First Nation Agriculture
Several corn stalks were grown together, creating a hill. Beans were planted around the corn, and wound around the cornstalks for support. Bacteria in nodules in the roots of the beans fixed nitrogen in the soil, fertilizing the corn.
Finally, squash, gourds or pumpkins were grown around each hill. Their large leaves shaded the soil, smothering weeds and keeping the soil moist. The prickly vines kept hungry racoons from getting too close to the corn and beans.
These three plants were grown together so often in this area, that they are often referred to as the “Three Sisters” by local First Nation’s peoples.
Surrounding the Interpretive Pavilion are small garden beds that demonstrate some of the different gardening themes that are possible. There is a wide variety to choose from: shade plants, wildflowers, herbs, vegetables and grasses. Gardens can specialize in habitat, as with rock gardens, or for a particular purpose, as with scent and tactile plants. These are especially rewarding for blind people. Raised beds can be convenient for people in wheelchairs and anyone who has difficulty with kneeling, stooping or bending.
Because our gardens are in a natural park, they do not get frequent attention. Things may happen to them that would not be appreciated in a home garden. We do not mind if wildlife eats from our gardens, for example. All healthy gardens can serve as habitats for insects, frogs, toads, snakes, rabbits and deer. If these consume plants, flowers and vegetables, it only shows the complex web of natural life, which has some plants and animals serving as food for others.
We like to enrich the beds with compost from our on-site compost demonstration area, and to participate in a seed exchange program for local native plant species.Our Interpretive Gardens may change from year to year as people choose new themes. They have been adopted in the past by the Georgetown Horticultural Society, the Red Cross Society, a local Girl Guide troop, a family with young children, and a grade four class at George Kennedy Public School.
To find out about adopting a garden (or part of a garden), contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the raised garden beds has been designed, planted, and tended by a local Naturopath.