Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'M GOING ALL FANCY

I have decided to rename my kitchen garden. I'm going to call it the potager.


Surely this French word for kitchen garden has to have been derived from potage, meaning soup. Lots of things for the pot in my garden and also quite a potage of other things too.


As summer turns to fall there is much work to do to prepare for the winter potager. We have an excellent winter growing season here in central Texas and green crops are already well on the way. But it wasn't always like this. There was lots of work to do before I could even begin to grow vegetables.


First came laying the pipework for a drain which would be located in the center of the garden.


With that done we then built a short retaining wall along the back edge of the garden. We already knew we would have to build raised beds because this area had been filled with rubble. This was my way of laying out how the beds would go. Once again several angles to contend with. I finally settled on seven 4'x4' square beds and four 4'x8' beds, which David built for me.


Looking towards the house I decided it would be better to create a paved area which we did with pavers that David made by hand. If you look closely you can see the original 3 he made as a trial. He went on to make over 180.




But there are more than vegetables growing here.


In this area I grow herbs. Some edible some more decorative like this santolina and Dittany of Crete.


A wayward mullein which will be allowed to remain until it flowers.


All kinds of plants soften the paving. Alyssum, chives, blanket flowers, feather grass, Mexican marigold mint, verbena, cosmos. If it looks good it gets to stay.


In the winter beds I am growing, pak choi, sugar peas, radish, mustard, lettuce, broccoli, Napa cabbage, garlic. Two beds are planted with a cover crop of Austrian peas. Among the pavers and in the gravel are California poppies, blanket flowers, cornflowers, cilantro, dahlberg daisy. Yes, it's a veritable potage.

22 comments:

  1. I so regret not taking "before" pictures of my garden. It is interesting to see what you started with and what you have now.

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  2. Love it!

    Why are some of the beds caged over? Do you still have critters getting into the garden, even with the walls?

    I may use this for inspiration around my garden shed -- when I build it that is.

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  3. Daphne once told me how "we Texans are high follutin" about her "duvet" (that I called a "comforter"). So "potager" = fancy, but now I know its origin!

    But thanks for all the contextual views, not to mention the process in creating what you now have. Liking your winter garden!

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  4. Les- I did have one or two photos but they were taken on film and we weren't quite so frivolous with our picture taking in those days. I used my digital camera to take a photo of the photo.
    Alan- Yes we still have critters. Rabbits, cotton rats, etc. Also I found that I was finally able to grow squash this year because I kept out the squash vine borer. On cold nights I can cover the cages with blankets.
    Desert dweller-It is a bit 'fancy' to call it that. When we were growing up we called our comforters, eiderdowns because they were filled with eider down. They went on top of everything else. Then we copied the European idea of putting on a cover and called them duvets. Now they were they only thing you had on the bed. No sheet, just the duvet in its cover. We had this for years but find it too hot and when we go over to the UK we die under those heavy duvets! Give me a sheet and a blanket any day, Full circle!

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  5. Jenny, I love how your potager must change through the seasons with the mystery of all the self seeding plants. New surprises turning up for you all the time! Loved seeing the before and after shots too.

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  6. Love it. What a pleasant place to putter away the morning. Love the coverings for the beds. Keeps pests out and looks good too!

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  7. David did such a wonderful job building all of your raised beds and making all the pavers! What a great man!!! Good looking greens there!!!

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  8. I have always loved your gardens, but I had no idea until recently how very, very hard you have worked to make it that way. Making your own pavers was a stupendous, mind boggling idea and David did a fantastic job. Thanks for sharing the beginnings. It is an inspiration to see how far you have come from the rubble and bare dirt.

    Barbara H.

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  9. Beautiful! The lovely randomness of the plants growing through the gravel and pavers is a perfect counterpoint to the order and geometry of the raised planters.

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  10. Definitely worthy of the potager title. I love this and the before photos just make it more special.

    I have to also cover the top of my veggie bed with chicken wire to keep out the raccoons.

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  11. Love seeing the evolution of your garden. You two did SO much work. It really paid off, though.
    And, it inspires.

    I think you should be able to rename your kitchen garden a potager....in your Texas English cottage garden. Fits perfectly.

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  12. JUST when I think you have the coolest garden of all time you show us THIS! Love it. Love love love it.

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  13. Wow, fabulous garden! And that is so cool that the pavers are handmade! Awesome!

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  14. I'm still blown away by all the work you and David did. How long did it take? (and yes, I realize you'll probably still say that it's a work in progress, but I mean like how long did it take from when you first started working on your veggie area before you had all the pavers put down and beds put in?)

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  15. Hahaha...I remember when I first started seeing people use "potager" on their gardening blogs and I was like "what are they talking about?" I think you're definitely looks nice enough...it's EARNED the title ;-) Love all the self-seeded goodies in your paving...love all those serendipitous combinations!

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  16. This is the prettiest veggie garden I've ever seen. It really deserves the title, potager. The potted fruit trees in the background look very much at home. Do you have to protect them in the winter?

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  17. Labors of Love. What a blessed place you have.

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  18. I've always thought of your kitchen garden as a potager. It just sounds right for what you've created. I love seeing the before and after shots and am still blown away that you guys made all those pavers yourselves. You have a LOT of patience.

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  19. What a transformation. A beautiful potager indeed!

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  20. I love the geometry of your vegetable and herb garden. From all the posts you've had on wildlife, I know exactly why the cages are a necessity. I miss my vegetable garden when I see these pictures. You are so lucky.
    David/ :-)

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  21. WOW!! I love the transformation of your garden. I really wanted to have a garden like that but my place is very small so I think I'll just stick to pots. But seriously I really like it. Way back home i used to help my mother plant those flowers and vegetables so that's where I get my love for flowers and gardening.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Good luck for you and your garden.

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  22. What an inspiration you are! What a beautiful, enviable garden! Obviously, a lot of thought, planning and hard work went into its construction, but it certainly has paid dividends!

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