Minnetrista Blogs

Season Your Summer with the Culinary Herb Garden

Where else can you find popular cooking spices like basil, parsley, and oregano that are fresh and for public use? The Culinary Herb Garden is yet another gathering place within Minnetrista that enhances quality of life. This garden is free and open to the community to harvest growing herbs for cooking at home.

The Culinary Herb Garden was established in 2005 as a resource to be used by the Minnetrista kitchen for their culinary needs, and it has grown to create many community opportunities. Most recently, baskets raised off the ground were implemented to help make the garden accessible for community members who have limited mobility.

The Culinary Herb Garden is located in front of the Orchard Shop Courtyard brick wall.

The gardeners have been working hard and started many new seeds this year due to the January freeze. Don’t worry, the garden will always be full.

Along with rows and rows of seedlings, larger plants kept in pots in the greenhouse area are waiting to be planted when space becomes available. Plants harvested early in the season like garlic are later replaced with new plants like rosemary. The Culinary Herb Garden is always packed with as many plants as the gardeners can fit.

There are many unique herbs this year. Oyster leaf, commonly found on sea coasts, provides an oyster like taste without the texture in cooking. According to Lindsey Cox, a horticulture specialist, the walking onion’s appearance becomes “similar to something from Dr. Seuss” later in the season.

The tops of the walking onions will eventually become so heavy they fall over and take root.

Chives are a popular herb that people come to harvest. Other popular herbs found in the garden are onions, lettuce, and garlic along with fennel, hops, and several different types of mint.

The garden also features herbs that are not just for cooking meals. Chamomile flowers or lavender can be made into tea, and the stevia plant is commonly used as a natural sweetener. Catnip is another type of herb that can be used with animals.

Chamomile enjoys a spot near the center of the garden.

Staying in line with Minnetrista’s core value of education, the Culinary Herb Garden can be used as a tool to educate the community about herbs or cooking. You can learn more about herbs by reading the signs of each plant and asking nearby gardeners for more information or help. It is also used as a demonstration garden. Kids in the Culinary Kids Camp tour the garden and use fresh herbs in their cooking.

The culinary herb garden is meant to bring people together in a healthy, positive way. You don’t have to wait! Many plants are ready to harvest now and will be available until the fall. Bring out your friends or family and share the experience of herbs and the many different ways to use them!