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Niki Jabbour does it again with Groundbreaking Food Gardens.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens Giveaway!

If you’re looking for a good gardening book to curl up with this winter, Groundbreaking Food Gardens is my pick for 2014. Niki Jabbour, author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, has collected an impressive series of vegetable garden designs from 72 (73 if you count her own design) renowned gardeners around the USA and Canada. Having read it from cover to cover, I can honestly say it “fills the well” for idea-strapped gardeners everywhere.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens is chock-full of beautiful illustrations, complete with a numbered legend of plant varieties for each clever garden design. Niki is an expert interviewer (having the first-hand experience when she had me on her radio show, The Weekend Gardener)  so naturally, the book flows through conversation after conversation with garden pros like Joe Lamp’l, Amy Stewart, Rebecca Sweet and Jeff Lowenfels.

Niki Jabbour does it again with Groundbreaking Food Gardens.
Niki Jabbour does it again with Groundbreaking Food Gardens.

Given that Niki lives in Canada, much of the book offers seasonal tips for northern gardeners, but she didn’t leave out the south entirely. Nan Sterman and other prominent lower-latitude gardeners weigh in with their designs. You may need to tweak the timing or plant varieties in some places, but the take-away design ideas are still applicable all over the world.

Marjorie Harris's Partially Shaded Garden is for those dealing with less than idea sunlight conditions.
Marjorie Harris’s Partially Shaded Garden is for those dealing with less than ideal sunlight conditions.

Take Marjorie Harris’s shade garden design above, for instance. She used a checkerboard pattern of white pavers to reflect light back to the plants, giving them a little more heat and light to boost vitality. Folks dealing with shade issues can steal this garden design to improve their growing conditions.

Gardens don't have to be square.
Gardens don’t have to be square.

Emma Cooper‘s Circle of Life Garden was one of my favorites because it incorporates a chicken run around the perimeter of the garden. Fear not, the chickens are kept in check with a retaining wall, but there is still easy access to the run to gather manure for compost bins and to drop off garden snacks for the hens.

This Slow Food Garden celebrates the local food movement.
This Slow Food Garden celebrates the local food movement.

Laura Henderson‘s Slow-Food Garden offers a comprehensive chart of succession plantings for each bed in each season. It includes compost bins tucked under a cleverly designed water catchment roof (lower left) that drains into rain barrels. I loved this design because of it’s orderly state, which satisfies the OCD in me.

Got winter? This fall/winter veggie garden is for you.
Got winter? This fall/winter veggie garden is for you.

The book wouldn’t be complete without Niki’s own design: the fall/winter garden for northern climates. She helps cold-season gardeners get the most out of their garden space with cold frames and hoop tunnels covering cold-weather veggies.

The book offers designs for small spaces, containers, and vertical growing situations as well as traditional garden beds. It explores layouts for everything from biodynamic farms to school gardens, to 4’x10′ patches of land. There are even some humorous garden designs, like the Chicago Hot Dog Garden. From backyard brewers, to pizza-centric, to bee-friendly gardens, Groundbreaking Food Gardens will leave you with ideas for every corner of your property.

The Giveaway

Now for the fun part: Gardenerd is giving away a copy of Groundbreaking Food Gardens! Post a comment below before October 8th, 2014 and we’ll choose a winner at random. The winner will be announced in the Oct. 9th Weekly Update, so make sure to subscribe to the Gardenerd Gazette. Now get posting!

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Luke Pitman

    My wife has become obsessed with winter gardening (thanks to Niki). This means that I have been spending a lot of time repurposing old lumber and windows and PVC into cold frames and hoop houses. First fall salad tonight of pak choi and arugula (and some other spiky greens). Well worth it.

  2. Aubriemcg

    i was introduced to Niki at a trade show where she was speaking
    G. Her passion for gardening and her appreciation for a northern climate will put this book on my ‘must read’ list!

  3. michael bernstein

    Imm about to ‘break ground’ on a new garden in the spring. Seems like this book could help, and give me something to read during the winter!

  4. April Farley

    I love the fact that there is a plan laid out for fall and winter gardens. That is exactly what I am in need of! I also love the illustrations and that all gardens large and small can take part .

  5. Andrea Dowdell

    Great ideas for any garden big or small. Lovely illustrations!

  6. Dave Gates

    I love learning about gardening. It would be a wonderful prize.

  7. Erika Collins

    Very nice post, intriguing book. I would love to have a copy!

  8. patrick

    another great book from niki like the recycling station pg 87 building one asap

  9. Susan

    Love reading your blog! Now I am inspired to plant kale again!

  10. Genevieve

    Looks like a great book! I’m always up for new ideas, and love the illustrations!

  11. Andrea Bell

    We’ve begun the process of removing all the thirsty grass from our front yard, which is where the sun shines best for us. This book looks like just the inspiration we need to complete the transformation into our dream of an edible garden. I love the drawings in the book and the fact that she shows examples of many gardeners ideas. Thank you Christy for sharing your undying passion for growing food with us all.

  12. Janice

    I’m looking forward to your fall planting class later this month!

  13. Carol Lightfine

    Love your garden layouts. Do you have one with pungent plants on the perimeter to deter deer?

    1. Christy

      Carol, Niki has a Wildlife Friendly Garden with tips on how to keep deer away.

  14. Jennifer

    This book looks amazing! I think a couple of those gardens could solve a few problems for me. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Christy

    This looks like a wonderful book! I’m always looking for new ideas.

  16. jason heath

    The illustrations are very nice.

  17. Cathy Rehmeyer

    Niki’s writing is top-notch, and it looks like there is something in this book for everyone. Thanks for your review and the chance to win. 🙂

  18. Matt

    The book looks great! I love seeing the big picture approach and think it’s often missing from gardening books.

  19. Chris


    I can’t wait to read for all the great garden design ideas!

  20. stuart hammerle

    We totally need this book to advance the state of gardening here in Philadelphia, PA !! Beautiful book too !!

  21. Deanna Wilmshurst

    Love the cover! Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

  22. Lisa Roberts

    I keep collecting gardening books – and the *next* one is going to turn me into a great gardener.

  23. Carole Coates

    Love Niki’s work–inspirational, easy to read, approachable. Would love to have this book.

  24. Patrick B.

    Your book ” Year Round Vegetable Gardener” has been a great inspiration and demonstrates the adaptability and capabilities of us Canadian gardeners. I look forward to reading your new book. Thank you.

  25. Kellye

    I’m so glad to see this, and in perfect timing! I am hoping to start my garden very soon. Thank you for writing this book!

  26. Candace Musolino

    Great pick Christy! Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I already love the garden designs shown here. How clever!

  27. erin bodashefsky

    I truly respect your passion for gardening and you tips of the trade 🙂

  28. Ann Marie

    Nikki’s book have a unique edge over the many others I own. When you read you know you are uniquely able to apply her tips anywhere in Canada and beyond.It isn’t about simplicity.. It’s about basics with class applied. Excellent books

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