This year has included many gardening firsts at Oslicken Acres. One of those firsts included the planting of pole beans. In the past Andrew and I have planted both green and yellow bush beans. These have typically grown well and provided us with lots of tasty beans — some years so many beans that we’ve blanched and frozen beans to enjoy over the winter.
This years we planted both bush and pole beans. Andrew built two vertical gardening trellis as part of our square foot gardens which have worked really well. I loved watching the pole beans grow and slowly inch up the trellis. Ascetically pole beans are a beautiful plant. They are delicate climbers and the small flowers they grow are lovely.
The bush beans in our garden were ready a couple of weeks ago and we’re just starting to enjoy the first tastes of pole beans. The timing worked out great. We’ve had lots of produce but not so much that any of it is going to waste. I have future plans for a tree sisters vertical garden – which will include pole beans. Andrew and I have also talked about other decorative trellises or arches covered in climbing veggies. Never ending construction projects for Andrew — or maybe just a trip to a garden centre.
Our tomato plants are crowded this year. We put too many plants into too little space in the square foot garden. But despite these close living quarters the plants are producing tasty fruit. Andrew isn’t a huge fan of tomatoes. He doesn’t mind tomato products like pasta sauce and can tolerate small cooked bits of tomato. But it’s definitely not his food of choice. So even a moderate harvest is enough for us. Though I do like the years where there are enough tomatoes that I can freeze some and pull them out to make chili or sauce in the winter.
I love garden fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes in season taste so much better than the bland tomatoes from the grocery store during the winter months. This year I purchased three tomato plants from a vendor at Mill Market. They turned into very healthy, thriving plants that have been doing well despite out error in how we planted them. Bring on the toasted tomato sandwiches.
A few weeks ago we went on our first camping adventure visited Pancake Bay Provincial Park for the first time. Pancake is located on the shore of Lake Superior, has more than 3 km of sand beach, hiking and nature trails, and a location on the paddling route of the Voyageurs. The shoreline is beautiful, the park is well maintained, and there is educational signage throughout. The only downside of the location of the park is that is right next to the Trans-Canada highway, so on a still night you can hear transport trucks on the road. During the first night of our stay Lake Superior was so rough all you could hear was the sound of the lake – it was a great example of the power of the big lake.
While at the park we explored the campground area and the Pancake Bay Nature Trail. Many of the central points in the campground have educational signage about wildlife, Lake Superior, and the surrounding natural environment. It was nice to see this natural heritage education material being included in central areas so that even those who don’t participate in formal programming could read about the area.
Pancake Bay Nature Trail
The nature trail was an easy 3.5 km walk that included views of the shoreline, forested areas, and a boardwalk through a wetland. The interpretive signage through this natural heritage was well done and had a lot of educational information about the ancient beach ridges, rock formations, flora and fauna, and water. There was one sign that had fallen down and there was a section of the trail that was extremely muddy. The muddy section looked like it could use some signage or physical maintenance.
Pancake Bay Park staff also run a natural heritage education program during the summer months. The timing of the guided walks and educational programs didn’t work for us, but it was great to see the signage relating to these events and I hope they are well participated in. One of the programs while I was visiting included a guided walk on the beach and a discussion about the history of the Voyageurs in the area.
So far I’ve only visited a handful of Provincial Parks in Ontario but Pancake Bay was by far the most popular park I’ve visited. There are drawbacks and upsides to this popularity. On the plus side there was a lot more educational signage and interpretive programming available in the park. On the downside the natural heritage is heavily influenced by people and you’re bound to run into others when exploring the landscape. Regardless, it was an enjoyable visit.
This post was cross-posted from Krista’s heritage focused blog at kristamccracken.ca