Winter greens in the vegetable garden

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Launched in 2010, Walyu Yarta Community Garden in Veale Gardens off South Terrace was the very first community garden established inside the Adelaide Park Lands, and has since been joined by several others. Like the native bees that are drawn to the garden's nectar-rich plant life, Walyu Yarta has attracted many enthusiastic gardeners over the years; people from both near and far but all passionate about growing and cooking with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Von

Von Thompson gardening in the Walyu Yarta Community Garden.

One of those avid green thumbs is Von Thompson - a retired teacher who has been an active member of the Walyu Yarta Community Garden for about eight years. Having worked in Port Augusta and several remote outback communities, where she taught literacy to Aboriginal children, Von brings to Walyu Yarta Community Garden a vast experience of growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees under a diverse range of climactic conditions. Below, Von shares a few tips on what veggies to plant through winter and a simple recipe for a hearty winter vegetable soup!


You can grow your winter greens from seed in autumn or, if you leave it too late, try planting seedlings in early winter. 

Some kale varieties are Kale Green, Kale Red Russian and Kale Tuscan Cavolo Nero; silverbeet varieties include Silverbeet Five Colour Mix and Silverbeet Fordhook Giant, which is my absolute favourite silverbeet!

There is also a New Zealand spinach, also known as Warrigal Greens, which grows as a ground cover all year round, however, its flavour is best if grown as an annual. Sow seeds in autumn or spring. At Walyu Yarta Community Garden we have grown it from cuttings, taken in autumn. Remember to include some root material for best success.

Other vegetables and herbs for planting in Adelaide in June include beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, coriander, leek, lettuce, parsley, parsnip, potato, radish, sage, spring onion, swede and turnip.

Recipe for Lentil, Silverbeet and Vegetable Soup

Adapted from a recipe in Claudia Roden’s 1977 edition of A Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Serves four (4) - approximately.

  • 225gms brown lentils, soaked in cold water for several hours
  • 300 - 400gms of chopped silverbeet, including stems (I always use home grown Fordhook Giant)
  • 3 or 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 225gms leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • Oil
  • 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 2tblsps finely chopped parsley
  • Juice of 2 lemons or limes

Drain soaked lentils and simmer in stock pot or large saucepan with 500mls water for perhaps an hour, or until nearly soft.

Add the silverbeet, carrots, celery and leeks.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, adding more water if necessary. Only a little bit of liquid should be left at the end of cooking.

In a small saucepan, fry the onion in oil until soft and golden.

Add garlic and fry for a minute or two longer, until coloured.

Add to the lentils and vegetables, including the oil.

The original recipe says to add the lemon juice and parsley at this stage, stir and simmer for a few minutes longer, adjust seasoning and serve.

I prefer to add the juice and parsley to each plate as it is served. This means that if you freeze part of the stew, the lemon and parsley doesn’t get lost in the freezing and reheating process.

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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

Von Thompson

Von Thompson

Avid gardener and house renovator, Von has been an active member of the Walyu Yarta Community Garden in the south Adelaide Park Lands for about eight years. A retired teacher who taught in regional SA, including literacy to Aboriginal children in remote outback communities, Von happily shares her knowledge of growing vegetables, herbs and fruit trees under various climactic conditions.