Thursday, March 1, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour

This has been the most unusual winter in recent memory and the milder-than-normal temperatures may have you itching to get gardening, especially with the Garden Show coming up next weekend, the hyacinths blooming in supermarkets, and the media constantly spreading the gospel of the local-sustainable-food movement. This is just the book to get you plotting a new vegetable garden, one that can sustain you through all the seasons including an average snow-belt-type winter.  Its subtitle is “How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year No Matter Where You Live”. It is a big claim, but seeing as how the author and her garden live in Nova Scotia, I think we can assume her methods will work in Southern Ontario. And according to the author, mid-March is a great time to get the first cool-harvest seeds in prepared soil, so pick up some carrot, radish, asparagus, lettuce, kale, chard and chive seeds. Next, get ready for some intensive planting, methods used by Mediterranean farmers to ensure non-stop harvests. Jabbour provides marvellous pictures of the types of soil ‘amendments’, sowing techniques, frames, incubators, plot designs, pests (and antidotes) and especially the mouth-watering harvests she has pulled from her 4-season garden. The entire second half of the book is devoted to the types of crops and edibles that can be grown in our climates, from asparagus to winter squash and a few new-sounding varieties in between (lemon cucumber or kohlrabi, anyone?). This is a handy, colourful, well-organized gardening text is a must-have for anyone wishing to grow their own produce, or anyone who just loves gardening. The photos of her ‘snow-garden’ will have you yearning for next winter, just to be able to pick your own arugula in January. Imagine!  

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on March 1, 2012. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian.   

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