The potager was constructed in early autumn of 2015. It consists of 25 3′ x 6′ raised beds and 10 6′ x 6′ raised beds as the primary food growing space. That’s 810 sq. ft. There are also 8 small triangle beds, 3 of which are dedicated to thymes and 1 to winter savory. The other 4 triangles are generally planted for visual interest since they are at a main focal point, but always in edible crops. There are two main 4′ wide paths, one running north-south, and the other east-west that divide the potager into four uneven “quadrants.” Here’s how the drawing translated into the actual creation. There are 6 metal trellises that span a 4′ path (shown with curved tops in the drawing, but they were revised to be flat-topped.) In the drawing they are in the east-west center path, but they alternate years on the north-south path to provide for better crop rotation. All of the remaining paths between beds are 2′ wide to accommodate my rolling stool, a necessity at my age! (Note: on the original plan shown above, the south path was drawn as 6′ wide, but it was reduced to 3′ in favor of more space for the interior border.)
In addition there are interior borders on the east, south, and west sides with a bit adjacent to the Lady Cottage that are approximately 3′ deep, giving another 400 or so sq. ft. of in-ground growing space. I could grow lots more food here, but much of this is dedicated to perennial edible flowers and herbs: anise hyssop, sage, chives, garlic chives, oregano, lovage, tarragon, daylilies, rhubarb, hollyhock, poppies, hyssop, snapdragons, etc. Lots of annual edible flowers such as dahlias, dwarf sunflowers, nigella, calendula, bellis, nasturtiums, violas are added when warm weather comes. Often bright peppers or glossy red cabbages are tucked in the interior border as well, and in spring there are hundreds of edible spring bulbs: tulips, alliums, etc. Here’s another view that shows the potager’s raised beds and part of the south and east flower-filled interior borders in August.
In the top right-hand corner (northwest) of the plan you’ll notice a blank area and two long rectangles below it. The blank area is where pots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any other crop being grown in large pots live all summer. The two long rectangles are actually raised benches that hold flats of seedlings as they come out of the adjacent greenhouse (10′ x 12′) for hardening off, or growing in small pots until planting time. Plants that need partial shade live underneath these benches.
The entire potager proper is surrounded by a 4′ fence, with 3 gates for easy access. The fence is supplemented by 4′ of chicken wire (1′ buried beneath ground to deter diggers, and 3′ above ground to keep out rabbits.) Often crops are grown on the fence, especially peas and snow peas, or indeterminate tomatoes. The photo shown here is June, 2018, taken from atop the Lavender Slope, looking north.
West of the potager on a slight slope created when the potager was leveled is the Cutting Garden, which is 62′ x 4′. Beyond that to the west are four 70′ rows of berries (thornless blackberries, summer red raspberries, fall red raspberries, gooseberries, 4 black currant bushes, black raspberries, and a few young elderberries shrubs.)
South of the potager, on another slope created when the potager came alive is the Lavender Slope, 50′ x 8′ and home to several varieties of lavenders and lavandins. There is a new curved planting of 8 asparagus plants “joining” the Lavender Slope and the Cutting Garden. Outside the potager fence are the East Exterior Border that is devoted to some of my favorite perennials and annuals, designed to provide lots of color since it faces our home and outdoor living spaces. Here it’s shown decorated for autumn. All season the colors echo the flower beds that nearly surround the house. In addition, there is a right-angle border on the north side of the fence and east side of the Lady Cottage that provides a partially shaded area for foxgloves, columbines and some primulas. Primulas also grow on the north side of the Lady Cottage, along with a few miniature hostas. There are small two island beds of ornamentals that help tie the potager into the existing landscape.
So that’s my world. I’m blessed to grow here!