photo-icon Skye Murtagh

Walyu Yarta Community Garden: celebrating 10 years

Sustainable City Our Wellbeing

One of the flow-on effects of bunkering down at home through autumn was a surge in gardening interest, with many people keeping active planting veggies in the backyard or in balcony pots – some for the first time ever. Growing your own fresh fruit and vegetables at home is a great idea on loads of levels, but if you need more space and prefer planting with friends, getting involved in a community garden can be really rewarding.

Across the CBD and North Adelaide there are several community gardens you can be part of, along with a number of other gardening initiatives, and this year marks a special milestone for one of them.

Located south of the formal rose beds in Veale Gardens off South Terrace, Walyu Yarta Community Garden was the first community garden established within the Adelaide Park Lands and celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020.

This member-based group comprises a sociable community of about 100, with around 30 active members forming the mainstay of volunteers. New faces are always welcome, something I can attest to having spent an enjoyable hour being shown through the garden with a handful of the team recently. Arriving just at morning teatime (no - not planned!) I was soon sipping on a cup of tea (thanks Von Thompson) and munching on freshly baked quince and almond cake (courtesy of Franco Prinsi) - all whilst adhering to social distancing of course. I also went home with a bunch of fresh Jerusalem artichokes harvested by Greg Martin and John Newell!

Across these last difficult months, these passionate local community members have managed to maintain the health and productivity of the garden with a pared back team that allowed for appropriate distance to be kept between workers at all times.

Greg Martin is one of the founding members of the Walyu Yarta Community Garden. Here, he shares some background on his favourite patch of the Park Lands, how 10 years has been recognised and what’s coming up and going into the ground through autumn and winter.

In March 2020, Walyu Yarta Community Garden celebrated 10 years since it officially opened in Veale Gardens in the South Park Lands. Members of the garden planned a special event to commemorate its 10th anniversary, but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to such a gathering.

Instead, members and supporters produced a 24-page anniversary booklet containing the garden’s history, gardening tips and recipes. The cover is of handmade paper with blooms and plants from the garden. Below is a selection of entries from the booklet.

Booklet 1

pop by the garden between 9:30 am and midday on a Monday or a Thursday to pick up one of these commemorative booklets, while stocks last.

History of the garden

The community garden was opened on 27 March 2010 after seven years of lobbying and submission writing. Many residents contributed to getting the garden up and running, but two names stand out: Sue Webb, the resident who spearheaded the concept in the community, and David Plumridge, the City of Adelaide Area Councillor, who championed the idea of the first community garden in the Park Lands through Council.

Jerusalem artichokes

Greg with jerusalem artichokes

Greg martin with a harvest of jerusalem artichokes.

We are currently harvesting Jerusalem artichokes. These were one of the earliest vegetables planted in the garden. We tend to leave the artichokes in the ground and harvest progressively throughout winter as they do not last long once dug up.

Known by its botanical name Helianthus tuberosus, Jerusalem artichokes are related to the sunflower and come originally from eastern North America. It's not an artichoke and doesn't come from Jerusalem! So why the name?

When the plant first arrived in Europe it was thought to taste like the globe artichoke and called by Italian farmers 'girasole', meaning 'turning towards the sun'. By the time it spread to England the name became corrupted to Jerusalem artichoke.

It's particularly popular in Mediterranean countries; the French voting Jerusalem artichokes 'best soup vegetable'. It’s also delicious baked. There is a Jerusalem artichoke bread recipe reproduced in the booklet. However, be warned, it is wind-inducing.

Broad Beans

We begin planting broad beans in April, when the soil is still warm. They are best grown from seed sown directly into the soil. We tend to save beans from last year’s crop.

The broad bean is a perfect example of the root-to-bloom concept. The entire plant is edible, from its leaves, stem and flowers, all the way to its prized pods. The pods are palatable at any size although best when young, still nestled in their tender castings. Sweet and crisp foliage can be picked from about six weeks, once the plant has established. Pick sparingly so as not to affect the development of the flowers and pods. Young broad beans can be picked young from about week 14, when they are still small and tender. Larger beans develop an outer skin that some consider tough, but this can be removed.

Broad beans are high in potassium, protein and fibre, as well as vitamin A, B1 and B2. They have no saturated fat or cholesterol. The plant is also the ultimate nitrogen-fixer, replenishing the soil with this much-needed garden commodity.

The booklet provides more details on broad beans, plus a recipe for Broad Bean Leaf Salad from Lillian Donaldson.

Broadbean seedlings

broad bean seedlings in the garden.

Copies of the 10th anniversary booklet are available from Walyu Yarta Community Garden in Veale Gardens. To ensure you can pick up a free copy, visit on Monday or Thursday mornings when members are sure to be working in the garden.

Walyu Yarta Community Garden details

Follow them on: 

Weather permitting, gardeners meet regularly each week on Mondays and Thursdays 9:30 am to 12 noon, with occasional Working Bees on Sundays as required.

There are regular Gardeners Meetings to discuss all the practical aspects of the garden with a shared morning tea.

If you enjoy playing in the dirt and creating fresh organic produce, or if you just like to watch, come and visit the garden. New members, supporters and spectators are always welcome.

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.