Tag Archives: Niki Jabbour

4 Cures for Cabin Fever

9 Mar

cabin in snow

This morning I woke up to another inch of snow that had fallen over night.  The temperatures this week have again fallen below zero.  I am tired of hearing complaints of the winter and the cold, I like the snow, but at the same time I also find myself longing for the sunny warmer weather like those complainers around me.  The seed catalogs aren’t taking me away like they usually do, dreaming of planting and tending my veggie garden.  It’s almost time to start seeds so I have that to look forward to.  I want to dream about the warmer months and feel as if I am really there.  I must have a bad case of cabin fever. In my search for a cure, I found out that the following 4 things helped.  Before you read on, I must let you know, I make no claim that they will help you.  I am not a doctor, I am an Urban Farmscaper.

1:         Read about gardening .  Hot off the press, pick up a copy of Niki Jabbour’s latest book, “Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden”.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens

Niki Jabbour, author of the best-selling “The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener”, has collected 73 plans from gardeners including Barbara Pleasant, Amy Stewart, Renee’s Garden, Joe Lamp’l, and yours truly.  I am excited to be a contributor to this amazing book on food gardens with so many wonderful gardening experts!  Each plan is illustrated and includes a small story about the design and a plant list, followed by a profile of each contributor.  Besides an Urban Farmscape, there are gardens that supply your favorite cocktail ingredients, one for your balcony, one that encourages pollinators, one that grows 24 kinds of chili peppers and more.  There are several ideas that you will be able to incorporate into your Urban Farmscape.  Seriously, order this book from Amazon for some edible food garden inspiration,
Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden  or if you like, you can purchase it from me in person.

While waiting for the book to arrive, you could…..

2:         Watch gardening shows, especially my favorite “Growing a Greener World” with host Joe Lamp’l on your local PBS channel. In its fourth season, this program will take you away from your winter slump into the garden growing fresh veggies with Joe then to the kitchen to learn how to prepare and cook your fresh harvest with Chef Nathan.   Each episode includes bits on food preservation and DIY projects too.  Don’t have a television?  You can also watch it online at http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/

Here is a link to one of my favorites “Greenhouse Bus”.  Now this is inspirational!  Anyone I know at CMU up for a project?


In between episodes of “Growing a Greener World”, and while waiting for your copy of “Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden” you can enjoy this third thing….

3:         Attend one of the upcoming garden shows in your area.  You will feel like you have stepped out of winter and into summer when you explore landscapes and attend gardening seminars. This upcoming weekend will be two good ones in the Great Lakes Region:

The Chicago Flower and Garden Show   http://www.chicagoflower.com/

The Lansing Home and Garden Show  http://showspan.com/LHG/

After you visit a garden show,  in between episodes of “Growing a Greener World”, and while waiting for your copy of “Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden” here’s a fourth….

4.       Look at photos of plants wherever you can find them, on the internet or from your photo collection. Science has proven that even looking at photographs of plants and nature will provide some therapeutic benefits.  I’m sure this will help alleviate any symptoms of “cabin fever” right?  I don’t think that I need science to prove it to you, so here are a few photographs from My Urban Farmscape to get you started and on your way through these final days of winter.


Tomatoes at My Urban Farmscape

Mache in spring

Mache under small hoophouse at My Urban Farmscape


Seedlings under grow lights at My Urban Farmscape


My Urban Farmscape tunnel of beets

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' photo courtesy AAS

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
photo courtesy AAS



My Urban Farmscape Sunflowers

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My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts

25 Nov

Seriously, haven’t you heard enough about cyber Monday and all the deals that could be out there?  Well, I have…except for the deals I find for my gardening friends! The holiday season is upon us and  honestly, I won’t tolerate another gift that is marketed to gardeners that really has no useful purpose.  Like a Chia Pet for example.  I love plants, and love growing them, but have no desire to have a terra cotta bust of Homer Simpson with chia hair!    So, with that, here are some of my favorites with the links to these awesome gardening products on Amazon  as well as suggested gifts for gardeners.  When you click on a picture it will take you straight to the product.  Don’t forget to come back to My Urban Farmscape!

Happy shopping!  Remember, click on the pic to  send you to Amazon, or a link  like the one here for all of the Cyber Monday Deals.    Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week

My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts!

The Ultimate Urban Farmscaper’s Gift!  Why not have it all in this compact space.  A raised bed with an optional greenhouse to extend your gardening season.  A great idea for a senior or  Farmscaper who has everything…except this!







I love  this Jewel Coldframe that I mentioned in an earlier post and use at My Urban Farmscape to extend the season.  When you aren’t using it in the garden, it can be broken down for easy storage.

This Earth Box below is great for those of you with little space and with little time tending to garden chores.  Maybe you didn’t find the time, or forgot to water last year?  A perfect gift for the busy Urban Farmscaper.

Some of my favorite pruners to use in the garden for harvesting as well as in the kitchen for cutting fresh herbs.

For indoor growing and seed starting, supplemental lights are a must have.  For quality and compact sizes, here are two of my favorites.

For the garden photographer the right kind of lens or camera can really help to capture the tiny life living in the garden.

Books for Urban Farmscapers that love to grow food in small spaces, and even for those growing in not so small spaces.

Books for preserving and cooking food you grow or buy at the farmers markets.  Great gifts for someone that is trying to eat local and seasonally.

Magazine subscriptions that are full of useful information about gardening, cooking and homesteading.  I keep every issue of mine for reference.

Garden fun and games for farmscapers of all ages and for the future farmscapers.

Indoor Urban Farmscaping  for someone who may have limited indoor growing space.

Make sure you click the pic to go to Amazon! 

Happy Holidays!

Patti and the My Urban Farmscapers Team

Building a Cold Frame

16 Sep

I was driving around northern Michigan today and noticed some of the leaves starting to change color. Then I realized that with the first frost date rapidly approaching, it was time to think about protecting my garden. Plants such as basil and peppers won’t tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit let alone a frost. I suddenly felt the urgent need to harvest everything before it was too late.

You can extend your growing season long into the fall, maybe into winter in a small unheated greenhouse or cold frame for some crops such as carrots, beets, spinach and arugula. Remember how early spring came? I got so tired of covering and uncovering plants. Hot, cold, hot cold. Well, nighttime temperatures are what you need to pay close attention to now, and the covering and uncovering is about to start again. If it is going to dip down below that magic 50 degrees, protect your warm season vegetables like tomatoes which can tolerate an occasional dip, but then you will start to notice how the fruits stop maturing and they aren’t turning red. Best to pick them and make some fried green tomatoes. If you want to seriously continue to garden and save what you can, you can build a simple cold frame. WARNING!!! You can now cook your cool season crops on a sunny day. So not only do you need to keep them warm at night, you need to keep them cool on a sunny day. For now, protect with newspaper or lightweight fabric such as a frost cloth which is available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Protect this way on these occasional frosty nights, and prepare for colder temperatures by building a simple cold frame like I did here.

I cut 1/2 inch PVC pipes 10 feet long. Since my beds are raised it was easy to push them into the ground on one side. The bed that I am working on is 4 feet by 8 feet. I have equally spaced 5 PVC pipes (you only see part of it here).

I bent the PVC around and pushed into the ground on the opposite side of the bed.

I secured the PVC to the inside of the raised bed using this galvanized piece.

Then I used zip ties to secure an 8 foot pipe to the top. I would recommend adding a screw to prevent it from sliding down the sides.

Cover with poly. Here I used a horticultural grade poly that I had left over from a greenhouse we built at our farm. You can buy this at greenhouse supply companies or catalogs like Farm-Tek. More light penetrates, which is important for plant growth and development.

Notice how transparent it is.

This was an inexpensive alternative using painters plastic from the hardware.

For finishing touches, you can use scrap pieces of wood screwed to the bed frame to secure the poly at the bottoms. I used pink foam insulation pieces for the ends to make it easier to remove on sunny days to prevent the temperatures from getting too high.

This was the simplest and most inexpensive way that I came up with to make a cold frame. There are many other options to explore whether you want to protect your crops, extend your season, or get a jump on next year. Click on the Grow Veg link to the right, or below on the links to go to Amazon for my favorite books to learn more. Or the last link to a Juwel Cold Frame like the one you see in the background of the above picture. This is one of my favorite cold frames. Just ignore the snow for now. We still have a lot of time before that gets here.

Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live

Juwel Cold Frame 1000

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