Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden. This is the second section of my garden I began working in the Spring of 2009. I call it the Potager, or kitchen garden. It is where I grow a number of vegetables and fruits to bring to the table. To view a sequential slide show of the making of the Potager, simply click on the first image below. You will be taken to an enlarged viewing screen. Click the arrows on either side of each image to navigate, or use the arrows on your keyboard. (Please note the slideshow may not work properly on your mobile phone.)
Below are links to previous posts detailing the making of the paths and the making of the rustic structures including the arbor if you wish to dig deeper.
The “before” picture our first Spring in Clayton 2008 and the future site of the Potager. The Potager or kitchen garden is not ideally sited near the house/kitchen because this area in the back of the property receives the most sun.
First, a garden shed! The shed flanks the right side of the Potager. The shed is modeled after Amish sheds for sale in the area but we were not able to find someone to deliver a shed to our property. So, my husband bought the lumber from the Amish and built this himself, for me – what a guy!
Spring 2009. With the shed complete, a few simple raised beds are added. Eventually I would like to encase them with stone. I spaced them with this in mind.
The raised beds as seen from the shed. Compost bins – or piles really (in the far background), flank the left side of the Potager. The base fill for these beds was the aged grass or sod, dug up from the making of the Bird & Butterfly Garden the previous year.
End of Summer 2009. Here it is, my very first vegetable garden. Eating from this small garden has only increased my appetite!
More planting beds were added and were created between the raised beds in the Spring of 2010.
Newspaper was laid out and then topped with fresh mulch to create the paths.
More growing space to satiate that garden fresh appetite.
High Summer 2010.
In 2010 I play with garden structures to add height and interest to the Potager, adding a rustic arbor in Fall.
The rustic arbor is my most complex structure so far. Here it stands through Winter 2010.
The tiki torch tomato cage assembled with reclaimed, cut down tiki torches.
Rustic obelisks replace the somewhat flimsy bamboo and chicken wire towers. The chicken wire didn’t work well and made harvesting difficult. The obelisk draped with biodegradable garden netting supports peas – much better.
The arbor supports Scarlet Runner Beans Summer 2011.
The arbor supports Trumpet Vine in 2012. I experimented with several annual flowering vines on the arbor – Exotic Love Vine, Morning Glory – but found myself wishing for blooms earlier in the season. Hummingbirds frequent the Potager and love the sprinkler.
What hummingbird could resist these trumpet (Campsis ‘Flamenco’) blooms? And lucky for them, they bloom earlier in the season than most annual vines.
Ornamental gourds surprised me in 2012 and also found their way up the arbor on the other side.
In 2012 I play with hardscape in the Potager. Here, a wine bottle border. Now I like my wine but I had a lot of help collecting these bottles! Even better, drinking the wine together with friends and keeping the bottles.
Squash spilling over the bottle border.
The bottle border almost complete.
The mulch paths are great – much better than grass – but need to be freshened every so often so I’m opting for even less maintenance. The main center path has been nicknamed the “recycled path.” I will continue to add bits of stone, brick, bottles, pavers, whatever material I come across, until it is complete.
Cement slabs were added in front of the shed door to prevent the inevitable mud stomping romp in Spring. They do not stop the strawberries!
Summer 2012. A view from the compost bins towards the shed. Horseradish and Purple Perilla are in the foreground.
The same view shifted to the right. Lacinato Kale takes stage.
Another shift to the right. The tiki tomato cage became rickety and was repurposed once again into these tomato cages ringed with grapevine.
The other corner of the Potager.
By the end of 2012 the Potager is now seamlessly linked to the Woodland Edge and also to a new section, just started, along the other side of a new fence. A few perennials tucked in here and there blend the Potager into the rest of the garden.
Lacinato Kale laced with frost.
The Potager is just as beautiful as a flower border. In fact, I plant numerous flowers among my vegetables to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. Many are edible. Marigolds deter rabbits. Here daisies spill over the path in Spring 2012.
Borage is always buzzing with bees.
Nasturtium is a staple in the Potager. Its peppery leaves add flavor to salads. Its flowers are delicious, too.
Calendula ‘Flashback’ flowers decorate a dip.
Sunflowers are also a staple in the Potager and are left standing through the winter to feed birds.
Swamp Milkweed attracts many pollinators and is also a host plant for the Monarch Butterfly.
A grouping of annual Zinnia and Rose Mallow.
Queen Red Lime Zinnia
Then there are the vegetables, of course! Rainbow Swiss Chard is just as ornamental as it is tasty.
Beets in a rainbow of colors.
Easter Egg Radishes
Cayenne peppers. This variety is known as ‘Ring-O-Fire.’
One of my favorites is cherry tomatoes. I love to snack on them right there in the garden.
Project: Rustic Arbor
Project: Rustic Obelisk