The garden path less trodden: Niki Jabbour brings new vegetables to Maritime gardeners
‘It led me down this global garden journey’
Seven years ago Niki Jabbour introduced Maritime gardeners to winter gardening, and now her latest book has hundreds of suggestions for vegetables you may have never heard of.
Veggie Garden Remix got its start when Jabbour's mother-in-law pointed out to her that ornamental gourds she was growing were actually edible. She knew them from her home country of Lebanon.
"I started to look for other vegetables that she might know from Lebanon, it led me down this global garden journey," Jabbour told CBC's Island Morning.
"We grow a lot of Lebanese and Middle Eastern vegetables, Japanese vegetables, Indian vegetables. I love to eat, I love to cook, so I'm always looking for new things to grow."
Jabbour's new book promises 224 vegetables to try, from ground cherries to piracicaba to a collection of unusual tomato varieties.
Gardening 365 days a year
Jabbour's first book, Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, attracted a lot of attention, and she said she is still harvesting 365 days a year.
She said there are a lot of advantages to winter gardening.
"There's no deer eating my plants, there's no slugs, there's no aphids, there's no weeding, there's no watering. In the wintertime the only thing we do is harvest," she said.
There are lots of vegetables — including carrots, beets, kale, spinach, Asian greens — that can survive with a cold frame, row cover, or deep mulch, she said.
Jabbour also had words of comfort for those who lost plants to the late frost this June. You are not alone.
"It's been a bit of a challenging spring for most Maritimers," she said.
"I did lose some early-planted annuals. A few things I thought I would try to get a jump-start on, and in the end it wasn't much of a jump-start."
Jabbour will be on P.E.I. Tuesday, giving a talk at Carrefour de L'Isle St. Jean at 7 p.m.
More P.E.I. news
With files from Island Morning