Thursday, May 31, 2018

Veggie Garden Remix Book Review and Giveaway



I can't think of a gardening book that has generated more interest and excitement this spring than Niki Jabbour's Veggie Garden Remix. 

This, her third book, has garnished terrific reviews in both the print and online press. Readers on Amazon have given it 5 stars, and on Goodreads, it has been given a 4.5 star rating.

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, © 2011 Niki Jabbour. Published by Storey Publishing
Used with permission of the author.

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, © 2011 Niki Jabbour. Published by Storey Publishing
Used with permission of the author.

All the positive buzz not surprising. 

Niki created a reputation for being an innovative gardener early in her career with the publication of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener.  A few years have passed since its publication, but I still remember being amazed the first time I saw pictures of Niki in foot-deep snow harvesting fresh vegetables from her cold frames. At the time, I don't think most gardeners had any idea that cold frames had the potential of extending the growing season that far into the depths of an icy Canadian winter.

Photo of Niki Jabbour by James Ingram of Jive Photograph. Image from Veggie Garden Remix © Storey Publishing 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Fast forward to 2018 and Niki is back with another book that again may have a big influence on the way we grow edibles. This time it is less about how you grow vegetables and more about what you grow in the first place.

As Niki tells the story, it all began with a five foot snake gourd she had grown as a Halloween decoration. When her mother-in-law dropped by Niki's garden one day, she recognized the long, thin gourds as a summer squash she had enjoyed back in her Lebanese homeland. Niki was surprised to discover unusual gourds were edible and was thrilled to have the opportunity to share them with her mother-in-law who hadn't had the pleasure of eating them in decades.

Niki's garden in Nova Scotia. Photograph by Niki Jabbour

Up to that point, Niki had grown a traditional range of vegetables in her garden, but the snake gourd made her wonder if it were possible to branch out and grow other global edibles from places like India, Mexico, Thailand, Argentina, Italy, Japan and China. Very quickly she discovered that many unconventional edibles–pak choi, edamame, mibuna, bitter gourds, daikon radishes to name just a few– thrived in her Nova Scotian garden. 

Niki began to question the limitations of traditional vegetable crops. Why grow standard spinach when she could experiment with an array of greens like amaranth, orach, hablitzia and molokhia? They're far more heat tolerant than spinach and produce fresh greens all summer long.

Cucamelons. Photograph by Niki Jabbour

And why grow ordinary cucumbers when she could play with bit-sized cucamelons that had the familiar taste of cucumbers, but with an interesting a citrus tang. 

"Play" was the key to this new outlook. It's fun to be adventurous in the garden and try new things.

Another view of Niki's garden later in the season. Photography by Niki Jabbour

The challenge for Niki was to convince other gardeners not just to grow off-beat and sometimes odd looking global edibles, but to want to eat them in the first place. We are creatures of habit. We want our food to be comforting and familiar. When faced with something new, we judge it with our eyes. 

I think Niki has handled the challenge well by dividing her book into segments that pair standards edibles with their global relatives. For instance, she suggests that if you like broccoli, you'll like Piracicaba, Spigariello Liscia and Romanesco. 

A rainbow of carrots. Photography by Niki Jabbour

Like standard orange carrots? Then give these more unusual and delicious alternatives a go.

Some of these global crops hail from warmer climates, so Niki has added in a handy count of the days until harvest. She also provides some background on each of the edibles and growing tips that take the mystery out of the unfamiliar. 


This is by far the most stylish of Niki's three books. The design is smart and cohesive. The photography is just beautiful.

As always, Niki's writing is light, informative and entertaining. You can easily dive in and out of the book as time permits, or you may find yourself hopelessly drawn-in and read the whole book cover to cover. 

Many thanks to Thomas Allen & Sons for providing a copy of Veggie Garden Remix for me to give away. Because this book will go to a winner through the mail, we will have to limit entry to readers in Canada and the USA. 

Please leave a comment below, if you would like to be included in the book draw. The contest will remain open a little over a week (until Sunday, June 9th). If you are not a blogger, you can enter by liking the Three Dogs in a Garden Facebook page (there is an additional link to the Facebook page at the bottom of the blog). You are also welcome to enter by sending me an email (jenc_art@hotmail.com).


About the Author:
Niki Jabbour is the award-winning author of Niki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Remix, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, and Groundbreaking Food Gardens.
Her work is found in Fine Gardening, Garden Making, Birds & Blooms, Horticulture, and other publications, and she speaks widely on food gardening at events and shows across North America.
She is the host and creator of The Weekend Gardener radio show. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is online at SavvyGardening.com.

11 comments:

  1. I must buy this book!
    Have a sunny day :)
    Titti

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  2. Jennifer I would love to win this book....and I can't wait to read it. I have been trying to add unusual veggies in my garden the last few years....adds more flavor and more fun!

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  3. Wow, this would be so fun to try. Can't wait to read it.

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  4. I have finally got our raised beds set up and have planted vegetables for all of us to enjoy for the first time this year. Niki Jabbour's book looks like a wonderful read.

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  5. What a wonderful book..thank you for the chance to win.

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  6. I'd love to win this book. I've been thinking of trying raised beds. Interesting book.

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  7. Love her books! You can tell she's very passionate about growing edibles. She's also very interactive with her followers on social media.

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  8. I’d love to be entered to win her book. I too have a passion for the unusual vegetables! I’m always interested in trying new things!!

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  9. She's very adventurous with her veggies and obviously that has led to her trying out some very unusual and perhaps even difficult to grow vegetables too. I'm amazed that she has vegetables growing in her little cold houses. I suppose the sun helps. She looks so young ;-) for how experienced she is!

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  10. Thank you for an opportunity to win this book. I've been looking to branch out in my vegie garden!

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  11. As an avid gardener who loves veggie gardens I would be thrilled to win this book.

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