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Book Review: The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener
How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year No Matter Where You Live
by Niki Jabbour

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener

248 pages
Storey Publishing, 2011
List price: $19.95

Growing your own food has become a priority in more people's lives in recent years for a number of reasons. Probably number one is having control over your own food, knowing that it's fresh and safe and better-tasting. It's also possible to save money by growing your own, especially if you grow it from seed and save those from year to year.

You might think that summer is really the only realistic season in which to grow edibles in your garden, especially if you live in the northern climates. There are also spring and fall crops that like cooler weather, but Niki Jabbour shows how easy it is to grow your own food even in winter. Even if you live in Canada. Which she does. Now if that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.

Niki explains that it's about the timing, no matter which season's offerings you want to grow. She lays it all out for you, including what to grow, how to grow it, and when to plant and harvest it. I was introduced to vegetables I'd never even heard of before, but then I'd never tried to grow anything besides spinach and carrots through the winter. Ever eaten mâche?

Included are simple plans for a cold frame and a polytunnel, either of which can be a gardener's best friend for growing vegetables when the weather turns cold. Niki shares various other ways in which to extend the growing season for appropriate vegetables.

I found this manual for successful year-round growing to be one of the best I've seen on the subject. Following Niki's lead, there really is no excuse for not having fresh food on your table, whether it's January or June.

Niki Jabbour is a food gardener and garden writer who lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the host of The Weekend Gardener, a call-in radio show, and her articles have appeared in numerous gardening magazines. Follow her vegetable-growing adventures at

Read more garden book reviews.

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.