What do you have in your potager?

campcreek(CenTex8b)January 30, 2006

I've always loved vegetable gardens, but never stuck just to them. My veggie plot was and is always an eclectic mix of all types of plants. We're in the process of enlarging and moving the main garden closer up to the house (YESSSS!!!), so we transplanted the perennials out before we began work on that.

Before we moved them, the veggie plot contained six kinds of irises, spider lilies, pink crinums, daffodils, liriope, and Texas Hummingbird sage sprinkled here and there at the ends of the beds and two kinds of gladiolas filling an entire 4'x6' bed of their own. Still there are a LARGE rosemary bush and a 6 year old pink & yellow old fashioned lantana Kenny's mother gave me. That's planted right in the middle of one end of the garden space and won't be moved 'til I for sure have cuttings rooted from it. Don't want to take a chance on losing it.

The new plot has a "five year plan" attached to it. It's quite an ambitious effort that hopefully will end with ninety (or close to that) 3'x20' raised beds made of stone enclosed by a long, continuous bed lining the perimeter fence. Yep, quite ambitious, but we're trying to grow all our own vegetables like my family did when we were kids, and we have the room, so why not, kwim? Plus, we have a ranch hand to help us ~ yeah, we're cheating. ;)

I'd LOVE to do some espalliered fruit trees in the perimeter bed ~ probably in the Belgian fence style. It would be nice if asparagus could live happily in those same beds ~ it will be FULL ALL DAY Texas sun, so maybe, maybe not. I'll find out soon enough ~ asparagus planting isn't going to be on top of the ToDo list for quite a while yet.

I hope to design a nice herbal knot garden in one area of the entire plot, but knowing me I'll end up sticking them wherever I find an empty spot. I'd just really like to stick to the plan of making the whole thing visually pleasing as well as edibly productive.

So, anyone else have any ambitious plans? Or a completed potager you'd like to talk about? And pictures! I LOVE looking at pictures of kitchen gardens and potagers, so bring 'em on! Please! :)

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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Campcreek, love the sound of your plans! Yes, they sound ambitious, but what a wonderful potager you'll have. Plus, there's nothing quite as good as home grown food.

I put a link to my potager on the other thread so I'll just mention a few plans. We'll be making a new bed in the middle of the potager in a month or so. This will be mostly decorative with a birdhouse on a post and a small pond. I plan to grow herbs around the perimeter with some flowers just for color. Gotta have that color!

I have been thinking I might want the raised beds higher, too. And maybe a ledge around the outside edge to sit on. I'm not that old (51) but sometimes I'd rather sit than stand. Can anyone relate?

Not much growing right now except some herbs and brocoli. I usually wait until Feb/Mar to add compost to the beds, but our weather has been so great I think I will do it this week. I like to add some bagged manure, as well. It really helps the vegies get off to a good start. I have a few soaker hoses that need replacing, too, so that will get done at the same time.

That's about it for now, other than seed starting. That's just around the corner for me. I will be picking up more seeds and seed mix this week. Can't wait!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 4:48PM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

YAHOO!!! A potager site. I am so happy!

You have some great ideas campcreek and Diana.

I'll be starting my potager garden this spring. In
the middle of the beds heirloom tomatoes and beans.
Around that a mix of lavender and herbs. Next layer
garlic, hot peppers, surrounding the bed will be
purple mustard and more herbs.

Nice to meet you campcreek ;-)


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 8:33PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I am just starting the beginning of a large Potager project. This is the "temporary phase" which will last many years...There are 3 raised beds, 3X6 now side by side (well, 3' in between each). I finally have a place in full-sun for some veggies, in the front yard of new property we purchased.
Eventually, I have plants similar to campcreeks. A knot garden, which would be just outside of the breakfast garden. These will be on one side of the house.
When we remove the 2nd house we purchased in several years time, we plant to use that entire area as the basis of a walled potager for veggies, espallier fruits, and of course some herbs for ornament. I have a seperate herb garden in the front of my own house, which is usually planted in a combo that is ornamental and useful.
I found a few photographs of potagers in magazines, one is a special favorite, which has been featured in several magazines. The beds are all sorts of shapes, and it's very artsy and interesting. I also like The Path To Freedom website for their ideas on creating more space saving ways to grow veggies. They have trellises etc. built inexpensively.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 11:30PM
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I stopped to see what this forum is about, and I think I have a potager and didn't know it, lol!
I have to get my husband to post pictures of it once everything is growing.
Its hard to describe. You walk towards it on a flagstone path with flower beds on both sides. There is a picket fence with an arch and a gate. The arch is covered in grapes ,one side white, one side concord. Inside on the white side there is blackberries with herbs below. Inside on the Concord side is blueberries, herbs, and a tree peony. Then down the damp north side, where it is next to a neighbor's garage, there is a hydrangea, japanese iris, horseradish, watercress, lobelia, primroses, another hydrangea, and at the back end where it becomes drier a Hansa rugosa rose. Along the back there is garlic, a spirea prunifolia, jerusalem artichokes, and a rose glauca, there are herbs also. Then on the south side is where the line of asparagus grows, there is also a lot of garlic. The big middle is where all the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, and whatever other vegetables I decide to grow go in rows. Oh and I have daffodils planted in with the other items I listed. I've probably forgotten a plant or two also.
Did I just make sense?
Do I have a potager? lol.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 11:32PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Makes sense to me! And yes, it sounds like you have a potager. : )

Traditionally, a potager was a French-style of vegetable gardening in a decorative manner. Flowers and herbs mingled with the fruits and vegies in a way that delighted the sense of sight as well as that of taste. It was a separate, enclosed space from the rest of the home's landscape. This helped to keep out unwanted critters, but mainly served as a transition from the home's surroundings into a space meant to surprise with its bounty of culinary and floral delights.

Today we take liberties with that definition, but it is still to most an enclosed space, separate from the rest of the landscape. Some use a hedge of evergreens to define the space, while others use the beds themselves, usually raised for better definition. Rarely do you see the high stone walls used by the French, but a picket fence is quite common. That was my choice and I'm really pleased with it. It has that element of surprise needed to be a potager and always makes visitors ask, "What's out there?" when they look out back.

BTW, Rosa gallica - the apothecary's rose -was widely grown in the potagers of old. It was used as an ingredient in herbal treatments. : )


    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 3:06PM
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Thanks, Diana. I've had a lot of people come over and they always love that part of my garden, but no one has ever used the word potager to describe it. But your definition of matches what I was trying to do. I wanted to keep my dogs from eating my vegetables. I had a rabbit fence up for awhile and I thought about what I wanted the area to look like for some time. I did purposely plan so that it would become its own space.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 10:44AM
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OH, yes, Diana, I can relate! I'm hoping we can make the stone beds 18" tall and more than 6" wide so I can sit instead of bend over, too. This will be my last garden plot, so it'll have to be comfortable for me for the rest of my life. I'm only 36, but I'm looking forward to the future. ;) And a pond! Oh, that gives me an idea for one in the middle of mine!! Thanks for the idea! :) I'm off to find your pictures now.

Nice to meet you, too, Edna! :) Your plans sound lovely as well! Purple mustard? I'll have to try to find seeds for that. It sounds like a nice border for something that blooms pink, or maybe golden zuchini.

GGG, what garden is that picture of? Is it a private potager or a public one? Think I could find it on the 'net? I'd love to see it! I just did a search for the Path to Freedom site ~ I'll have to go check it out.

Yep, makes sense to me, Remy! And I do think you have a potager there. ;) Sounds wonderful! And I'd LOVE to see pictures! :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 10:41PM
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Campcreek, Once the garden gets going I will definitely posts some pictures : )

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 4:54PM
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Great! Can't wait! :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 7:44AM
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dayleann(z4 VT)

Just looked at Path to Freedom-- a wonderful site.

In the 70s, I was on the steering committee for a group doing something similar in Portland, Oregon. We bought a condemned house in what was then the most derelict "inner city" part of Portland (now very chi-chi). We got grants to completely renovate it to be as self-sustaining as possible. Greenhouse on the roof where it could get sun, both for heat and growing plants, grey-water recycling, as much of the lot in food production as possible. It was intended to be a model for urban sustainability for the community, and our goal was to make it a community center. We held classes on things like solar heating, intensive gardening, etc.

For a while it was the offices for the magazine Rain, which at that time was a nationally known sustainable options mag. It went defunct in the late 90s but seems to have re-emerged as a webzine with offices in Eugene, OR.

I would love to know what happened to the house. I heard it was sold to a private owner. I'd like to think that it still retains some of the innovations for urban sustainability.

It makes me feel good to see other places carrying on that message, like Path to Freedom. Thanks for sharing that site.

Dayle Ann

Here is a link that might be useful: Rain Magazine

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 12:14PM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

In a historical light it was said and written ...
And Jacob sod pottage ...
and he served up a pottage of red lentils.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:52AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Campcreek, the photo of the potager was in an issue of Organic Gardening in 2005 I think. It was also featured again as a winning garden design in Garden Gate, however, the photos in Organic gardening are better.
I also like any/all of Roslyn Creasy's books on kitchen gardening. Fascinating and very ornamental. Gorgeous!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:08PM
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AWESOME, GGG! I think I'd LOVE those books! But I just did a quick search for Ms. Creasy's books to put them on my "To Buy Soon" list, but I didn't find anything. Is that the correct spelling of her name?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 5:58PM
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