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Planning Your Potager: Tips For The Perfect French Kitchen Garden

Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener

A whole world of gardening inspiration can be found today, but few can match the wild grace of the french kitchen garden (potager). This garden design typically pairs the romantic touch of flowers and perennials with a focus of delectable fruits, vegetables, and herbs ideal for gourmet cooking. Vegetables are the main event in a traditional potager, with flowers and herbs meant to act as accents to the beautiful varieties the gardener chooses. A project like this could take a while to become a reality, but every step is worth it when you have a vision for something this beautiful. 

Design: 

A French culinary garden is just as much about design as it is about the quality of the produce. The main design goal is to have sections of the garden that look organized and strategic, while other parts look wild and casual. For the best results in the garden, it’s crucial to take into account the sunlight needs for each variety. For design purposes, planting varieties at different vantage points will add visual layers to the garden. You can do this by planting in raised beds, using trellising methods, and adding containers. A handful of gardening DIY projects can help add to this visual depth.

french kitchen garden

DIY Projects:

These easy DIY projects are affordable and simple ways to add a Parisian style to your garden. First: brainstorm the layout you want and draw it out in your garden planner. Sectioned garden beds are an excellent place to start. Second: Think of projects that add layers of natural sophistication to your space. Think from the ground up when planning your potager. From low sitting pots to painted tomato stakes, planning the general height of your garden will help the overall feel. Arched cattle panel trellises, stone/branch borders on your planting plot, and handmade bean and pea tuteurs (supports) are beautiful examples of what is possible. Pairing these projects with patches of wild and companion planting pieces will bring balance.

potager

Varieties:

While planning your potager from the ground up, there are so many beautiful varieties to choose from. Soft ground covers to lay the footpath in your garden makes the potager a relaxing place for everyone. For trellising, varieties like the find de bangol bean, sweet peas, and vining roses are wonderful to walk through. The Delicia De la table melon and Prescott fond blanc melon are both especially beautiful, delicious, and historic french heirlooms that have been passed down for generations. If you have space, why not add a magical French-inspired pumpkin patch of the Cinderella “Rouge Vif D’Estampes” pumpkins? There are so many whimsical varieties to choose from. Summer savory, asparagus, fennel, French breakfast radish, chervil, and viroflay spinach are all french culinary favorites, to name a few. These act as good filler options to place in between more colorful plants. The placement of each of these varieties can be determined by color and growth habit.

french kitchen garden

This post was inspired by my love for all things Parisian just in time for Valentine’s Day. The goal of any garden, especially a potager; is to find harmony with nature in order to experience a daily joie de vivre (joy of living) by finding peace in the garden. In my research, I was lucky enough to discover the Parisienne Farmgirl on youtube, which is where I collected most of the info for this post. Check out her beautiful potager-in-progress here

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Main Sources:

Designing The New Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Bartley 

The Parisienne Farmgirl 

MIgardener DIY + Tutorials 

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