Out In The Garden With Bob Ewing
This week we are out in the garden with Bob Ewing. Bob’s not just any ordinary gardener, but a gardener who prolifically writes about his gardening, someone who is active in his garden community and the schools in promoting this passion, and no doubt a wonderful cook. Avid gardeners like Bob, are a wonderful example to all of us in how gardeners can inspire other gardeners their whole life long. Let’s take a peak into Bob Ewing’s garden world:
When did you first develop an interest in gardening? What drives your passion for gardening?
My father introduced me to compost and tomatoes when I was quite young, and I helped my mother look after her hollyhocks, peonies and lilies. A garden exists somewhere between civilization and Nature and enables us to connect with the earth in a very primal way.
Gardening grounds me in the real world and gives me strength.
When it comes to gardening, what would you say is your favorite plant or flower and why?
This is a very tough question as I even appreciate what we call weeds, however, my favourite plant is the cherry tomato, as they smell good, look great and taste even better.
What is your best tip that you’d like to share with other gardeners?
Compost and add it to your garden bed, look after the soil and it will look after the plants.
What’s been your biggest garden success story?
The community garden I helped establish in Thunder Bay, ONand the two I am working on setting up here in Campbellton.
Describe your gardening challenges.
The past four years I have moved in late June which is about two weeks after the garden season has begun. The challenge has been to set up my own garden anew each year. I am in the middle of a move right now and also starting a community garden.
Time is the biggest challenge. My schedule between writing, reading, gardening, community work and research plus quality time with my spouse is full.
You’ve written about so many gardening topics, of your many delightful articles, which five would be your favorite garden subjects?
Plants fascinate me so one of my favourite subjects is the plants and where they came from, how they spread and what symbolic meaning they once and still hold. Building soil which is a gardener’s main job is another subject that occupies much of my thinking and research.
Container and small space gardening have become major focuses due to the moves I have made and because many people either have limited time or space to garden.
Fusion cooking how to work with the vegetables that grow locally or that I can grow to cook a meal that brings a touch of elsewhere, Spain, China, Mexico, for example has become a recent area of interest and exploration.
I especially enjoyed your recent article on Crown Vetch, because so many people do not understand how in gardening good intentions can go bad. What other examples of that can you give us?
Purple Loosestrife may be the best known example, brought to North America in the 1870s as a home garden plant it has spread widely throughout North America since then.
In your article, The Transition from Omnivore to Vegetarian: Phase I, you introduced a topic that so many people are sitting on the fence about. I’ve been thinking more along the lines, that we all need to be eating more vegetables and fruits, as opposed to meat, simply because much of our meats and fish have been raised on food that is not natural to them or to us. What are you thoughts on going organic in the garden?
Organic is the only way to grow, why because it is natural and does not introduce any artificial elements into the garden and through the garden into your food and into you.
As you obviously know, the kitchen and the garden are forever linked, along with how important it is to teach future generations how to garden. What activities should all gardeners be doing to support both for a better quality of life?
I grow plants for their beauty as well as vegetables and herbs, however, the beautiful plants often serve a secondary purpose, such as attract beneficial insects to the garden to perform duties such as pollination and help get rid of unwanted insects.
The two best activities gardeners can undertake to support a better quality of life is to encourage and support community gardens and school gardens. Gardens belong in school yards they are a natural classroom and provide material for many subjects.
I know that you also write about cooking what your grow in the garden. Some of the recipes are mouthwatering, and have made me think if someone was invited to your house for dinner they’d be lucky ducks. Do you have a recipe that you’d like to share with our readers?
I am experimenting with a fusion type cooking that is taking the foods that are available ( apples, roots vegetables) from a local source or are from the garden, and adding a spice that enhances the flavour. At this time of year spring, the root vegetables and apples are from last season and area not at their best. However, they can still work in a stir fry and a touch of something hot or spicy that has an exotic element, improves the flavour.
Bob’s Fusion of Root Vegetables and Apples
½ cup sliced carrots (thin slice)
½ cup diced turnips
1 apple red (I used a Mac as that was what was available from local source) diced
1 tsp butter
- Minced ginger to taste
Place butter in wok or fry pan set on high
Add turnips and carrots stir
Cook for 5 minutes stir and add apples
Cook for 2 minutes, stir
Stir cook two minutes and serve
Goes with noodles or rice.
If You’d Like To Know More About The Plants Mentioned In This Interview And Read Some of Bob Ewings articles — here are some links: