"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Plans For A Potager

    I hope to talk my husband into helping me put in a potager soon. I am sure it will continue to be a work in progress. In case you didn't know, a potager is a French term for Kitchen garden.It is pronounced kind of like "puh ta zhay" Turn up your speakers and here it pronounced HERE.The traditional garden most Americans think of  are done in rows. They usually only contained edibles. Looks wasn't important. The potager is different in that vegetables, fruits, flowers, and more are grown. It is designed to be attractive as well as practical. Some are decorated with birdhouses, fountains, and benches. With the small raised beds, the dirt doesnt get walked on so it doesnt get packed down, plus any amendments are right where they are needed, not out in the paths.
    The potage I would absolutely LOVE to have is at Lullabelle's View.  Never hearing the term "potager" before, it was love at first sight. Mine will probably have to start much more simpler, and hope to some day evolve to something similar ( a girl can dream can't she,lol). Right now, I plant on 4 beds built to 4'x8', and with pathways 2.5' to 3 feet wide. I also plan on a 2 foot planting border around all sides. The entrance will face the back of my house, and will be trellised with either Clematis or Morning Glory vines growing over it. My main task is to get the 4 beds in and a fence around it. Since my home is a ranch style, I think maybe a dark stained split rail fence.Here is a quick sketch of what I have envisioned:  
You can click on it to enlarge.
All around the 3 sides (shown in green) I plan on planting sunflowers, and marigolds. Maybe even a few Rose of Sharon. I thought maybe these tall shrubs may hinder the deer from jumping in. I may also put up  some kind of fencing against the split rail fence.The brown areas represent planting beds. I have considered raised beds, But I think I may sink mine in the ground some, and dig down into the ground below the frame, and generously amend my poor soil with lots of compost, horse manure, and peat. The bottom of this drawing will face my raised tiered bed just behind my house.
I wish I could afford brick or stone paths  now, but they will have to wait. For now I will probably just use landscaping fabric and straw in the paths.Below is a list of the seeds I already have purchased to plant:
1. Lettuce "Master Chef" from Parks Seed
2. Genovese Basil
3. Thyme
4. Sweet Marjoram from Parks Seed
5. Garlic Chives from Parks Seed
6. Basil Purple Ruffles from gardenweb trade
7. Tomato "Ananas Nori" from gardenweb trade ( 85 dtm,also known as Black Pineapple,The skin is  
    shades of green, purple, orange, and yellow. The bright green flesh is streaked with red, the
    flavor starts out sweet and ends slightly tangy. This indeterminate  yields about 1 1/2 pound 
8. Sweet Basil from Red Rock Nursery
9.Cucumber Burpless
10. Peppers "California Wonder" (green and red)
11. Onion Evergreen Bunching from Red Rock Nursery
12. Blue Lake 274 Green Beans Bush type from Parks Seed
13. Mountaineer Garden bean  White half runner pole type from Parks Seed
14. Mr. Big Pea from Parks Seed

The following tomato seeds ( all indeterminates) are all from gardenweb trades:
1. Caspian Pink  (80 dtm,produces large 12 oz tomatoes,thought to be one of the best tasting tomatoes available.According to some taste tests it even beat out Brandywine.
2. Brandywine  (can't wait to try this one with all the excellent reviews)( 80dtm from transplants,An heirloom that is 
     considered one of the best tasting.
3. Sungold Cherry  (55-58 dtm,very sweet, ripens to a golden orange)
4. Black Plum   (82 dtm, Russian variety with a sweet tangy flavor,colored a deep mahogany)
5. Cherokee Purple  (80 dtm, at least 100 year old heirloom,large 12-16 oz,dark pink with dark purple shoulders, 
     excellent flavor, slight sweet aftertaste,excellent for sandwiches)
6. Mortgage Lifter (great story with this one. Supposedly a man from WV was able to save his home from
    foreclosure with these.)  (85 dtm, fruits are large, pink, over a pound each, one of the best beefsteaks 
7. Black Krim  (80 dtm, brownish purple to marron colored, with greenish shoulders, sweet, mild, rich flavor,
    approx 12 oz each)
Plus lots of flowers. I also have a grape vine that I rooted from one I had that I want to place in the back. I still want to purchase Raspberries and/or Blackberries, and several Strawberry plants to put in the perimeter beds inside the potager.
Here's to BIG dreams   


  1. How exciting. Your plans look very exciting

  2. I also have a potager or Kitchen Garden. Mine has four L shaped beds around the outside with 4 small square beds in the L. I love it. It always looks good, even when it is empty. I have pictures of it on my blog if you are interested in seeing the shape.

  3. I'm sure it will be charming!

  4. Thanks. I just hope it works out. I havent had a veggie garden for a long time due to the deer problem.

  5. Love your potager Deborah.It has a very interesting shape. Assume since you dont have it fenced, pests arent a problem. You are so lucky.

  6. Thanks Sheila. I hope it ll works out. I plan on taking lots of pics if my husband will help with the labor.

  7. Black Krim was our favorite tomato last year. I like your idea to include some flowers. I do it in my kitchen garden. In my perennial/vegetable garden, it works well too. Happy gardening to you!

  8. Thanks tatyana (love the name), I cant wait to try these heirlooms, I have only tasted traditional varieties and store bought.

  9. It will be interesting to see the development of your design. I found people are reflected in their potager. I started one a few years ago in our backyard. Actually, I'm feeling mine is a collage potager. It is not really a "formal/traditional" potager but a more "informal." Today it seems a potager is unique to the individual. I like your plans, it will be fun to watch develop. Very pretty

  10. Roberta, This will be my second season, and I cant wait. So far the milorganite has done very well for keeping out the deer in my backyard for about a yr and a half. I did have loads of problems with stinkbugs on my tomotoes last yr and was very dissapoited. A few tomatoe hornworms as well, but nothing that couldnt be handled. I think this yr, I am going to stick with mostly traditional varieties and a few cherokee purple again.