The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens

Potager Plan 2016


It’s that very most favorite project of mine around this time of year … planning the Potager (vegetable garden) and ordering seeds! It doesn’t matter if you are in cold country or closer to the equator I’ve found, one still gets the gardener’s itch.

Yes, even though I try to have some amount of discipline and control, I went crazy! It’s time I revamp most of my seeds anyhow and well, they are stored in a box in a dark closet in my (frozen) house so how viable will they be anyway? I’ll find out. Yet, one more gardening experiment. Last year I stored my seeds in our heated garage so technically they did not freeze because the garage remained heated while we were away.

Before I migrated, I managed to move my office/studio to a slightly larger room in the house and I set up my seed station so that I am ready to start seeds the day after we get home? Last year I started seeds in my little greenhouse but I think it was still a little too cool to get things off to a really good start so this year I am going to germinate them indoors under lights and when I pot up they will go into the greenhouse. That is my strategy anyway.

Thank goodness I am not returning home to this!

Now I’m actually looking forward to getting back to my newly moved and reorganized office.


My seed station is to the right in the photo above in front of another window.

This year I’ve gone back to some of my favorite seed sources. Although Baker’s makes me drool – I mean, that catalog! – I don’t think the seeds do as well for me because of climate and locality as Johnny’s or High Mowing. It is from Johnny’s and High Mowing that I’ve ordered the bulk of my seeds from this year. I also ordered lots of flowers from Renee’s and even though she is in California, her seeds have always done well for me perhaps because most are annual flowers geared to grow fast?

Here it is my annual sketch/plan for the Potager, before I delve into my plant list for 2016. You can view previous years here, here, here and here. I am still missing 2014 (that was the COLD year that I didn’t escape even for a week). It’s fun to see the changes in the Potager over the years. You can click on this year’s plan to zoom in.


So, what am I growing?

If I had to pare it down to the bare minimum these would be my staples:

I enjoy peas early in the season. Not so much radishes but I am going to try some again. I am also going to try cucamelons again because they are just too cute and too fun. I like squash but we can get wonderful squash from the nearby farms, still so much fun to grow your own.

I am into colors so I have begun mixing colors i.e. black, red, gold tomatoes or purple and white eggplant or green and purple basil. Aside from that, the darker more colorful varieties are tooted to be higher in nutrients or antioxidants so win, win.

So, here is the list.

I’m going to make use of the greenhouse now that I’ve evicted the hornets. I will grow some things in large pots I’ve saved from purchasing shrubs.
GREENHOUSE/PEPPERS: Early Jalapeño Hot Pepper (so I can make one of my favorite vegan snacks/dip), Black Hungarian Hot Pepper
GREENHOUSE/EGGPLANT: Little Finger (black), Gretel (white)

HERBS (Annual)
Basils: Lime, Genovese, Purple Ruffles, Purple Dark Opal and Sacred
Cilantro: Caribe and Calypso (will be planted among the Squash – forgot to add that to my sketch!)

Spring Blush Tendril
Tall Telephone


Dinosaur or Lacinato (my favorite)
Curly Roja Kale
Kalettes! (Last year I restrained but I just have to try these!) Snowdrop and Mistletoe (The circled K on my sketch)

I prefer growing pole beans.
Blue Coco (I have been wanting to try!)
Runner Painted Lady (I love these for the hummingbirds)

Swiss Chard (going back to Bright Lights)
Belle Isle Cress
Forellenschluss Lettuce

Summer: Ronde de Nice
Fall: Honey Bear (a mini Acorn!)

For slicing and salads: Yellow Brandywine, Indigo Rose, Copia
For sauce: Speckled Roman
Cherry: Sun Gold, Supersweet 100, Indigo

I grow a staple of flowers in the Potager as well.

I like to mix Morning Glory on the trellises so when a vegetable vine is done there are still some pretty flowers to look at. I’ve also mixed in Cathedral Bells in the past – beautiful. The Morning Glory just comes back so no extra work for me.

Nasturtium is a must for eating, and companion planting.

Calendula reseeds itself valiantly as well as Borage. Borage is a bee magnet.

I will also try, try, try to tuck in some Sunflowers! Ants be damned. Last year they toppled their stems like trees by chewing around the base but hey, I moved that entire raised bed to the other side of the Potager so probably will not have ants again (I hope).

I am very excited for another year of gardening – THIS IS THE YEAR I can finally harvest my Asparagus – and can’t wait to also try out my new patio right in the garden so I can watch everything grow!


Author: Kathy Sturr

Artist, master gardener, plant-based chef. Florida's Nature Coast / Indian River Lakes, NY

16 thoughts on “Potager Plan 2016

  1. I absolutely love your potager plan! Functional AND beautiful – both the paper plan and (I am betting) the in-the-ground result. We’re trying to even figure out where we want to put the vegetable garden in this new yard, so I’m enjoyably envious of your progress.

  2. Looks like a great plan, Kathy! I ordered from High Mowing, too, but mostly cutting garden flowers with the exception of Orca (Calypso) beans, which are just so darn cute I had to try them. Larkspur, sweet peas, cosmos, sunflowers, and then I ordered some dahlias from Oregon. My nicotiana, calendula and cleome self-sow, so I should have lots to work with.
    We didn’t get one snowflake from that big storm – it passed right by us. It feels weird to have no snow in January!

    • Oh, I have eaten those beautiful Orca beans from Rancho Gordo and even painted one because I find them so beautiful! There’s one sitting on my window sill (frozen) in my office at home. LOVE

  3. I know! That snow totally missed the usual spots! Of course I have to go look up those Orca beans immediately! One of my goals is to try Dahlias Eliza but I’ve opted for some gingers this year … I need to establish a patch of reseeding Nicotiana! I hope to spend a lot of quality time in my garden this year – that’s what’s makes me truly happy! I can’t wait to see what YOU grow!

  4. Happy potager planning! Your before and after pictures of your studio are inspiring me to get going on my winter project, cleaning out my old study and turning it into a guest room/sewing room.

    • Hi Jean, I am always happy to inspire. It took me a lot of nerve to tackle that office of mine. I still have a few things to sort out but I am on a mission to simplify and organize. I have been inspired by The Art of Tidying Up! I would love to be a guest in your guest room someday! That is what my old office room is also destined for.

      • Ah, The Magical Art! aka Konmari! I used it to help me start the downsizing process before we moved from Kansas and I’ve been trying to remember the “spark of joy” as I unpack, but I probably ought to read it again for fresh inspiration. It IS amazing how just the relatively slight difference in how she approaches downsizing makes the process …. almost magical! Your office looks great, by the way!

  5. AMAZING! Love the new studio-office + oh my that potager is going to be amazing. I can hardly wait to stop by and visit and see what is growing. I am agree with you on the squash( winter), I am feeling a need to add some more perennial vegetables and gather some of that stuff from the local farmers that have more growing area. I am sifting through what I want to leave to the local farmers since we have such great farmer markets here in the bread basket of the world. Weeven have an indoor one all year! Winter squash is not lacking in the fall! It is fun to grow but I am finding it requires too much space even vertically. I love growing it vertically but I need some other things…always back to the drawing board with our potagers…Happy Gardening Kathy! Bring the son North when you come back:-)

    • Oh thank you Robbie – it means so much coming from the Queen of Potagers! I can’t wait to grow honey bear (honestly the name grabbed me because that is what I call my Mojo sometimes) but I do love acorn squash and I like the mini varieties – they seem more polite somehow in the Potager. I hope to grow honey bear vertically – I have to stay on top of it this year! Lucky for you to have an indoor market! I wish it was more sunny here – it’s been a little cold. I’m hoping for some more sun and warmth soon. I think I am becoming spoiled. I just need to look at a picture of my house up North and that will straighten me right out ha ha.

  6. I loved reading this Kathy. I have to get my plan on paper and that will be this week! Can’t wait. I love your drawing… all sounds yummy!

  7. This is the greatest! So much detail and thoughtfulness here!

  8. Hi Kathy, about those radishes…I hear ya. Never was a big fan until I discovered I could pickle them very easily and “improve” their taste! 😉 They are so incredibly easy to grow that I had more than we could possibly eat or give away even. So I make refrigerator pickles out of the extras and they last much longer. Martha Stewart has some great/easy recipes if you’re interested. Happy potager planning!

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s