Friday, November 23, 2012

Late November in the Garden

It's just gorgeous out there - 12 C in my backyard and sunny.. the perfect garden-working weather. So, I pulled myself away from the computer to work in the garden for a few hours. It really needs tending.. I've been negligent for months and months, but happily things keep coming along. I'm also very thankful for the re-seeders like mizuna, mustard, arugula, mache and kale that have populated the garden with many babies that I can then dig up and move to new beds or the cold frames for overwintering.

Here's a glimpse into our garden on this lovely November day..

I love this 4 by 10 foot bed.. It's thickly planted
with arugula and spinach with young Red Russian
kale seedlings moved from other parts of the
garden. We'll eat the greens for months and then
the kale will take over in for a March bumper crop!

The arugula-spinach-kale bed covered with a
medium weight row cover.. A mini hoop tunnel
will soon be erected over top.

Beside the above mentioned bed, a bed of Japanese turnips,
two types of kale, radishes, arugula and mixed Asian greens.

Here are those mixed Asian greens. Love the
crazy colours and textures! Oh yeah, they taste
pretty good too! :)

Close up - Ruby Streaks mustard.. can't get
enough of this in salads. 

Oops.. the mild weather has made some of the Asian greens
bolt! No worries, the buds and flowers are edible too.

Green Wave mustard.. gorgeous texture!

Not sure who this mustard is, but his colour
is extreme red! A random ingredient in the mixed
Asian greens.  

Hello again Ruby Streaks!

This Italian parsley is re-sprouting.. shall I take
my chances,  dig it up and move it to a cold frame?

An experiment - Various mustards and mizunas
thickly seeded on Oct 1st. Now they're 2 to 4
inches tall and will overwinter for Feb/March. 

The carrots are covered with their foot of leaves.
In the back, a mature mizuna has been giving us
non-stop salads since APRIL!! Crazy productive!

Rainbow lacinato kale.. I love your blue-green,
red-veined foliage!

Done! This big bed is weeded and amended with
composted and topped with chopped
leaves/grass mixture. Time for tea!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Whatcha Want from Santa?? Garden Books!

Hot off the press! Andrew Keys wonderful new book!

I'm trying very hard to keep Christmas as uncommercial as possible and I am determined (stubborn) to do most of my shopping locally (can't get more local than a big pile of aged manure!!). That said, I also feel that it's my duty to support my local bookshops and have added a small (large) pile of books to my own Christmas list.. In my current article in the Halifax News, I profiled some of my favourite gardening books to hit the stores in the past year or so - mostly Canadian - and thought I'd share the list with you..

Which leads me to ask.. what have been some of your favourite garden books - old or new?

Read my article Here!

Award winning and slightly naughty!

Love Liz and loved this book.. interesting and


A Maritime classic full of Jodi's top plant suggestions

A fun and informative read from

Marjorie Harris! Great tips combined

with her wonderful sense of humour!  

Figs in Canada? Yep! Steven Biggs of Toronto
details his sneaky (and easy!) techniques
for growing a bumper crops of figs in the north.

Not released yet (Jan 2013) - BUT, this will be the big book of

2013!! Love love love Amanda and I've had

the privilege of previewing. Read my mini review below:

Here is my review 'blurb' from of Kiss My Aster -

Amanda Thomsen is a quirky, badass landscape genius! This is the first time I've read a garden book (or heck, any book for that matter!) that required me to use 'jazz hands'. And I liked it. Kiss My Aster is cavity-inducing eye-candy, but it's also packed with solid information that covers all aspects of crafting a stylish, yet stainable landscape. The choose your own adventure form is easy to follow and allows the would-be gardener to change direction when new inspiration strikes or a project seem overwhelming ("call a guy!"). Thanks to Amanda, I'm no longer ashamed of my love for garden gnomes and my new landscape goals include sculpting a life-sized topiary of Mr. T from boxwood. If I plant it near the veggie garden, will it keep the deer away? ("I pity the deer that tries to eat my pole beans!") . Kiss My Aster is THE new bible for anyone who wants to learn, laugh and landscape.

(Niki Jabbour, author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener )

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upcoming Event in Tantallon this Weekend!

Building Community Resilience to Global Challenges


Transition Bay St Margarets is pleased to invite you to our coming big celebration, the Great Unleashing- Maritimes: Building Resilience in an Era of Limits to Growth.  We hope you will be able to enjoy this event which has never before been held in the Maritimes (and perhaps anywhere in this particularly innovative & regional way).  The event will be Friday evening and Saturday day, November 23 & 24.  Additional information is available at our website at and at .

We wish to particularly draw your attention to Nicole Foss, our dynamic keynote speaker.  Her address will be particularly relevant and important to understand in the face of current world and local events.

Building Resilience in an Era of Limits to Growth
Keynote address by Nicole Foss at 7:00pm, Friday, November 23rd, entitled “Building Resilience in an Era of Limits to Growth.”  The address will be given at St Luke’s United Church, 5374 St. Margaret's Bay Road (HWY 3), Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia. Suggested donation at the door: $10.00.
Nicole Foss, a world recognized author and blogger about economics and energy, and co-founder of www.theautomaticearth.compromises to deliver a frank, hard-hitting and timely assessment of the current status of the global economy and global energy supplies -  two major factors impacting the human race today, and the need for communities around the world to implement transition-orientated changes.
"We are the generation that is going to find out what unsustainability really means, as we are approaching many limits to growth, both natural and man-made. In laying out the scope of the problem, I will be focusing primarily on resource limits, notably energy, and limits to the credit expansion in our financial system,” said Ms. Foss. “I will also be looking at the consequences and what we can do to mitigate the impact if we act in advance. The Transition Towns movement has a great deal to offer in this regard. We need to relocalize, restore the local control and safety margins that confer resilience, and build strong communities to help us navigate challenging times. We can achieve a great deal if we are prepared to work together."

Ms. Foss is the Senior Editor of, where she used to write under the name Stoneleigh. She and co-author and Editor-in-Chief Raúl Ilargi Meijer have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politik in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it.
Nicole is also an international speaker on energy and global finance. She has lectured in hundreds of locations across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and has made numerous media appearances.  Nicole was previously the editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance. She also ran the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario, focusing on farm-based biogas projects, grid connections for renewable energy and Feed-In Tariff policy development.

While living in the UK she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialized in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level.   Her academic qualifications include a BSc in Biology from Carleton University (neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, and an LLM in international law from the University of Warwick, UK. 

Rob Hopkins
, the founder of the international Transition Movement, will deliver a closing address from England about Transition Initiatives in Maritime Canada in the context of the global Transition Movement. 
The keynote address is the opening event for Transition Bay St Margarets’ The Great Unleashing – Maritimes Saturday, Nov 24th, will feature a full day open house.

 On Saturday, Nov 24th, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, there will be a full day regional public open house at St Luke’s United Church featuring transition-oriented groups and organizations from throughout Maritime Canada. Information tables and displays will be punctuated with guest speakers, networking, and break-out groups. Topics to be covered during the event include: local money, slow food, local gardening and farming, alternate energy, biofuels, transportation alternatives, local markets and economies, relearning of old skills and more. 

This exciting day will have 3 concurrent venues – the Expo, the Mainstage, and the Transition Café
The Exposition on Saturday, Nov 24th will include display and information tables from at least 18 organizations from across the region involved in transition and sustainability.  There will be speakers throughout the day on the Main Stage, including several newly elected HRM officials.  The Transition Café will host discussions groups on topics which include Transition in the Maritimes, Peak Oil and Peak Economy and Resilient Energy for the Home and Community.

Our festive finale features a local food and live music reception. All free, but a donation at the door of $5.00 appreciated

We are quite excited about this event and plan to have a lot of fun while we help set the stage for the Transition Movement to have an ever wider impact in the Maritimes. 

About Transition Bay St Margarets:
Transition Bay, a registered non-profit volunteer organization, is part of an international movement ( dedicated to following and extending the innovative Transition Town model.  Thousands of Transition Initiatives worldwide are each unique responses to the need for resilience at the community level in order to address the many possible global impacts due to economic fragility, energy supply instability or environmental changes in the years ahead.  Transition Bay St Margarets is the first registered Transition Initiative in the province of Nova Scotia, with over 60 other registered transition communities in Canada.  

Transition Town Initiatives and the Transition Movement are poised to play an increasingly beneficial and influential role in the Maritimes.  We invite you to attend, and to start now to learn about this dynamic energy in our area.

“Transition Bay is all about the community being able to take charge, and engage its residents in the areas of food, energy, transportation, economy, relearning of old skills, and other key areas of rebuilding local resilience,” says Chair person Bob Cervelli. “There’s no point is a community being at the mercy of global events as they unfold, when it could be building its adaptive strengths.”

We look forward to seeing you there to share this celebration and growth.
And please share this widely.

We now have a Facebook page.  Please "like" us there.

Thanks much,
David Wimberly

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Today - a radio spot!

Join me this morning at 11 am Atlantic (10 am EST) when I join Rob Howard on The Home & Garden Show on AM900 CHML for a 1/2 hour radio chat! We'll cover year round veggie gardening and (I believe) we'll be taking questions! Listen live online a You can find Rob and his weekly show on facebook at

Should be fun!! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Excerpt from The Year Round Vegetable Gardener

Wow, I just learned that one of my favourite magazines, Mother Earth News has published an excerpt of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener - woo woo! To read it, click here!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gardens East Love

I've got to give some love to Gardens East! My latest issue just arrived a few days ago, but because of impending deadlines (cue dark, booming music), I've not yet had a chance to flip through it.. well, now that I'm finishing up writing a garden profile for the Feb issue of the magazine (a very cool moss-hosta garden just outside Halifax), I decided to procrastinate a bit and brewed some tea and grabbed the issue you see in the photo.

I typically write two articles per issue - one is always a garden profile on a Maritime gardener (Tom Hall in PEI in this issue) and the other article is on another aspect of gardening.. from sweet peas to winter veggies and everything in between. (got ideas? Just make a comment below, I always want to hear suggestions from gardeners!) I also love that Gardens East employes some of my favourite Canadian garden writers - Larry Hodgson (seriously, the king of perennials! In the new issue he covers Garden Myth Truths), Brian Minter (Winter Baskets for the Holiday Season) and Ward Teulon, another veggie lover (Storing Vegetables).

As a gardener, I am so glad we have such a detailed resource - for the Maritimes.. and as a writer, I grateful for the opportunity to work for such fun folks. You can check out their website here. And a 1 year subscription is 33% off!! Hello holiday season!

Please let me know if you have any suggestions on NS, NB, PEI or NFLD gardens that should be included in the magazine - just comment below. And, Gardens East welcomes and encourages you to e-mail, snail mail, tweet, facebook your garden questions/photos/adventures which may end up in the next issue!! (e-mail - Tell them Niki sent you! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Greens and Autumn Thoughts

Well, I think today is it. After this day is done, the 'real' November weather should be arriving and I better get the mini hoop tunnels set up and ready to go before the sun sets at 5 pm (thanks SO much time change) today. We've been very lucky with only a few lights frosts and one hard frost so far - it's Nov 4th for goodness sake - but after today, our lovely 12 C weather is sinking to just above freezing and I want to make sure our beds of hardy greens are protected and ready for winter. 

Speaking of beds of greens, these hardy plants have been thriving in the mild Oct and Nov weather.. I started none of them from seed or transplant - at least not on purpose. They're all reseeded (aka, volunteer) babies that I dug up and moved as they popped up in the beds in September. Some of them were moved in hot, dry weather, but they all took. Another reason to love these resilient edibles. Talk about easy gardening! Now, we have 3 cold frames full of crops for winter and about six 4 by 10 foot beds overflowing with hardy greens and root crops. I also late seeded a few more beds with assorted greens that will overwinter and be ready for harvest from mid March until mid-May when the 'real' garden takes over once again.

As for now, here's a few photos I took this morning as the most beautiful golden autumn light bathed the garden.. mind you, once I snapped the first photo, clouds appeared and that light was gone, but nevertheless, here is a glimpse of our garden.. 

Mixed Asian greens and baby kale in the fleeting light.

Asian greens just LOVE this weather!

Some of my new-to-me kales.. Lacinato Rainbow, a cross of

Lacinato (aka, Dinosaur kale) with Redbor, a curly-leafed red variety.

More Lacinato Rainbow with Winterbor in the


Baby Pixie cabbage from Renee's Garden with

Lacinato Rainbow kale. 

Winterbor kale with sweet alyssum - still

going strong!

Curly parsley and sweet alyssum.

Glossy green Asian veggies

Look closely and you'll see the bolted mizuna

in the middle.. no worries, the flowerbuds and blooms

also take great!

Ruby Streaks mustard from Greta's Organic Garden in


Say cheese, Lacinato Rainbow! Not quite as

colourful as I had thought, but maybe that is a

natural variation or my seed source..