Pollinating native Canadian bees fill your belly and support our delicate, wondrous biosphere!
Warm summer wishes from Tree House Kitchen! Say a mental “Thank you!” to Canadian bees when you are eating incredible, fresh, summer market fare, growing a bountiful garden and enjoying the great Canadian outdoors. Did you know that the majority of pollinating native Canadian bees do not sting, are solitary, live in the ground and come in a wide range of colours? Supporting native bees provides an invaluable service as these bees are pollinators – moving pollen grains between flowers – leading to plant production and regeneration, and, amongst other pollinating animals, are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat! The pollination style of native Canadian bees is to visit few flowers per plant, moving from plant to plant, spreading pollen widely, and resulting in increased genetic variation and higher-quality fruit and seeds.
Pictured here are two handmade wooden bee nests made by my family to support solitary native bees nesting around Tree House Kitchen. Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Naturalists’ Club presented this bee box building initiative. Once the nesting material (rolled up newspaper and dead hollow stems such as goldenrod, Queen Anneʼs Lace and cattails.) is packed into the structure, we will place and hang the nests in the gardens, according to directions. Placement of the nests is important. For example, placing them in the direct morning sunshine helps warm the bees in their preparations for flight. Also, placing them near ﬂowers that bloom from spring to fall helps support busy bees. If a female solitary bee ﬁnds an individual tube to her liking (they usually lay eggs in the spring, but some lay eggs all year), she will lay a trail of eggs on a nectar and pollen ball that she separates by partitions. Larvae will hatch, eat their provisions and then make cocoons all within the tubes. Mature adults emerge in the summer or the following spring. Please see Pollination Guelph’s resources to inform you about supporting pollinating native Canadian bees. The “Make Your Own Wooden Bee Nest” and “Make Your Own Milk Carton Bee Nest” downloads are great resources to get started.
It is going to be a busy summer for the bees, as well as for Tree House Kitchen! We are soon going to be busy loading up on bee-supported fresh Ontario fruits and vegetables while cruising local suppliers and farmers’ markets. Recipe testing and writing menus for our Fall 2014/Winter 2015/Spring 2015 cooking class schedule* is happening all summer. My Kitchen Diary blog (containing loads of cooking tip postings) will resume again in September. Classes resume in October – hope to see you at a class! Be sure to follow on my Chef Nancy Henley Facebook page which will have updates through the summer.
Update: We’re so proud of the work we’ve done in our hands-on teaching and dinner party classes. Working with you, our clients has played such an important part in the new direction of Tree House Kitchen as a food literacy company, specializing in problem-solving skills and resources for busy families, and community members – like you! We hope you enjoy reading about our past classes, and also where we’re headed in 2017, and beyond.