kale

kale
The overwintered kale is sprouting!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Philadelphia Flower Show

Ticket and brochures! Philly, here I come!
I can't believe it, but I'll be heading to Philly this weekend for my talk at the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show! It will be my first time at one of the 'big' garden shows.. Then, in mid-March, I'll be speaking at the Boston Flower Show and then Canada Blooms. What an exciting March!

I will be trying something completely new for me at Philly - I will be 'live-tweeting' the show.. That means that I'll be posting photos/info/fun tidbits from the show as I am there for the full day.. To follow my live-tweets, just go to my Twitter account. I will update my twitter feed throughout the show, so check back often. And, there will be a few blog posts on the show once I return. I can't wait to share the photos and plants and accessories and more with all of you!

This year's theme is Hawaii: Islands of Aloha and there will be some incredible exhibits! Plus, a huge garden store with hundreds of vendors.. How much can I fit in my carry on?? Seeds? Tools? Garden art? Hmm.. may need to take a few extra suitcases..

The 52 Week Salad Challenge!

Are you a part of this? Bloggers and gardeners from 8 countries are participating in a fun challenge that encourages you to grow/eat something every week from your garden. From cold frame crops to indoor microgreens, have fun adding homegrown greens to your table. I am really loving this idea that was thought up by a popular UK blogger.

Although the challenge started up in January, it's not too late to join! Check out the link below to discover how you can take part in The 52 Week Salad Challenge!!

The 52 Week Salad Challenge!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Inspiration - The Garden Shed

Alas, this gorgeous garden shed isn't mine, but rather belongs to an amazing gardener who also participated in my book. The interior light comes from a chandelier - functional and decorative! Love this shed.. not to mention the plantings around/on it..

Friday, February 24, 2012

Podcasting fun!

Me, Kathy Wood, Donna Balzer, Veronica Silva, Steven Biggs and Donna Dawson
I've been thinking about doing podcasts on this blog for years. As you can see, I haven't done so much about that.. Lucky for me, a few other (more organized, less lazy) bloggers podcast and have been kind enough to interview me in recent weeks. I thought I'd post a list of some of the places you can listen to some of my interviews (and my extreme fast talking!).

But, I'd like to know - What do you think about podcasting.. worthwhile or not? How often do you listen to podcasts on websites or blogs?

  1. Hot off the presses, here are two interviews from earlier today when I spoke to Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs, the authors of the fun book, No-Guff Vegetable Gardening - http://www.gardencoacheschat.com/year-round-vegetable-gardening/ and http://www.nononsensevegetablegardening.com/year-round-vegetable-gardening/
  2. I was interviewed in the garden by CBC's Margot Brunelle a few weeks ago. That piece has played across the country, most recently on The Story From Here earlier this week - http://www.cbc.ca/thestoryfromhere/
  3. An audio interview from last week on East Coast Kitchen Party
That's all I can remember at this exact moment! My next speaking engagement on Year Round Veggie Gardening will be at Blomidon Nurseries on Saturday March 3 at 1 pm. For more details or to register, click here


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interplanting fun!

I must admit, I'm a bit of an obsessive interplanter. It's funny how quickly a 2000 sq foot garden can feel rather cramped and I find combining 2 or more veggies/herbs in the same garden bed allows me to get a greater harvest out of the same amount of space.

There are many ways to interplant. I combine plants with different growth habits (upright and spreading), nutrient needs (heavy and light feeders), light requirements (full sun and partial shade), growth rate (quick and slow) and so on. In the photo at left is a classic interplanting combination - radishes and carrots. Carrots are extremely slow to germinate and grow, but radishes can sprout in as little as 2 days! Therefore, planting them together will mark the row for the slower growing carrots and by the time you're ready to harvest the radishes - in about 3 weeks - the carrots will just begin to need that space.

I also love to interplant salad greens - mesclun mix, lettuce blends, leaf lettuce, spinach, baby chard and more - in between my brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale). The low growing salad crops form a living mulch on the soil surface which helps prevent weed growth and water evaporation. Plus, it looks extremely ornamental! Check out the image below of my cabbages and leaf lettuces.

Another fun way to interplant is to use the shelter provided by taller crops, like pole beans to protect cool season crops from the summer sun. Under our A-frame trellises and pole bean teepees, I like to plant crops like arugula, spinach and pak choi, which typically would rather grow in spring, fall (in the garden) and winter (in a cold frame). The shade from the pole beans (or climbing cukes, gourds, peas, etc) is just enough to allow my cool weather veggies to thrive - even in July and August!

Some other combo's that I've had success with include beets and Japanese turnips between my broccoli, broccoli raab between my celeriac and celery plants, spring salad greens between my young tomato seedlings, soybeans between my leeks and pole beans climbing up my corn. So many possibilities for interplanting! What are some of your favourite combo's??

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slacker

I'm sorry that I've been a slack blogger the past few weeks! I have deadlines looming over my head (I don't dare look up because I know they're just hovering above me!) and I learned that if you spill tea (my hourly fuel) on your computer, it may not like that.. so, I was down for a few days with computer issues. Thankfully, they seem to have improved with a bit of TLC and a quick (aka panicked!) visit to the macstore.

I had a great book signing at the Seaport Farmer's Market in Halifax yesterday. It was great to see so many avid gardeners ready for spring! Thanks so much to Halifax Seed for hosting that book table and helping out. It was also lovely to see the return of Owen Bridge to the market. He brought his seed racks (Annapolis Seeds) filled with the promise of juicy, heirloom tomatoes, non-stop organic salad greens and much much more! His was a busy spot and by the time I left, his racks were starting to get a bit low. Also, Halifax Seed is now offering his seed in-store! So, if you can't get to the market, pop into Halifax Seed to check out locally grown, heirloom seeds from Owen. LOVE it!!

To procrastinate from work, I've been flipping through some of my favourite images from last summer's garden. Thought I'd share a few of them now. But, don't let the fact that it's still mid-winter stop you from planting. If you have a cold frame, get out and start seeding! I sowed a handful of cold season greens this past week in the empty areas of our cold frames - Wasabi arugula, Green Wave mustard, tatsoi, Red Salad Bowl lettuce and some spinach..

Broccoli raab interplanted between celeriac

Hello romaine!

For fun - On the left, here's what happens when you transplant carrots! On the right, a direct seeded root.

A lovely mixture of summer squash

Lemon cukes!! Can't wait for summer..

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Win a Copy of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener!!

Storey Publishing is giving away a copy of my book!! 

Click here to enter!!

Another mention of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener on one of my favourite blogs - A Growing Tradition. It was so kind of Thomas to share his photos (and his story) with me! I'm so inspired by him and his passion for edibles. It was fantastic to be able to include him in the book. (Also love his garden gnome photo!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener is Indigo (Chapter's) #1 Gardening Book!!

Wow, what an unexpected surprise on a Thursday. I just got word that my book is Indigo (Chapter's) #1 Gardening book in Canada! Honestly, such an honour and all thanks to everyone out there who has been supporting me!! Thank you!

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener Book Launch!

Look Ma! I'm on a poster!! 
Ok, I'll admit it, I really should have had this post up last Sunday, but I've been so busy that today is the first time I've had a chance to get to this.. plus, my sister just sent me her photos from the event, so I thought I'd better get this up!

The book launch took place last Sat at Halifax Seed. I am so thankful to all the folks at Halifax Seed (Tim, Nancy, Emily, Fraser, Carla, Jane, etc.) who worked very hard to make it a smooth launch and accommodate everyone who dropped by for the event. All in all, there were over 200 people who popped in to say hello, pick up a book and have it signed. Halifax Seed even ran out of books! It was such a great turnout and I just wish I could have spent more time talking to all the avid gardeners who came in! I'm very grateful for all the support from everyone and the genuine enthusiasm for year round gardening.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

If you didn't get a chance to come to the launch, I'll be at Chapters Bayers Lake this Saturday, Feb 11th from 2:30 to 4:30 signing books. I'll also bring some seed packet samples of some of my favourite cold season veggies to share - while quantities last! :)

I will also be at the Seaport Farmer's Market on Sat Feb 18th from 9 to 11 am! Come say hello and check out the market return of the wonderful Owen Bridge of Annapolis Seeds! I know I'll be picking up some seeds from Owen while I'm there! You will not believe how many heirloom tomatoes he's added to his 2012 catalogue!!


Me gesturing and talking during my 10 min presentation!

Too bad the screen is washed out.. I gave a short talk on
the subject of the book and shared some 'behind the scenes'
photos! 

Signing books! It was so great to meet everyone!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Upcoming events!

Don't forget that you can check my list of upcoming events at www.nikijabbour.com!

Mini Hoop Tunnels in Summer

The Evers late spring garden!
What do you do with your mini hoop tunnels once the warm weather arrives? Well, you could take them down and store them until autumn. Or, you can turn them into warm season veggie factories! Heat loving crops like peppers, eggplant, melons and bush tomatoes can be sheltered under the plastic of your mini hoop tunnels to help boost productivity - especially in northern and short season climates. Just be sure to leave the ends of your tunnels open to allow for good air circulation and pollination - from wind or insects.

Plus, the plastic covering will have already ensured that your soil has heated up to the ideal temperature for planting these tender crops. If warm season veggie seedlings are planted in soil that is still cold, they will sulk (wouldn't you?!). If you don't use a mini hoop tunnel, you can place a sheet of black plastic on the bed for a week or two prior to planting, but leaving your winter/spring mini hoop tunnels in place does the same thing and is less work! :)

It's a gorgeous day today (going to be 3 C) and our day length is now above 10 hours of sunlight!! (10 hours and 4 minutes to be precise), so it's time to start sowing those cold season veggies in any empty areas of the cold frames.. tatsoi, mizuna and arugula today.. maybe I'll go crazy and even sow a bit of spinach!

If you want to ask me your year-round gardening question, I'll be at the Chapters in Bayers Lake this coming Saturday, Feb 11th from 2:30 to 4:30. Drop in and say hi, or get your copy of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener signed. (I'll try to be witty!)

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fun on Richard Levangie's Blog!!

Although we've never met, Richard Levangie, the award winning Halifax writer behind this site, and I have enjoyed an online friendship for many years. He too understands the incredible lure of working the earth and growing food. I always look forward to reading his blog posts and articles. Some are fun and lighthearted, while others chronicle his personal medical journeys, which have not been easy to say the least. His brutal honesty takes immense courage, but his sense of humour is always tucked in there somewhere. You can't come away from his writing without feeling strong emotion - it may break your heart, but it will also lift your spirit.

One of the more fun aspects of his blog is the section called '25 questions'. In the past, he has interviewed a range of writers, including the acclaimed author, Silver Donald Cameron (intimidating!!)  I was thrilled when he added me to this group of esteemed writers. Click on the above link to read the answers to my 25 questions.

Jodi Delong's Review of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener

A link about my book in today's Chronicle Herald. Click here to read it.. Thanks so much to Jodi Delong for the piece.. She's had a horrendous week, and it was very kind of her to send me the link today when I know her heart is in other places..

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I love Seedy Saturday!!



Click here to visit the facebook page for Truro Seedy Saturday coming up on Feb 25th at St Andrew's United Church. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Media updates and tonight's talk

Ok.. this morning, Wed, Feb 1st, my appearance on CTV Morning Live will air at 8:15 am Atlantic time. I'll post the link afterwards.. but you can tune in live on CTV in the Maritimes..

UPDATE - Here is the link for the CTV Morning Live clip! Just click on the winter gardening clip in the video box. Note to self, talk slower next time!! :)

Then, this Friday, Feb 3rd, I'll be on CBC Information Morning talking to Margot Brunelle. That was also a fun interview! She is an avid gardener and we had a lovely chat as we toured the garden.

Tonight, I'll be at the Keshen Goodman Library in Halifax at 7 pm for my talk on Year Round Vegetable Gardening.. Halifax Seed will be onsite selling books and I'm bringing some packets of seed to give away - while they last!!

UPDATE - Another review of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener can be found here...

Happy Wednesday!