Winter Gardening

Most gardeners spend the autumn months putting everything “to bed”—pulling any remaining dead plants; mulching; maybe planting some garlic bulbs for the following spring. Not Niki Jabbour! For her, winter is just another gardening season.

Niki is the author of Year-Round Vegetable Gardener from Storey Press. We exchanged books a couple of months ago, and I’m glad we did! Niki has worked out an impressive system of cold frames, row covers and hoop houses that keeps her in fresh food all year ‘round. The clincher? She lives in Nova Scotia. First-frost-in-October-and-last-frost-in-May Nova Scotia.

Year Round Veg Gardener CoverYear-Round Vegetable Gardener is organized by season and then by crop (vegetables and herbs), making it an easy reference. She covers all the usual suspects, and also some cold-hardy greens I’d never heard of, like mibuna, claytonia, and mâche. Well, I’d heard of claytonia, but only as miner’s lettuce, and I’d only seen it wild on our land in Washington.

Jabbour spent the time to get photos from all seasons to demonstrate what she’s talking about. She also includes the gardens of a few neighbors to present the widest variety of strategies possible. Photographs explain how to build some of the coverings shown.

The book has an engaging layout and a friendly, encouraging tone. Pull-outs and sidebars provide her favorite seed varieties, when to plant in relation to first and last frost, and other hints and tidbits.

Now, the rest of us have no excuse not to grow fresh food all year.

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