Container Gardening With Niki Jabbour

We went to an awesome presentation on Tuesday by gardening guru, Niki Jabbour. As avid followers of Niki’s blog, tweets, radio show and book this was a great opportunity to meet her and to get some answers to our most perplexing gardening questions.

Niki was this year’s featured speaker at the annual gardening seminar sponsored by Assante Hydrostone for their clients and guests. It was held once again at one of Halifax’s oldest golfing facilities, Ashburn Golf Club.


At this seminar Niki focused on container gardening or as she calls it, creating miniature masterpieces in a limited space. She emphasized the fact that we should be filling our pots with vegetables, or at the very least, adding vegetables to our flower pots. Over the past several years we have been making the transition from flowers to veggies so we were very keen on her suggestions.

She categorized plants as thrillers, fillers and spillers, giving us the benefits and concerns of each. She also spoke about shade plants and the many herbs that you can put in pots.

The tip that we found most interesting was related to soil amendments where she suggested a “soilless” mixture for container gardening . As you may have guessed, a soilless mixture does not include the use of soil. Instead, you use a variety of organic and inorganic materials like a mixture of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and sand. Regular garden soil cannot be used because it will not drain fast enough, giving too little air for the plant’s roots. Plus, with the better drainage the threat of soil-borne diseases are minimized. We also expect that the loose mixture will allow young seedlings to root easier too. Niki recommended Professional Soil Mix VPW-30, a simple solution for those of us that don’t want to make our own mixture. It is a mixture of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and clay. We were able to find this at Kent Building Supplies.


Niki gave us lots of great tips, tricks and food for thought, and very timely too. Over the next month there will be a buzz of activity in our garden (yes, the sun WILL shine!).

As always, following the presentation Assante had a plant table with a variety of free plants for us to choose from. We brought home a delightful four-pack of Purple Basil which will make a great addition to one of our containers, of course!


For more information on Niki Jabbour you can go to her website located at You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Her book, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live is available here.

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