Thursday, September 22, 2011

Post Produce - Results of Potager Summer 1

It's been a fantastic year in the potager. I planted a little late this year because the potager was being built, and most of my seedlings dampened off, but it turned out to be a success anyway. Or at least a learning year! Here's what I grew, and what I learned.

1. Zucchini. I learned the average family does not need eight plants. Yes, I had eight. Four traditional, and four of the Eight-Ball variety. I donated a lot of these to my local food pantry, ate a bunch, froze a lot, and passed them off to anyone who would take them. Zucchini overload!

2. Sweet peppers. I grew six plants which resulted in a total of about 15 peppers. Next year I will reduce the quantity to make room for other vegetables. Or I may try an organic fertilizer on them (now I only use compost).

3. Hot peppers. I grew eight plants, and got lots of Thai Dragon and other little red hot babies. Only a few yellow cayenne, and about 10 jalapenos.

4. Cucumbers. Three plants yeilded...well...too many for my family to eat. And since you can't do anything to preserve them but pickling, I donated lots of these too. Will reduce to just one plant.

5. Tomatoes. I grew six plants, which all did well. Yellow Taxi and Green Zebra ripened way before the red varieties, so I will definitely repeat those and enjoy the early yeild again next year. My Early Girls and cherry varieties are still producing, so we've been eating fresh tomatoes since June! My tomato cages all bent over due to the heavy weight when in fruit, and a couple of violent storms that ripped through. An old ladder helped, but I'll have to come up with a better solution for next year.

6. Blueberries. I lost two of my three plants, not sure why. I'd amended the soil with sulfer, peat moss, and pine needles to lower the pH like they require, but alas, they still died. The one bush that remains is growing well. I know they won't be mature and offer much for about four years or so, so I am being patient.

7. Strawberries. These did well, and we actually did eat some before the birds did!

8. Herbs. I made lots of pesto this year and threw chives in just about everything. I'm currently drying rosemary and sage for the cold months. I loved growing fresh herbs this year, something that I wasn't able to do in the past due to lack of garden space.

9. Leeks. These are still in the ground, waiting for me to cook them up in a potato leek soup!
10. Green beans. Two large harvests - one from my front yard trellis, and one in the potager. Delish!

11. Greens. LOVE growing Swiss chard. It just keeps coming back! I wonder how long into fall and winter I can keep them going. I've already frozen a bunch and try to work it into meals every week. We're having Salmon and Swiss Chard Quiche again this week! I've got kale, pak choi, and spinach seedlings in the garden right now, and with the help of cold frames (that my hubby has yet to build, hint, hint!) I hope to keep growing through the fall and harvesting through the winter.

So, with the reduction of zucchini next year, I plan to add more heirloom tomatoes, a rhubarb plant, and asparagus. I'll also include more annuals. While nasturtium is touted as a "must-have" for the potager, I found it to be lackluster. I want to include some annuals that burst with color and attract lots of pollinators.

Post Produce Day is hosted by Daniel Gasteiger at Your Small Kitchen Garden. Check out his blog to see what other veggie gardeners grew this year!

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The Making of a Potager - Part 1 
The Making of a Potager - Part 2 
The Making of a Potager - Part 3 


  1. Hi Tina! Great post. This was my first year as a gardener and I enjoyed it so much. I grew zucc, basil, chives, tomatoes and jalapenos (along with a few other failed experiments). My neighbor (on the farm) has a ton of raspberry bushes, he said they are easy to grow and come back strong year after year...actually in his words "you can't kill em'". Might have better luck with those instead of blueberry!-Becky VIant

  2. Great article Tina. I remember when I used to grow all those things and miss it so much. I never tried asparagus...yummy! And Swiss chard is one of my all time favorites. You have quite the green thumb. Your garden was fabulous. Your family is lucky to have you growing their food and keeping them healthy. Sounds like you learned a lot. That's how it's done; by trial and error. Keep enjoying the fruits of your labor. Wish I lived closer so I could help you eat it all. LOL xo Auntie Jean

  3. Thanks for participating in the first ever Post Produce! You have quite a harvest! Your zucchini experience is a kitchen gardening gestalt; it seems that if you've ever grown winter squash, you've grown too much of it. So nice to hear someone's veggies did well this year.

    Small "tip:" If you can find space for them, put in more than one rhubarb plant. Five has never been quite enough for me, and my family doesn't even like the stuff (unless it's in pie).


  4. Congrats Becky! I hope you are loving your new home, and I wish we could get out there to visit you! It looks beautiful!

    Hi Aunty Jean, and, thanks! Look out for more veggies from me to you next summer!

    Thanks Daniel, I will find the room! A neighbor made a rhubarb strawberry jam this summer and I'd love to make some too. Good luck with Post Produce Day!

  5. Congrats on a successful harvest! I wish I'd known about this post a few days ago when I wrote the wrap-up for my "Garden Lessons Learned--Summer 2011" post. But it's not too late to join in. I hope you can join us for the fall wrap up in November,too!

  6. I bought these cages and they are really strong and hold up to my giant tomato plants. Good luck with next year's garden!

  7. I'll check them out, Jamie! Thanks!