The demonstration garden at Mennonite Heritage Village is growing a nice crop of vegetables for visitors to see and taste. 

Elsie Kathler is with the Steinbach and Area Garden Club. She spends a lot of her spring and summer in the garden at MHV. 

She says most plants are doing pretty good this year but notes the parsley did not germinate well. So, they purchased parsley plants for the garden to allow visitors to see what this herb looks like. 

The garlic and stevia plants are coming along nicely and Kathler anticipates a good harvest. 

“We've already harvested kohlrabi,” she says. “Normally you don't harvest until mid-July. We've already harvested some of it because they're big.” 

The cabbage is a different story. 

“We had problems with our cabbages,” she says. “We had to plant them two times. There were cabbage butterflies that came really early. Usually, they'll start coming after the cabbage has just formed heads, but not this year. This year, they were really early, and we lost them.” 

The beets look like they’re just about ready for borscht. Cucumbers, beans and potatoes are also growing nicely. 

There is a new addition to the crop rotation this year. Kathler says they decided to plant asparagus peas.

Asparagus peas.Asparagus peas growing in the vegetable demonstration garden at Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach.

“It’s an interesting experiment,” she says. “And to learn from other cultures, that’s the beauty. You can learn so much in terms of the kinds of things that they do with different types of plants.” 

Kathler learned about asparagus peas from a gardener who came to Canada from Ethiopia. 

She says it is interesting to show visitors another variety of peas, along with the traditional plant grown in Mennonite gardens. 

Young visitors to the museum also appreciate the food being grown in the museum garden. 

“When they have tour groups with kids, they always pick peas, they'll pick the ground cherries,” Kathler says. “And then later on when they have the camps, we take the cucumbers from here and do dill pickles with them. It’s fun for them to do, but also to learn that you can preserve stuff from the garden and that's what the pioneers did.” 

Kathler and fellow volunteer Trudie Kehler meet at the garden early in the morning to look after the plants and bring fresh produce to the Livery Barn Restaurant to be used in their soups.