Leaping into the potager

brenan(7)May 22, 2007

Hi all,

I've committed to enlarging my two 12x4 vegetable and 10x10 herb beds into a full-fledged potager, or at least something that resembles one : ). I now have four 12x4 beds, 2 4X4s, 2 2X2s and a 4x2. That's a huge expansion since last year, and I keep eyeing other spaces in the yard.

Anyway, I've planned and/or planted the vegetables and herbs, but I haven't really thought a lot about flowers. I do have some marigolds in with the tomatoes and basil, but that's about it.

Are there any flowers that would grow in the bed with eggplants, say, at the edge of the raised bed in front of the eggplants? Are there some typically "potager inspired" flowers I could look into?

I'm also looking for a perennial vine that can cover a 15' stretch of picket fencing (about 40" high). I would like something might have some fall/winter interest, say interesting woodiness, leaves, or flowers, and/or something that is particularly suited to the potager garden. Any thoughts on that? I live next to Washington, DC, so we get really hot humid summers.

I really hope to make this work. I've put so much time and effort (and quite a few pennies) into the soil, seedling, fence, arbor, etc. that I would like this to come to fruition.

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions!


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Sounds like you have some great ideas. I am admitedly new to the potager idea. I have a huge row garden that I share with the neighbors, but I am not going to do that forever and I really enjoy the little bed I have right up against the house and plan on expanding that into a potager. My own personal rule of thumb is to stick with edible flowers. Of course there are the herbs which flower, but also annuals such as my favorites nasturtium and pansies and of course marigolds and sunflowers. Perennials include Bee Balm, Crysanthemums, Cornflower, Day Lillies. Just google edible flowers for more ideas. Can't think of an appropriate vine. I use annual Sweat Peas or runner beans for color and interest on my fence. Let us know how it turns out!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:31AM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

For a perennial vine, you could try passionflower, there are some that will overwinter in our area. If that doesn't work, try annuals, like yard long beans, snow peas, even campsis (a perennial, which is very vigorous).

For edgers, I second Farmer at Heart's advice-violas, pansies (when it's cool), nasturtiums. I also like purple fennel, any kind of basil, rosemary, thyme. 2 plants that I really like (& that the bees & butterflies appreciate) are agastache & nepeta, they may sprawl a bit, but if you cut them back mid-summer, they're managable...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 6:17PM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

Do be careful of the nastursiums, as they can be invasive after a couple of years! I've had to pull them out by the handful this year!
I would plant the nastusiums outside of the vege area, maybe outside the raised bed if you are doing that. They are beautiful and edible, but CAN take over!
I am searching for the list I have from last year's flower show of the totally edible garden that was created!
If I don't find it , I'll get another list this year.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:12PM
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Nasturiums are invasive in parts of California, but not at all here in MD. Consider bignonia (cross vine) for your fence. An excellent native vine. A cousin of trumpet vine, but with exponentially better manners.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 10:44AM
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Thanks for the ideas. I'll check into these vines and see if they might work for my fence / sun situation,etc. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some pics together.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 9:36AM
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southshoregardener(z7 NY)

I like to use allysum, nastutiums and marigolds. Lobelia is nice too.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 8:49AM
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I have grown passionflower (common purple kind) and gloriosa vines (red and yellow)in FL zone 9. The passionflower was a great butterfly attracter, and kept its leaves all winter. The gloriosa vine was gorgeous, but kind of petered out as the weather cooled down. It was probably the lessening sunlight available however, in the case of the gloriosa. Although both tried to go out of bounds, they were easily managed with scissors every once in a while.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 11:55AM
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