Tag Archives: Steven Biggs

A-R International: Steven Biggs

Steven Biggs
Authors-Readers International

I help people grow food
MY PASSION is incorporating edible crops into the landscape to create beautiful, edible landscapes with a long and varied harvest. I was recognized by Garden Making Magazine as one of the “green gang” of Canadians making a difference in horticulture.
My yard includes a driveway straw-bale garden, rooftop kitchen garden, wicking beds, an edible-themed front yard, and fruit plantings.
My gig is communications. I work as a horticulturist, college instructor, broadcaster, speaker, and author. The common thread is that I share ideas about how to creatively use edible plants in the landscape. And I make it fun.
I have worked in horticulture and agriculture for more than 25 years.
After getting a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, I worked in greenhouse and nursery production, plant propagation, biological controls, horticultural supplies, and farm marketing.

• Children. Raising three children (my teenage daughter Emma and I co-wrote the book Gardening with Emma, a book to inspire kids to garden).
• Food. Admission—I actually enjoy grocery shopping. Food really interests me. So I’ve been known to do unconventional things like make parsnip wine or come home with a few laying hens.
• The Outdoors. I love foraging for mushrooms with my kids, camping, or just going for a picnic.
• Community. Toronto is an amazing city for food. Southern Ontario has diverse agricultural and horticultural operations, giving me lots of neat things to write about. I live in a part of Toronto called Willowdale, where I’ve found that one of the best ways to meet my neighbours is to garden in my front yard.
• Music. I’m no musician … just a hack. But I have fun jamming with my boys (they play electric guitar and drums, and tolerate me on bass guitar.)

I NEVER THOUGHT I’d be a writer or speaker. I’m a horticulturist.
But every so often I get impulsive (and that can drive my wife, Shelley, crazy). Luckily for me, one of those impulsive moments brought me to where I am today.
I can still picture the look of surprise on Shelley’s face the day I came home and casually mentioned that I’d quit my job as a recruiter. I sucked at that recruiting job. I left a job….
Here’s the rest of Steve’s story about that!


I first promoted Steven Biggs when he co-authored No Guff Vegetable Gardening with Donna Balzer, who has been a guest on Reading Recommendations. Since that time, Steven has written several books of his own and has recently helped his daughter Emma write and publish a book (see below). Steven and Emma agreed to to be promoted by me in a 3-part series on my blog that I called The Next Gen Authors, featuring Authors whose daughters had gone on to write and publish their own books. I also promoted Anna and Catherine Porter, and Ken and Keriann McGoogan in this series. (Anna Porter and Ken McGoogan have both been previously promoted as well on Authors-Readers International.)


Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can’t

In this fun, plain-language book, I share my passion for growing lemons to help other gardeners in cold climates see that lemons are a fantastic potted plant in cold climates—and that they are much easier to keep over the winter than many people expect.

Get tips, techniques, and anecdotes—along with the insights of other lemon experts in Canada, The USA, and the UK. This book simplifies lemon growing in cold climates.

DID YOU KNOW that some gardeners store lemons in a cold, dark garage for the winter? Others keep them as houseplants. Ever thought of Christmas lights as a way to help lemons overwinter? That’s in the book too.

Steven Biggs was recently featured on this blog, along with his daughter Emma Biggs, as part of the series The Next Gen Authors.

Steven Biggs is now Working on Growing Figs in Cold Climates: 150 of Your Questions Answered, for release within the month.

Steven was a guest on Reading Recommendations in Apr. 2015.


The Next Gen Authors, Part 3: Steven and Emma Biggs

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series I’m calling The Next Gen Authors, about three Authors I know and have promoted, and their daughters who have also all become published authors – in their own right! Or maybe that should be, “in their own write” in this case … (Part 1, Part 2)

Steven Biggs and Emma Biggs
The Garage Gardeners

I promoted Steven Biggs, along with his co-author Donna Balzer, when they first published their gardening book, No Guff Vegetable Gardening. Steven has made an appearance on my Reading Recommendations blog, but is not yet an A-RI Author – although that’s soon to be rectified! Since the book he was promoting on RR was Grow Gardeners. Kid-Tested Gardening with Children: A 4-Step Approach, I’ve been taking great interest in how Steven is doing just that with his own daughter, Emma. However, not only has he raised a gardener, but also an author who is now writing her own gardening books!

Emma Biggs Biography

Emma Biggs is a 15-year-old gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2019—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbour’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, and on the garage roof. Her garden is the source of many of her stories—and the source of produce that she sells in her neighborhood. Emma gives talks at libraries, seed exchanges, garden clubs, and garden shows. She is the co-host of The Food Garden Life Show, and co-host of kids gardening videos on the From Dirt to Dishes gardening channel on YouTube. She has a monthly blog on the Harrowsmith Magazine website about growing tomatoes. Her latest book, Gardening with Emma, helps kids find the fun in gardening (and helps adults remember how much fun gardening is!).

From Harrowsmith Magazine, May 2020: Harrowsmith Gen XYZ – Emma’s Edible Yard – A Tomato that Looks Like Candy by Emma Biggs

Book: Gardening with Emma

Written for kids by a kid. Emma, shows young gardeners how to grow healthy food, raise cool plants, and have fun outdoors in the garden.

There are tips for making fun garden hideaways such as a sunflower house or bee tee-pee. Learn how to make a bug vacuum. And get ideas for kid-friendly theme gardens including a rainbow garden, a sound garden, and a tickling garden.

Gardening with Emma is a kid-to-kid guide to growing healthy food and raising the coolest, most awesome plants while making sure there’s plenty of fun. With plants that tickle and make noise, tips for how to grow a flower stand garden, and suggestions for veggies from tiny to colossal, Emma offers a range of original, practical, and entertaining advice and inspiration. She provides lots of useful know-how about soil, sowing, and caring for a garden throughout the seasons, along with ways to make play spaces among the plants. Lively photography and Emma’s own writing (with some help from her gardening dad, Steve) capture the authentic creativity of a kid who loves to be outdoors, digging in the dirt.

Thirteen-year-old Emma Biggs is passionate about gardening and eager to share her passion with other kids!

More info here too on Steven’s website.

Promo Plans

Emma has been doing a lot of speaking engagements, including Mother Earth News Fair in Texas earlier this year. All is on hold now…but we’re doing the podcast 2x a week now and getting a good following. Emma was recently on CBC, The Survival Podcast, and The Weekend Gardener radio show

Emma’s Current Projects

–          Emma made her own website using photos she takes.

–          She is very active on Instagram, promoting gardening.

–          This winter and spring Emma has been selling tomato seed on her website

–          This spring she will be having a tomato transplant sale (at a distance…still figuring out the logistics)

–          Lots of gardens underway with more new tomato varieties

–          Writing a book about tomatoes