Thursday, March 17, 2011

The making of a potager - Part 2

It's a beautiful, 60 degree day in Chicagoland, and it has me pining for dirty hands! I divided some lillies in my front yard, and did a little spring cleaning here and there. But what really has me excited is the fact that work has begun on my potager!

In Part 1, I promised the final design, which I've finished using Dynascape drafting software. I included all of the vegetables that my family eats regularly, and a new favorite (more on Swiss chard in another post). I'm using Unilock HollandstoneTM brick pavers in rustic red to get that traditional potager feel.

Potager before. My neighbor's garage; my dog.

But let's go back to the beginning. When we moved into our house about 9 years ago, there was already a fairly large garden. While our family grew, the time available to me to maintain the garden vanished, so we moved to two 4'x8' raised beds. Now that the kids are getting bigger, I am again drawn to a large vegetable garden. I want to ensure that the foods we are eating are free of chemicals. So, last summer, my husband and I marked out the size of the new potager, and laid out cardboard and mulch over it in an effort to kill the grass. We were partially successful. The grass died, however, we had a lot of creeping charlie too, which did not. Nothing kills that stuff! There was still a significant amount of sod to remove, and since we live on a slope, some leveling to be done, which was completed today. Tomorrow the sand and gravel go down and get compacted, and the bricks installed early next week. All that's left is to plant!

Oregano seedlings
My daughter helped me plant all the seeds in their starting trays, and we are seeing results. The chives, onions, and Swiss chard are taking off and need to be thinned, along with the herbs. No sign of tomatoes yet, since we just set those seeds this past weekend, but the beans and spinach are peeking out. Check back next week for pics of the finished garden!

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