Bob, our guest gardener


I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about ‘Gardener Bob’ for awhile now. Bob joined our property as an off-site gardener back in the spring and we love having him (and his garden!) here. Here’s how this fun and unexpected partnership came about…

Last October, we received an email from Bob. None of us knew him, but it turns out we have mutual friends who pointed him in the direction of our blog. Here are some snippits from the very charming and introductory email we received from him:

Farm For A year,

Hello, my name is Bob and I live in Maple Ridge. I love your “Farm For A Year”  concept and know it will probably last a lot longer than a year.  The reason I’m writing to you,  I’m looking for a patch of earth to do some vegetable gardening this coming spring.  I have just under an acre here in the Ridge but it is a perennial garden and I would love to get back into some actual food production.  i come from good Italian stock and grew up with an Italian Grandmother who ran an organic vegetable garden for over fifty years.  I’ve gardened for most of my life and have the dirt under my fingernails to prove it.

I’m looking to rent a spot to grow vegetables for family, friends and whoever is hungry, I simply love growing things.  Of course, no sprays, chemicals ( I am a cancer survivor myself) so I understand chemicals (chemo).  If this is a possibility I’m eager to communicate with you about a possible spot, if not, do you know of anyone who has some space for rent.

Wishing my fingers were in some dirt,

Bob’s email intrigued us. We loved the idea of sharing our space with someone, especially someone who could share some gardening wisdom with us newbies. We invited Bob to the property and found out even more about his background in gardening…

Before moving to Vancouver 23 years ago to pastor a church, Bob and his wife lived a homesteader’s lifestyle in the US, building their own home from scratch and growing most of their own food (*sigh*). Since living in Maple Ridge, Bob has designed and grown an award-winning perrennial garden that has appeared in Home and Garden magazines. Pretty cool! His home garden has left no room for food production, though, which is why he contacted us.

It wasn’t a hard decision to invite him onto our property to grow some food here, so since this past spring, Bob has created a good-sized garden bed in one of our unusued pastures and grown an abundance of onions, potatoes, squash, beans and more. His eggplants started showing themselves this week, beating out ours which are flowering but nothing more so far. Go Bob!

Bob will continue to use (and grow) his garden space here into next year – yay! We’re looking forward to seeing what else he designs and grows.

Also, some of you may have noticed the new, reclaimed cedar boxes we’re displaying our kale, swiss chard and quilts in at the market. The boxes are Bob’s creation – you can see one of his own in the photo above. He rescued an old cedar fence that was being dismantled and is using the wood to create produce boxes and other useful, beautiful creations. Thanks for gifting us some boxes Bob. We love them!