Preparing for Summer in Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park hotelThis past weekend we had some students from the environmental department at Niagara College come up to Algonquin Park.  In exchange for a discounted hotel stay they gave us two hours of work on Saturday.  And as luck would have it, Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day.  We were able to put the dock in the water, move the canoes and outdoor furniture from their winter storage locations, and do some raking of leaves.  Oh, and dig out the beer stream.  That’s an important task for the hot summer months ahead!  Even though we won’t officially open up till the Victoria Day long weekend, the Algonquin Eco-Lodge is now ready for summer!  Thanks Niagara College!

Organic Herb GardenOne of the (many) things that makes our Algonquin Park hotel unique is our organic herb garden.  In the summer it is self watering, as we put it in right beside our spring fed stream.  One less chore for us to have to worry about when the sun is beating down in Algonquin Park.  In it we grow basil, oregano, chives, spring onions, and a variety of chili peppers.  We use them in our salads, as a garnish, and as fresh ingredients in our home cooked meals.  Last fall a farmer from Southern Ontario gave us a growing tip.  He told us that if we covered up the herb garden with a plastic sheet in the fall, it would help keep the ground from freezing as much in the winter.  And, it would heat up faster in the spring so that we could get an extra month of growing season.  We tried it and this weekend I pulled off the tarp.  I was surprised at the amount of heat that billowed up out of the ground!  Our chives and onions were already nearly 15cm tall!  Hopefully the few cool nights we still can expect won’t damage them.  I’ll have to buy some basil and chili plants to put in this upcoming weekend.  Can’t wait to start harvesting!