Sunday, February 16, 2014

The New Potager - Gathering Ideas

As winter keeps dragging on, my thoughts turn to spring and growing fresh, organic produce at home. These cold, gray days are perfect for dragging out the gardening books and putting a plan together. You might remember my potager (kitchen garden) at the old house...

...which I loved. But this time I want to try something different. Our location, with its high deer population, means that a fence is necessary. And I'd like to try crushed granite for the paths, and wood timber raised beds. But first, I needed to sketch out some ideas. After pulling out my plat of survey and taking a quick tracing of the house, I mapped out approximately where I wanted the new garden to go. I'll draw it to scale at a later time.

My garden will wrap around the south and west sides of the house to take advantage of the only spot on the property that receives full sun for 6 hours or so. I also wanted it in a location very close to my kitchen, since I know I'll be visiting it throughout the day to harvest, water, and deliver kitchen scraps to the compost tumbler. We are also building a new deck that will be more functional than the existing one. Now it's time to hit the books.

I flipped through my garden books, looking for ideas for structural items that would add to the aesthetics and functionality. I also referred to one of my first blog posts from 2011 on the standard elements that define a potager, and got to work listing selections.

1. Enclosure - We are going with a low, white, maintenance free fence (probably aluminum). I'd also like a moon gate and arbor for the front yard entry. For additional deer resistance, I'll plant shrubs on the outside of the fence.

2. Paths - We are going to try crushed granite instead of brick pavers this time. I've used crushed granite in designs I've done for a couple of clients, and love the way it sounds when you walk on it.

3. Borders - Wood timbers for the raised bed, and landscaping stone for the ground-level beds.

4. Structure - In addition to the fence and gate/arbor, we may include a corner arbor with built-in bench (like the one below from, trellises on the west side of the house, and a small tool cabinet for shovels and rakes and such, so I don't have to go to the garage each time. I'll also have a few tuteurs for the tomatoes.

5. Order - This refers to the shape of the beds and how they relate to each other and the house. I'll work on this when I start drawing the design to scale.

6. Focal Point(s) - Since I'll have two points of entry, one at each end of an "L" shape, I plan to have two focal points. This will work because the focal points will not both be visible upon entry at either end, you'll only be able to see one at a time. I loved the circular bed in my first potager, with the weeping cherry underplanted with herbs, but may do a narrow evergreen this time for some winter interest.

I hope I've given you some inspiration to start thinking about your new garden. In the next post in this series, I'll share the design at scale. Until then, you can check out my Pinterest boards for lots of ideas that you may want to incorporate in your own garden.

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