As summertime comes to a close, it is harvest season at Catholic Charities’ St. Joseph’s Home for Children.
You wouldn’t know it’s there unless you took time to look, but a garden grows, in the southeast corner of the St. Joseph’s Home for Children campus. About a tenth of an acre in size, the garden is a place to grow herbs, berries, fruits and vegetables. In the garden, summer days are spent tending to flowers and herbs and squealing with excitement upon finding that first ripe fruit.
It’s also a place to grow the spirit. Amy Teske, chaplain with Catholic Charities’ Spiritual Care program, remembers when she first saw it.
“It was my very first day on the job and I was nervous and wanting to settle my own little soul. I began a practice of walking through the garden before coming to work,” she said.
The Garden grows
The garden has grown in recent years with the addition of Master Gardner volunteers and an abundance of creativity and a spirit of trying new things.
The team of Master Gardener volunteers teach youth about gardening and enjoying the fruits of their labor. This summer, older children at St. Joe’s have been experimenting with grilling. They grilled pizzas using fresh basil, roasted garlic and tomatoes grown in the garden. They also grilled romaine lettuce and bok choy from the garden with chicken wings.
As some say, gardens are best enjoyed in the winter. Edible flowers and sacred blooms from container gardens will be harvested and dried for a blend of herbal tea which will be available to guests at St. Joe’s.
The newest addition the garden at St. Joe’s is a Pollinator Café butterfly garden. It is officially recognized by the University of Minnesota Extension program as a pollinator garden. The youth at St. Joe’s also made some butterfly puddle stations for the butterflies to stay hydrated.
Each garden visit includes an educational activity and sun salutations before digging into the soil and discovering what changes appear.