Friday, May 2, 2014

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: Review and Giveaway



The central message of author Niki Jabbour's new book, Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans that will change the way you grow your garden is that food can be grown anywhere when cultivated a little creative thinking.

Niki Jabbour, author of Groundbreaking Food Gardens

Those of you who have follow this blog will know that I have been a fan of Niki's writing for sometime. 

She's a smart, passionate Canadian gardener whose innovative use of cold frames to extend the gardening season inspired hubby and I to design a way to transform one of our raised beds into a cold frame each fall. 


It takes less than an hour to transform the raised bed into a cold frame. You simply fit the cold frame sides into position like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (no nails) and attach the three plexi-glass doors on hinges. We store the component pieces in a shed during the summer. If you missed my posts on our cold frame design here are the links: About the Cold Frame and the "How to" post.



In her continuing search for inventive ways to grow food, Niki has collected 73 themed garden plans from a diverse and varied group of gardening experts.

The list of contributors is impressive and reads like a who's who of the gardening world. There are well known American writer's like Amy Stewart, whose "Cocktail Garden" is filled the ingredients sure to add a fresh zip to evening cocktails. 

The book also contains original designs from prominent Canadan writers like Marjorie Harris, who offers a "Partially Shaded Vegetable Plan" for less than ideal light conditions, and Liz Primeau, whose "Garlic Sampler" mixes a flavourful range of garlic bulbs, with plants like thyme to suppress weed growth, and keep your garlic patch low maintenance. 

Each of the book's plans includes a profile of the contributor, the concept behind their design....

Illustration courtesy of Storey Publishing © 2014 by Niki Jabbour
Groundbreaking Food Gardens, Storey Publishing

a beautiful illustration...

Illustration courtesy of Storey Publishing © 2014 by Niki Jabbour, 
Groundbreaking Food Gardens, Storey Publishing


and a plant list. 

The design themes vary widely in style and include everything from a "Chicago Hot-Dog Garden" from writer Amanda Thomsen (author of Kiss My Aster) to an "Elizabethan Garden" by Stephen Wescott-Gratton, senior horticultural editor of Canadian Gardening magazine.

Challenges like size and location are also addressed with ideas like a rooftop farm and an apartment balcony container garden by Canadian garden writer Andrea Bellamy.

Even if you are not looking for a whole new garden design, there are an abundance elements that you can adapt to an existing garden.

Illustration courtesy of Storey Publishing © 2014 by Niki Jabbour
Groundbreaking Food Gardens, Storey Publishing


This "Comfrey Tower" contributed by author and blogger Emma Cooper caught my interest. 

It produces a "comfrey tea" that is rich in potassium and nitrogen. (Comfrey is a deep-rooted, leafy perennial that is rich in these nutrients.) 

Here is how Emma's Comfrey Tower works in a nutshell: Comfrey leaves are loaded into the top of an 8" PVC pipe. The rotting leaves form a "tea" that drips down through a mesh screen into a bucket at the base of the tower. When diluted with water, the Comfrey "tea" makes an excellent fertilizer for food crops like tomatoes, fruits and peppers which love the high-potash feed.

For so many of us, it has been a long winter and a cold, wet start to the gardening season. 

I think that exciting 2014 book releases like Groundbreaking Food Gardens may be the perfect inspiration to finally get things growing this spring!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

I have a copy of Groundbreaking Food Gardens which I am going to give away in a draw.

To enter the book draw, please leave a comment below. I ask all entrants to make sure there is some kind of link available to their email address. (I need to have a way to get hold of you should you be a winner!)

The Groundbreaking Food Gardens book draw will remain open for one full week.

About Niki Jabbour:



Niki is a garden writer and radio host from Halifax, Nova Scotia. In her first award winning book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener (also Storey Publishing) Niki showed us it was possible to have homegrown, organic produce 365 days a year. 
Niki's radio show the Weekend Gardener airs live on news957.com and is also available in podcast form. Niki's work can also be found in Gardens East, Garden Making and Canadian Gardening magazines. Follow Niki's adventures on Facebook or at http://yearroundveggiegardener.blogspot.com

Canadians can purchase of Groundbreaking Food Gardens by clicking here.

You may also purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.com by clicking here.

28 comments:

  1. Am loving this book! (don't put me in the draw please) Honestly, I had a hard time putting it down reading almost a quarter of it through. The illustrations and watercolors are beautiful as is the text. You showed firstly, my favourite so far. Great Giveaway Jennifer!

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  2. It does look like a wonderful book, and I am liking the idea of the Comfrey Tower.

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  3. thank you for the chance to win this lovely book!

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  4. Wow, I had never heard of the book. It sounds awesome. Every year I say I'm going to get better at growing food. I've never had a designated space because my ornamentals rule the roost. So I just end up mixing things in here and there. I'd love to read it. Thank you for a shot at the title. :0)

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  5. Count me in on this drawing! I have and love Niki's Year Round Vegetable Gardener book. She's a fantastic writer and creative gardener.

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  6. I'd love to win this book - such great ideas you've shared already!

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  7. Hi Jennifer
    Count me in please! I have always admired people who had success with vegetable gardening. So far, tomatoes is all I have had the courage to try. And they weren't fantastic…..

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  8. I'm kind of digging the comfrey pipe thing, I might give that a whirl. Very interesting.

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  9. I'm also a big fan of Niki Jabbour. Please put my name in the draw. We are currently resurrecting a kitchen garden. Just today we gazed at it and said how nice it would be to have a sitting area in the centre. Super smart idea for the comfrey tea. I have a book giveaway on the go too if anyone is in a winning mood.

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  10. I am a fan of Niki's as well....she is such an inspiration!!!!! And how cool is that "comfrey tower"!?!? Count me in friend! I would love to find new and inventive ways to grow! A wonderful weekend to you Jennifer! Nicole xoxo

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  11. It sounds lke this is packed full of useful information, Jennifer.
    I really like the idea of the cold frames too!

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  12. Sounds like a great inspirational book!

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  13. Another beautiful book. The illustration of the design for the vegetable garden you showed is a gem. When I see this I want to change my garden, but no I should be wise.....

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  14. I love edible gardens and this is a clever concept for a book! The comfrey pipe sounds like a brilliant idea.

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  15. Love the comfrey pipe as well and I am ver intrigued...if I don't win a copy I will be buying one...I will eventually get my cold frame.

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  16. What an interesting book, I'd LOVE to go in the hat, that's if it's open to UK readers. xxx

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    1. Yes, I am including overseas readers, so your name will be in the draw Snowbird.

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  17. I wish I had more space! Going to try some containers on the deck this year though. Great post.

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  18. Thank you so much Jennifer for the lovely review - and hosting the giveaway!! I really appreciate it.. good luck to all who enter! :)

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  19. Woo hoo! What an awesome giveaway! I'd LOVE to win and use this book! Thanks!
    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

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  20. Great giveaway! I would love to win this book as I love gardening and have been growing organic veggies for 4 years.

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  21. I have this book and love it, but I would love to give a copy to my friend!

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  22. What an interesting book! I can't wait to have a garden again! Happy May, Jennifer! :)

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  23. Thanks for all this wonderful info! Love the comfrey tower!! We need to build some old frames as it is always nice to have salad stuff from the garden!!

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  24. So interesting, I would love to get my hands on a copy of these Jennifer. We've completely changed our style of gardening here and are now incorporating some edibles throughout the flower borders and beds as opposed to dedicated vegetable gardening. So far its working wonderfully fingers crossed we are hoping for a bumper year.
    Paul :)

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  25. Sounds like a worthwhile book. I'll have to see if our library has it.

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  26. I like the illustrations and coordinating plant list. It looks like a great book.

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  27. I'm fascinated by that Comfrey tower, I've read before and forgot of course..sigh that the leaves were really good fertilizer. Wondering if I could turn that into something that makes say a manure tea...hmmm you have got me thinking.

    Jen.

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