My guest for this episode is Niki Jabbour, a garden writer and author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.
I’ve been aware of Niki and her work for sometime having read her book after my wife checked it out of the library. I wound up buying a copy for my wife because she liked it so much, and I in turn find more to like about it every time I sit down and use it as a reference.
In our conversation together, Niki and I talk about her book, the writing process and working with her publisher, gardening in a cold climate year round, and the way we can use our ability to build or modify things, such as cold frames or recycle materials in clouches, to extend the season. She also shares some of her successes, failures, and ongoing experiments before closing out with her encouragement for each of us to get out there and garden. We close with a brief overview of her next book.
I find her book invaluable for permaculture practitioners, especially those working in a cold climate, working in Zones 1 and 2. The clarity of information, and the many useful hints and tips make this easier on you, with a complete strategy for using the techniques inside. If you know what your first and last frost dates are, you’ll know when to plant your vegetable crops for year round harvesting. And, at under $20 new from the publisher, it represents a good value.
The layout work the publisher did, with the charts, color coding, and clear index, make sorting through to find what you need simple. As a general gardening book, there’s plenty to go off of, plus you can readily adapt what you find using the principles of permaculture. Also, Niki is doing this, so you get to see her with her garden, working in it year round, including in the snow.
Whether you’re new to gardening, or find that what you’re doing doesn’t work, or simply would like another voice from the gardening world, it is worth picking up. And, as Kirsten Reinford mentioned in our interview together, farmer’s are considered new or beginning for their first 10 years, and I think it’s fair to place gardeners in that same category. Even then, there is an imperative for life long learning and adaptation.
The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deb Martin
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
Growing a Greener World and Joe Lamp’l
Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof
Veg Plotting by Michelle Chapman. The garden blog home of the 52 Week Salad Challenge.
Canadian Pesticide By-Law Information:
Law and Ornamental Gardens – Non-essential Pesticides
Banning Cosmetic Pesticides in British Columbia
Ontario and Nova Scotia Lead the way on Pesticide Bans
Day Length Calculator:
The link below is a simple way to find out when in the year your day length slips below that magical number of 10 hours of daylight. You’ll need to know your latitude, which you can find by doing a web search using your nearest city name and latitude, or look up your address with Google Earth.
Enter the latitude on the right hand side of the utility, then using the slider, move the point along the curve to see when the Number of Daylight Hours dips below 10, and again rises up to 10. Note the dates on the bottom of the graph, and you now know the period when the amount of daylight is too short to grow most plants.