing hype.  With every book review, I read the book from cover to cover. Then I wait. I let the essence of book percolate. Reviewing [amazon_link id=”1603425683″ target=”_blank” ]The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live[/amazon_link] took a while.  It’s a big, information-packed book (225 pages, not including appendixes and index, which are an extra 20 pages).

If you live in northern climes this book breaks the current gardening paradigm. You can harvest fresh vegetables from your garden year-round! Niki Jabbour, in plain language, tells us in detail how to do it. There are sections on how to:

 

  • Extend your growing season, including row covers, cloches, cold frames, mini hoop tunnels, and unheated greenhouses

 

  • Use intensive planting techniques such as succession planting and interplanting to give you a continuous supply of vegetables

 

  • Design and plan your vegetable garden, from layout to crop rotation

 

  • Build your own cold frame.

 

I particularly liked Niki’s picks…the best cultivars or varieties for a year-round garden for each vegetable.  I can imagine a huge amount of time as well as experience went into compiling those lists. It will save gardeners hours combing through vegetable catalogues.

 

I also enjoyed reading different growers’ experience with year-round gardening. It’s encouraging to read about other gardeners’ journeys.

 

I wasn’t surprised to read that Niki Jabour also attended agricultural college. This book has solid horticultural science supporting it combined with experiential knowledge.

 

Are there any downsides to the book?

 

The one thing I observed is the high resource requirement – land and equipment – to become an effective year-round vegetable gardener.

 

Niki’s smallest garden design, the pocket plot (which according to Niki “is perfect for people with just a small space”) is a whopping 21 ft. by 12 ft. This assumes the beds are 3 ft. wide, 6 ft. long with a 2 ft. path. No tucking away in my backyard…the pocket plot design would cover my whole backyard. And I have one of the biggest backyards in my neighbourhood; most of them are half the size of my garden.

 

Growing year-round is equipment intensive, including grow-lights, cold frames, row covers etc.

 

As it is laid-out in this book, being a year-round vegetable gardener in Northern climes is not a very egalitarian activity. It requires access to a fair amount of resources, which not everyone has access to. I am crossing my fingers that Niki will write a sequel for truly small space vegetable gardeners!

 

But even if you don’t have access to large tracts of land or money & space for tons of equipment, or if you don’t live in a cold-climate area, this book is worth buying.

 

Why?  There’s valuable detailed information on:

 

  • Growing and harvesting 43 different vegetables & 10 herbs

 

  • Different techniques to grow more vegetables in the growing season

 

  • How to keep your soil fertile & healthy.

 

 

Final Verdict?

 

[amazon_link id=”1603425683″ target=”_blank” ]The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener [/amazon_link]won the 2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award because “among the many books on growing edible flooding the market lately, this book that stood out in all ways.” I second that opinion. For vegetable growers this is the “it” book to get.

 

A big thanks for Niki Jabbour for donating her book to all the garden writers at the Region VII Garden Writers Association meeting in Toronto this year.

 

For more about Niki Jabbour and her vegetable garden adventures visit her blog: Niki Jabbour- The Year Round Veggie Gardener.

 

Nikki Jabbour has generously donated her book for a giveaway.  All you have to do is write a comment about Nikki’s book. One lucky person is going to enjoy Nikki’s book. The draw is on Friday, June 15, 2012.

 

The winner of the draw is Kim Pieren. Congratulations!

Please email your mailing address, Kim.

 

 


Written by Cristina da Silva
Thursday, June 7, 2012 in Book & Product Reviews

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Comments

  1. Kate says:

    I would LOVE a copy of this book! In Washington on the border with Canada, it can be cold and rainy much of the year. I’d love to learn how to grow more food 12 months/year!

  2. Jeavonna Chapman says:

    Great giveaway. Fortunately my climate is milder, but these are great tips no matter where you live.

  3. Marie Isakower says:

    This sounds like the perfect book for me! I have a small yard (90X100) and have struggled on how to utilize the area for reaping the most Vegetables that I can! My soil isn’t the best either, heavy clayish! Any help with that would be great!

  4. I use many of the techniques in the book. using this book as a review and checklist is extremely handy.

  5. Susan Carey says:

    well, as a non-gardener-I need all the help I can get!

  6. Janis says:

    Would love to read this book! I am expanding my garden beds and have branched out into fall and winter veggies. The pacific west coast weather helps.

  7. Dave Chapman says:

    Niki’s principles can be applied to any size of garden. I used a mini tunnel for the first time and was eating salad and Asian greens by the time my pals were only thinking about starting to plant. My tomatoes in cloches are very happy! Can’t wait until the Fall, when the fun really starts!

  8. Linda Giddens says:

    Count me in for the possible book prize!

    Will I see you at the NSAGC Convention this weekend? Hope so.

    Linda

  9. Jess says:

    I would love a copy of this book! My spring and summer veggies are taking off and I’d love any pointers on how to stretch the productivity into the colder months. 🙂

  10. Lorraine Pigeon-Ivanoff says:

    Pick me! Pick me!!!! I already have a summer veggie garden going but my weakness is Spring – I always plant too soon, or the wrong thing, etc. etc. etc. also I tend to overwater.

  11. Jenny Thiele says:

    I would love a copy of this book. Just started following you on twitter…love the tips

  12. larry kolada says:

    Hi, I would also love to have a copy of your book. Been gardening for 25 plus years, but three years back was inspired by Patti Moreno and elliot coleman to start growing 12 months a year, although December and January all the plants remain in suspended animation to a degree. Great blog. Maybe I will finally win something?

  13. Leon Kowalewski says:

    Would love a copy of Niki’s book, I have just begun to follow her site.

  14. Ruth Moffattruthdmoffatt says:

    If this book has the same passion and enthusiasm as Nikki does, then it must be excellent!

  15. Mary Ann Cauthen says:

    I would love to have this book. I greatly enjoy the blog, & I know the book is full of great info! I live in west central Georgia, & I love being in my garden> thanks for the give-away!! Mary Ann

  16. Niki’s book looks fantastic…and I think we could use a little season extension here in southern Alberta; any information for growing outside of our two months(?) of summer is always welcome! I’m actually very pleased to have found your blog by way of Niki’s and I look forward to all your future posts.

  17. Lisa S says:

    I have been wanting this book for awhile now. I live up North and I want to become a year round gardener.

  18. Fred H says:

    Came over through the link from Niki’s blog. Very nice review. Hope i’m lucky enough to win the giveaway. 🙂

  19. Diane says:

    Living in the Pacific NW our growing season is often short. Will it be a green tomato summer this year? I would love a copy of the book to be sure I actually was able to harvest my tomatoes at the end of the season.

  20. Kim Pieren says:

    Would love to do this where I live!

  21. ron eagles says:

    i live in the same area as Niki and get her e-mails and listen to her radio show. when does she find time to sleep ? travels all over and takes pictures and blogs, plus works in her own yard. have not seen her book yet but plan to soon.

  22. Shelley Smith says:

    I live in central Oklahoma where our winters are much milder, but I learned a LOT from this book. I am looking forward to this winter as I intend to build two cold frames and grow spinach and lettuce through the winter. I borrowed this book from the library, and it is at the top of my book wish list 🙂

  23. Kelly O'Keefe says:

    Here in Berkeley we grow year round but could use some fresh ideas!

  24. Bethia K says:

    I live in southern Ontario, which is about as south as you can get with Canada. Still, it gets very cold in the winter, so this book would be so useful! I’ve actually been eyeing it for quite a while.

  25. barbara says:

    I was just talking about Niki’s book this past week – one of my young nieces was asking if I would write a book about year-round vegetable gardening and I told her, “It’s already been done!” and sent her to check out Niki’s book. This is a great resource book!

  26. Janet says:

    I’m so anxious to read Niki’s book. I’m 10th on the waiting list at the library and not sure that I can wait as long as it will take to have my turn to read this book. Over the past couple of years I have really been working on extending the growing season for my vegetable garden. Niki’s blog has been an inspiration for me. The photo of her cold frame surrounded by snow and filled with greens inspired me to build one myself – my first building project ever. The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener is the book I need and would love to own.

  27. kobyn says:

    would like a free book 🙂

  28. Connie Mock says:

    This sounds like a very interesting book…growing up on a farm and then moving to a small town in a somewhat warmer climate. I’m always looking for ways to utilize space and extend my garden. Thanks so much.

  29. j says:

    how cool! what a great book… and blog!

    strong work by all involved!

  30. Robin says:

    I would love a copy of Niki’s book. Like Janet (above) I am on a list at the library only I am 65th. I missed seeing Niki in Nova Scotia by a day. Am transforming much of my back yard into raised beds. Trying to grow veggies in teh winter will be a next step.

  31. Nance says:

    I would love that book because I live in Iowa and I try to garden from March to November . . . but I need help from Dec to Feb. I’m currently eating lettuce, radish and onions out of my garden (alolng with herbs) but am so anxious for tomatoes, cucumbers, pototoes and peppers. Thanks for your blogs.

  32. I was so lucky to sign out a copy of this book when it was first at the library and I really enjoyed it. But since then, every time I go back it is already signed out. I’m on a wait list to get it again. So having my own copy would be wonderful and a well used addition to my gardening books. I love that it is written by a Canadian so it applies to where I live.

  33. Next time I visit my peeps in Nova Scotia, I’m totally going to bother Niki for a garden tour. I love following her blog and reading about “home.” And I’d love to learn about more cool-weather gardening tips from her book!

  34. Heather says:

    I would be thrilled to win. Thanks!

  35. Chris says:

    I would love a copy of this book. That for sure would improve my garden life … and better my food supply!!!

  36. Erin says:

    Great book – I leafed through it at a local garden centre and have it on my wish list. As Nikki is ‘local’ I would be proud to have a copy of her book.

  37. Susanne says:

    This is my first year with a “real” garden. Until now I’ve been restricted to pots and window boxes. I’d love to have a copy of Nikki’s book. As a fellow Bluenoser, she knows what grows and flourishes in my region. I think it is important to grow your own food and know what went into making it. Please add me to the list of those who would like a copy of this book.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and honest review of this book.

  38. Denise Williams says:

    my brother reserved a copy of your book from the library, in toronto, he’s on quite a waiting list. if i could win a copy for him – i already have my own – i could get it to him quicker than the library! it’s awesome, i recommend it to everyone one i know who gardens.

  39. Glenda Meldrum says:

    I love this book,I have my own copy and have read it from cover to cover. It would make a great gift for my Mom and Dad who love to be in theIR garden during the growing season. With this book they could learn how to extend their time doing something they love after the snow falls. Mom and Dad are in their 70’s and have always had a large garden.

  40. Barbara Novellis says:

    I borrowed this book from the library(on inter-library loan, it came all the way from Barry’s Bay ON) but I NEED my own copy! It will be a reference book for anyone who wants to extend the gardening season. Thanks for running a give-away.

  41. Hello niki,
    I see you book on Facebook I would love to receive a copy. Thanks Vincent

  42. I’m really skeptical that this book will have anything that will work in Manitoba at -35 Celsius! Does Nikki need a tester? Would love to check it out to see what she’s got to over us very ‘northern’ climes!

  43. Niki says:

    Best of luck to all who have entered so far!! Thanks for leaving your comments on Cristina’s excellent website.. and thanks for your kind words regarding my book! They are much appreciated.. Niki

  44. E McBlain says:

    This book is on my wish list. Put me in the draw, please!

  45. Gizala says:

    I’d love to win a copy of this book! Things got in the way of setting up my garden this past spring but I’d love to see what I do in the fall.

  46. Ryan says:

    Sounds like a useful book for those of us in the north

  47. Preeti says:

    I am reading the book and I love the way she has put in the information. Very helpful for a person like me who moved to a colder zone only recently.

  48. Sarah says:

    I would love this book! It’s on my wishlist. My gardening goals include growing enough fresh food for my family for the summer and still be able to can a good supply for winter. So being able to produce year-round would be amazing!


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