Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Potager Garden

Busy days like this one leave not as much time to think about I want to write here, so I'll just tell you what I did this afternoon. I came home from work and, after attending to the needs of pets, headed out to the area I've designated my potager, or kitchen, garden. So far only six tomatoes, spring onions, early peas and lettuce had been planted, but today I decided to sow seeds of arugula, more lettuce, basil, Swiss chard, chervil, kale and radishes. I had "mostly" already prepared the soil so it was only a matter of marking off the rows. Yet, it was time-consuming. Then there were six plants -- scented geraniums, lemon verbena and rosemary -- that I wanted to pot up before I came inside for the night.

Image Credit: Country Living magazine

It was 8 p.m., dark outside, as I turned off the water spicket and headed for the kitchen to make a quick meal. Showered, hair washed and dried, I finally have a few moments to devote to this little piece of the world I've created here for my enjoyment, and hopefully, on occasion, yours as well.

When the potager gets going, I'll provide pictures. I've been intrigued by creating such a gardening space for a couple of years, and have been working to get the beds marked off and enriching the soil. I have six beds, about five feet square, with paths intersecting. Having such an arrangement allows me to work from all sides without having to tread on the soil. I considered true raised beds but decided against it (I can't remember why now!). The soil in these six beds is slightly raised above the paths, but not so much that water runs off.
Image Credit: Better Homes & Garden magazine

A potager is unlike the classic American harvest garden -- which is planted in spring and culminates in late summer with much of the harvest preserved for winter's use. A potager is a year-round garden whose purpose is to supply the kitchen on a daily basis with fresh vegetables and herbs. So while some items are harvested in the current season, it continues to be replanted for the coming season.

But a potager also is planted for asthetic considerations. In some European countries they feature flowers, an apple or pear tree, and especially flowers for cutting and bringing inside. So I plan to sow a few seeds of cornflowers, bachelor buttons and larkspur to make it colorful.

Planned for planting in coming few days are two zucchini, one eggplant, one cucumber and two summer squash.  Later in early summer I'll think about sweet peppers and maybe a sweet potato or two. Come late summer, I want to plant winter squash, spinach, more lettuce. For fall, leeks, turnips, more onions, perhaps a broccoli plant, more radishes. During a mild winter in this climate, you can harvest kale, onions, cabbage and other cold-weather plants until around Christmas.

So you see it's an on-going thing with the potager. And remember, the quantities are small; nothing overwhelming, but hopefully you hope to have enough to share with a sister, mother, a few friends.

I have four blueberry bushes (with berries this year!) growing alongside the garden and numerous garlic bulbs --growing happily since last year -- than run the entire length of the garden on another side. Also planted last spring were four strawberry plants, which didn't do very well, but this year they have leaped out of the garden and are happily growing along a line of shrubbery. There have been a very berries, but alas, the birds have beat me to them!

Other plans for the area include a low fence around the entire perimeter, preferably white picket, but I'll take whatever my husband decides to install. The fence is needed to keep out rabbits and eight dog feet!

Stay with me on this one. I'll keep you posted on how things are progressing in my potager garden.


  1. That all sounds just great! I can see making menus based on what is ripening. And fenced in with white picket sounds delightful. Thanks for the image!

  2. Ahh,white picket so American country.

    Your potager garden sounds yummie all that healthy food to come.

    Our land is squalish mud with all the constant rain,same forecast for the weekend!! Hope your's will be better.Ida

  3. My sister - she really is something. She can do anything - believe me and its so pretty. She is truly a joy to know and I'm so fortunate to have her for my sister! This makes me wish I had a sun garden to grow these things but because of all the shade, must stick to shade gardening which is fun also.


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