Roll call for spring...what's new in your potager?

lavender_lass(4b)February 8, 2011

Hi all!

It's February, I know, but spring feels like it's on the way, so what are your plans for your potager this year? Are you redesigning, enlarging, changing plants...or keeping everything 'as is' because it worked so well last year?

This year, I'm adding a fence to the perimeter of my potager, which will create a bed on the inside for veggies/flowers and a bed on the outside for fruit on two sides and perennial flowers and herbs, on the other two. I'm hoping this will provide more of a sense of enclosure...and make it a little more difficult for the deer to 'munch through' my garden! LOL

What about you?

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ali-b

I'm still here! I hope this forum gets going again.

My plans for this year:
new fence! (or there will be no veggies)
move blueberry bushes outside fence
rearrange herb bed
bed for leeks outside fence along the side
divide perennials in pollinator garden in front
divide hops
do better succession planting
build veggies cages to protect against insects

The veggie cages are still on the drawing board. I wanted it to look like a large (4'x4'x33")square pyramid-shaped cloche with insect netting instead of glass. Any ideas on how to achieve this are welcome! I bought some parthenocarpic (no pollinators) zucchini to grow under cover. I'm tired of my squash getting blasted by SVB and squash bugs. But, of course, I want the covers to look good.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 1:41PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Ali-b, I've read that catmint is supposed to do a good job keeping squash bugs away, but it has to be close to the plants. Radishes and nasturtiums planted right around the plant, are supposed to help, too. I don't know if they work or not, but it might be worth a try...for any areas not protected by the new cloches.

They sound very pretty! Sorry, I have no ideas as to construction, but they sound like a nice addition to your potager :)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 4:23PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I plan to completely remove and replace a chain link fence surrounding the potager. That means moving a LOT of perennials which I can't do right now...hopefully the fence man can get it up, and painted within 3-4 days in April so I can replant and not loose too much time with plants out of the ground. Everything really needs to be divided anyway...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 6:21PM
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potager_newbie(Zone 8, TX)

We have tilled an area around our four raised beds to almost double the size of our potager and make more area available fore more flowers! The new area will be raised, but only about half as high as the original area, and we will hopefully have the soil worked and ready to go for planting in March (which you have to do in Texas if you want anything to grow before it gets into the 100's!). We're also experimenting with some new trellises and more bug-resistant companion plantings. Will post pics when more work is accomplished! Glad to see this forum waking back up... can't wait for spring and some beautiful pics of everyone's gardens!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 8:54AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I'm keeping as is. The design works and I don't need bigger beds. Well, I take that back. It would be nice to have an extra bed right now to sow bush beans since I took up their space with English peas. Then again the beans seem to do better as a fall crop down here. So I guess I'm good to go.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 1:40PM
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young-gardener

Lav- Lovely finding you here! Our interests cross yet again. I'm planning to start a potager this year, and I'm so excited! RIght now, I'm gathering inspiration and taking copious notes.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 4:45PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Young- Great to see you, too! Do you have a design for your potager, yet? What zone do you live in...is it getting warm enough to plant? It's at least another month until planting, here in eastern Washington.

Natal- Of course you're not changing anything...your garden is beautiful, as is!

Newbie- Looking forward to seeing pictures, with all your new flowers :)

GGG- What kind of fence are you planning to use around your potager?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:29PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I am hoping that this year we will have all the beds built and the fence to go up. I am not too hopeful on production yet as it is going to take some time to build the soil up. The bed building has been a slow process as we are harvesting the rocks ourselves.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 4:19PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I'm thinking of adding a sitting area covered with grapes on the west side so it doesn't shade anything.
There's really not much shade in the yard since I lost my giant Chinese Elm to Dutch elm disease a couple of years ago =(, so I could use a nice garden sitting spot!
I'll put in a couple of DH's hand carved chairs and watch my garden grow!
The beds will be about the same since I grew NOTHING during last years foggy summer!
Maybe something new for an herb garden. They're all in pots this year. Nancy

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:36PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

The new fence around the potager will be a simple gothic picket. They are inexpensive, and it matches the fence beside it. We own two houses side by side, and the potager is at the 2nd house. The fence will match the one we put up at the other house. We have rules about fence heights, and I want something taller than we are allowed, but nothing that blocks too much light - so I decided to put a simple rebar arch between each set of pickets and add more climbing roses. We'll have a rose bush in the center of every section of the pickets and underneath will be a wonderful place to grow beautiful, bountiful herbs. Luckily I will be able to move all the current perennials to the back yard. This sort of perimeter garden can also be raised with the chunks of cement I really like to use for "rocks" - and will integrate well with the fruit and medicinal herb potager planned for the other half of that front property. Eventually I suppose I'll remove all the wooden beds in my current potager and use the cement chunks and make the beds in unusual and unique shapes. We plan to have that house torn down in the next few years, and a smaller but taller garage and storage area built in it's place. I will be able to double the potager and add the lean-to greenhouse I would love to someday have.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:07PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have ordered some clematis to train on my arch and bench arbor, and plan to dig some very small flower beds around the bench too. Other than that, my structure is complete. I'm just itching to get growing!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 8:19PM
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mandolls(4)

I have ordered two dwarf apple trees and two dwarf pear trees from Stark Bros, to espalier on either side of the gate on the outside of the fence (north side)

Its going to be a long time until they look good, but I'm excited!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:26AM
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young-gardener

Lav- I'm still sketching away on graph paper. DH wants to relevel and seed the back yard, so I have to wait for him to that first. We are removing our (falling down) shed and replacing it in a new spot so I can have plenty of gardening space. I worked in the front beds today. Spring has sprung! I have my sights set on a picket fence. :) I'm in zone 7b.

girlgroupgirl- Your garden sounds wonderful! I hope you post pictures of it this spring.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:07PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Springtime? What's that? We still have 7-ft. high pyramids of frozen plowed snow which would have to be shoveled away with a jackhammer.

But I've been thinking about that eventual season and succumbed to the temptation to buy a few seeds, just the early crop ones such as peas and spinach.

Meanwhile, the roses, which are the real reason for the potager and its tall poles, are, I hope, surviving. Won't know until after the horrible freeze/thaw/freeze time of early April.

Carol

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:28AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Shoot! I went out to move wood away from the new sitting area and forgot about getting irradiated by the satelite dishes on the side of the house! Oh well, I'll just move the trellis down a few feet so it shades the sliding door out to the garden and an area to sit next to it. Nancy

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:12PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

My biggest new development is that I'm starting a new potager. I've decided to convert my old raised beds into berry patch beds and have new cinder block raised beds built where I can put a more effective fence around them to keep out the dogs. I've chosen a spot that will provide plenty of room and I have the area prepared (dug out, leveled, gravel spread) for the first of four beds to go in, now I'm waiting for the ground to dry out and since we're getting rain every few days so I fear it may be a while.

Other than that I'm very excited about my new grape vines and kiwi trellis, they are technically outside of the potager but they are right next to it so I figure it kind of counts.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:23AM
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ali-b

peachymomo- just a caution. Deer really like kiwi vine. The deer managed to jump into my garden. They actually stood on my blueberry bush (breaking it) to eat all the leaves on the kiwi.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:08PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Thanks for the warning, but I haven't had a deer come near my garden in the six years I've been here although our last house was just a couple miles away and deer ate nearly everything I planted. Talking to the neighbors I learned that we have a healthy population of coyotes and they keep the deer away, and they eat people's chickens. It's a trade off.

One of my neighbors had Kiwis but they were done in by gophers, so I planted mine in gopher cages and I'm hoping they will be safe. I also read that some cats will react to kiwi leaves like they do to catnip, I'm hoping that won't happen with my cat because he loves catnip and tends to kill the plants I scatter around for him.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 12:05PM
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bobanda(6)

Everything in my potager is new!! My husband and I have a small yard so I am doing a raised bed around my patio. Its 20 sq/ft so we are using square foot gardening principles with a potager feel. I'm so glad I found this forum, since I am a fan of Garden Web but this is my first try at vegetables since I moved off the farm lo these many years ago.

We're putting in an early round of beets, peas, radishes and spinach and then tomatoes, red/white/yellow onions, yellow squash, zucchini, nasturtiums, marigolds, and a slew of peppers. I also hope to put in herbs when the peas are gone, and start lavender from seed in there and transplant it out into beds.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:20PM
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nycynthias(Z6 NY)

I'm still here too! Lots of change in my potager this year! It's only the second year, and we're actually just getting our fence in now. As far as structural changes, we're adding a black iron fence all the way around, a couple of feet out from the primary potager area, which is a series of 4x4 raised beds. So that gives me loads of new spaces for flowers! Im doing a mix of annuals and perennials this year just to keep costs down, but in subsequent years will try to move more into perennials. We're planning to also include a boxwood in each corner, probably potted.

As for new edibles I'm really doing the same stuff I usually grow: tomatoes (5-6 types), lettuces, radishes, carrots, cukes, bush and climbing beans, zucchini and yellow squash, hot peppers, asparagus, strawberries and blueberries, and of course tons of herbs. I'm growing lavender from seed for the first time this year, so far successfully, so that's a nice change for me, lol...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:37PM
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wirosarian_z4b_WI

Ordered some 'Mara des Bois' strawberries, some will go in a hanging planter & some in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:51AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Same here! I got three hanging strawberry planters and some Mara des Bois for one, Fraises des Bois for another, and I think I'll go with a regular everbearing like Seascape for the third. I just couldn't help myself.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 2:49PM
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ghoghunter

I just planted my onion sets and some iceberg lettuce. Later this afternoon the sugar snap peas will go in so they can climb on the trellis. My potager is just 4 ft by 8 ft so it is small compared to a lot of others. The soil was wonderful though when I turned it over. It's exciting to get started finally!!!
Joann

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:38PM
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nycynthias(Z6 NY)

Oh, by the way, I wanted to mention that this is year two for our raised bed/ square foot garden beds, and prepping them for planting took basically NO time this year! Love them. I tossed in a little compost, and a bit of topsoil to level them out where the existing soil had settled, and they were ready to go. Too bad my dog dug up the pease I carefully sowed on st paddy's day! Lol. Thus: the new fence, which is now complete.
That project begat another, of course, so we're adding some large boxwoods to the back of the potager ,as well as a bunch of other perennials. The new fence gave me about 150 extra square feet of planting space, so woohoo!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 2:51PM
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young-gardener

I started building my potager this weekend and just couldn't wait for "finished" pictures. We have a long way to go. One bed has yet to be leveled and installed, another to build/install, things left to plant, pea and tomoato supports to build, and we still have to add the fence, water feature and the pea gravel walkways. But, we're off to a good start, and I'm excited.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:02PM
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mrtoad(7b NC)

This year for the first time I am planting horseradish,, note in photo I have three terra cotta pots at the end of each planting box ,, which gives me 8 sets of three pots last year,, four sets were two pots of herbs, one of flower and the other four sets were two pots of peppers and, one of flower

This spring same for herbs and peppers but replacing two flowers with horseradish

If you have other ideas for the single center pot,, please share

Thanks, mr toad

note - photo was taken a few years ago when i only planted peppers

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 10:46AM
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aubade

This is the 4th season for my potager, and happily there isn't anything major I need to do to it this year. Last year I put in all new paths, which have worked nicely this year to keep the weeds down so I'm very happy about that! I was able to clean up the whole garden last weekend in prep for planting in under 2 hours. I also built tomato cages and rowcover structures last year that are still good, so that's done too.

I will be cutting down from 6 tomato plants to 2 this year, since they didn't do too well last summer. With the extra space, I'm trying several brand new crops I never grew before: leeks, belgian endives and ground cherries.

I'm also trying a new variety of cucumber - cool breeze (pathenocarpic), which will hopefully have better production than the Diva I grew under rowcover last year. I'm also eliminating bell peppers since they never produce that well and trying hungarian blocky type peppers instead.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 3:04PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Well, LOTS of rain have produced tons of weeds! I've been weeding one area at a time...and slowly making progress. I keep telling myself, it's all this great soil, which the weeds love, so hopefully my veggies will too :)

I have wormwood (nasty little weed) everywhere! Luckily, it's easy to pull out when it's this small, but a nightmare once it gets bigger. Does anyone else have a weed problem this early?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 12:58PM
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riverfarm(7)

I'm growing sweet potatoes this year; we haven't done them in a long time. We ordered some Mara des bois strawberries, and I've moved the strawberry patch over next to the raspberries. I had heard great things about Mara des bois but had never tasted them, and then when we were in France this fall a woman was selling them at the outdoor market so I bought some. They were just wonderful so I was glad to find a source for them here. They're supposed to arrive tomorrow.

We ordered some biodegradable fiber fencing from Gardeners Supply for our bean poles, but it was a bear to put up because it was cut on some sort of odd bias and we couldn't get it square. I'm not sure if we'll do that again. Normally we would just run twine up and down between two horizontal bamboo poles supported by vertical poles, but I had hoped this would be easier.

We're trying lima beans for the first time. I planted my Fortex pole beans already, and put the limas in today; I hope it's not too soon!

Earlier this spring I sprinkled some California poppy seeds at the edges of my rows, by the brick path, and they're starting to come up. I'll buy some blue or purple bedding plants to provide contrast to the orange, plus some other colors to give a cottage garden effect.

I have 76 tomato plants that I grew from seed, and room for only about 40. I also have pepper and eggplants. And I'm trying Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries for the first time.

Should be an interesting season! And by the way, how do you include photos in your posts???

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:22PM
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Mountainsong129

I appreciate people posting on this thread. I am back on GW after many years away. I am still trying to work out what I will do with my gardens this year. Between homes and jobs, I have moved 8 times since 2002, and am a bit tired out. We are currently in a house that we are renting with a contract to buy, but there is no action on the house we need to sell to make this all work. We may have to move late summer. And abandon a garden. Again. Aaarghh!

But... when spring comes the Gardener must plant... So, I did get some tomatoes, basil and zinnias started under the lights. Yes, they were late, but I am just happy they're up and thriving, at about 2" currently. The previous tenants had a small wading-type swimming pool which they removed when moving out. Hmmmm.... leaving a perfect circle shape. I still need to be sure there is nothing toxic there; trying to find time and learn what to do for lab soil tests. Anyhow, I turned over some dirt there, and hope to put in a real circle garden. For some reason, I am a bit obsessed with circular gardens, although they do not seem practical. I will try to put faster crops in there, so I would be able to harvest if we have to leave: spinach, kale, mesclun and various lettuces. I also want to put peas in. They could have been put in weeks ago, but I have been waiting until I can drive back out to the old house and "harvest" as much finished compost from our big triple-composter back there. I will mix with peat moss, a la, "square foot gardening," but will plant in wedge shapes. If this works out, I will post pictures. It is more a design of the heart than of logic.

I have some earthbox-type containers with water reservoirs, and will be sure to get some tomatoes and basil in those, in case we have to move. (This is the "logic" part!) To make it feel a bit more like "home," I will be sure to transplant my lavender plants to one bed I will keep drier and less rich with compost. I will transplant oregano to that bed, and lemon balm to some pots, perhaps. I am trying to keep a better, more detailed garden journal this year, to help provide continuity in the middle of chaos! (economy-induced, BTW) Keep posting plans, fellow potage-ettes!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:12AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Lavenderlass, here I am again, shoveling horse manure and trying to stay dry what with all the rain here (NE coast). What's new this year: my baby tomato plants are being bitten off, probably by birds - more nesting birds than usual this Spring. The climbing roses, the reason for the potager, are in the 2nd phase of "sleep, creep, leap" and are growing 3-4 ft. canes. Not a wildly exciting year, but like all gardeners, I wait and hope.

Carol

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:40AM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Carol- Trust me, it will look amazing, when those roses start 'leaping' :)

Thank you all for the responses. It's so much fun to see what everyone is doing in their gardens, this year!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:49PM
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skitt(4a)

My potager-inspired garden is new this year. New raised beds and new fruit trees and currants. We re-did our backyard completely this year, so the grass hadn't even been re-seeded yet when I took this picture. But here it is so far!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:50PM
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