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Photo by Jennifer R. Bartley

What is a potager and how is one designed.

A potager is more than an just a raised garden. It is a design element that can augment the beauty of your backyard.  A potager is the French word for kitchen garden. It means ‘for the soup pot.’

The French potager, she said, is different from American suburban vegetable gardens in several ways. “The French mix up herbs, edible flowers, non-edible flowers, fruits and vegetables and grow them together in a beautiful way,” explained Bartey, author of “Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook” (Timber Press, 2006). With a potager, she emphasized, you plant and replant throughout the season. Whatever is fresh and can be gathered in the season, that’s what you are bringing into the house and cooking with. So … for the soup pot. “The other thing is that historically the potagers were right outside the chateau where you could view them or you could just walk outside and have everything close at hand.”

I think it is important to pick plants that will not take over large areas.  I prefer to not have squash, pumpkins, rhubarb, and other more invasive plants.

Some of the things that would be a good choice for your potager garden are:

  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Beens
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Radishes

When designing your kitchen garden consider these:

  • Create some kind of enclosure
  • Plant the potager close to the house
  • Make it beautiful
  • Grow in raised beds
  • Pathways are important
  • Give your garden structure.


Photo by Jennifer R. Bartley

Source: How to design a potager garden

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About Gardener Joe

Every year I look in my back yard and debate on whether to have a garden again. Sometimes the effort to maintain a productful garden feels like more than it is worth. But, come spring, I inevitably give in and prepare the seedlings and work the soil. It's been that way for the last 9 years. Hopefully some of what I have learned, along with tidbits from others can help you and your garden grow.

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