Garden Misery

The tomato seedlings I started from seeds took a long time to develop into healthy plants. By August, I considered pulling out the plants and ending my gardening misery for the season. However, I opted to prolong the suffering by adding some new soil and fresh compost around the roots of the plants. This helped spur a growth phase that produced “suckers” which stunted the growth of branches that actually produce fruit. Of course, I should have been more active in removing them, but every time I intended to do this some other more pressing issue seemed to surface.

I planted the yellow beans from seed in early July. The newer seeds germinated in about a week, but the older ones did not germinate resulting in some empty sections in the garden boxes. I threw out all the leftover seeds from previous years to avoid this scenario in the future. By the beginning of August the beans had made very little progress due to the heat and limited rainfall we experienced in July. Then for no apparent reason, they suddenly started to flower and produce lots of beans and these plants are still thriving in September.

I have eight struggling cucumber plants from last year’s leftover seeds. There are a few tiny cucumbers, but with limited time left for growing, they may not be big enough to eat. On a positive note, I pruned the tomato plants and I have a bountiful crop of green tomatoes and if they survive “Dorian” and September remains warm a few might even turn red.

As fall approaches and the gardening season draws to a close I have to reflect on my garden. What am I doing wrong? Are old seeds causing my gardening woes? Is the poor harvest due to weather and soil conditions? Am I getting too old for gardening? (Years ago, my family had fantastic gardens with very little effort.) Is the garden getting enough water and care during dry spells?



Hiking at Beaubears Island

On my last visit to the New Brunswick Public Library I picked up a free pass to Beaubears Island. So, on labour-day weekend Florian and I headed to Miramichi (Nelson) for a day of hiking. The library pass included the $10 ferry crossing and $5 entrance fee to the interpretive centre.

Florian and I arrived early to catch the first boat at 10:00 so that we could leisurely visit the entire trail system on our one-day pass. We started with the Shipyard Trail and walked to the Tickle – the stretch of water between Beaubears Island and Wilson’s Point on Middle Island. From here, we continued on to the Boishébert Trail and completed the loop around the island.

This is an easy hike for anyone wanting to step into nature, and walk among old growth pines. The trail around the island is 6 km and can be completed comfortably in two hours or less as you slowly stroll among Eastern white pines and listen to birds you cannot see because they are up too high in the forest canopy that shades the trail. There are several places where you can step off the trail and venture down to the beach.

In addition to these two trails that follow the circumference of the island there is a wider trail that makes it way up the centre of the island. The Quoomeneegook Trail, the island of pines in Mi’kmaq, used to be an old road. O’Brien’s Monument and Good Cheer Monument are located on this trail.

Russel’s tomb is situated on the eastern section of the island, not far from the ship building hub of the late 19th century. There are no buildings and very little evidence of the island’s former residents or shipping industry.

After hiking all the trails we returned to the mainland and visited the interpretive centre for in depth look into the island’s importance and history.