In the French kitchen garden or potager, gardeners have intermingled vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs since medieval times. Often called the jardin de curé, or country curate’s garden, this intimate and sensual style is comparable to that of the English cottage garden, except that it is centered on vegetables rather than flowers.
The potager garden is a bit different from an ordinary vegetable garden – which is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. Instead, the potager garden is designed to be useful and visually appealing year-round, and often incorporates flowers (edible as well as non-edible) in addition to the vegetables. The potager garden is not solely concerned with food but also with beauty. In French, the word potager means that what’s grown in the garden is served at the table.
Potager Garden Layout
Layouts are limitless. You can opt for formal, geometric, and symmetrical designs, as gardens of the French Renaissance reflect. Or you can forget about traditional rows and let your imagination fly. Diagonals, circles, and even checkerboard patterns can look quite striking.
Paths can be made of just about any material. Gravel, brick, and bark are fairly low-maintenance. Lawn paths are also a simple option.
Raised beds can be made using a variety of substances including wood, wicker, stones, or cement blocks. If you’re feeling particularly artsy,take a look at this sculpture-like garden made with Cor-ten steel:
Selecting Plants for your Potager Garden
Of course, you’ll want to plant those vegetables which you enjoy in your recipes. But here are eight traditional potager garden vegetables, however, that are worth considering:
Looking to be inspired? Take a walk around our Downtown Farm Market in which you’ll find vegetables and flowers tucked away everywhere. No space is wasted.