We will see whether this should be called a potager – everything sounds better in French, but it may not be as pretty as a French kitchen garden. Last year, we had two tomatoes and a few basil plants, plus some lettuce and peas planted along the back porch where the peas could climb the trellis. This turned out to be theoretical, because the gutters were in such disrepair that the water just poured over the edge of the roof and created a small swamp in the peas and lettuce. We did have two volunteer lettuces in the bed this spring, from seed that didn’t sprout or get washed away last year, I assume. We also planted spinach and chard along the back walk, which must have been overcome by the plantain, dandelions, et al, because they never became apparent. The deer ate the tomatoes – the plants, not the fruit, of which there was none.
When stripping the last English ivy (well, the last large area – we will never see the last of it), I realized that, with the sweet gum gone, the area around the chimney got the most sun. So we planned a kitchen garden. The area is very visible from the street, so it needed to look good, and I have been wanting an ornamental vegetable garden ever since running across The Art of French Vegetable Gardening when we were still in Austin. We discussed what we wanted to eat, I found a vegetable planting and rotation plan in the excellent The Garden Planner, edited by a Gardener Royal (and out of print, I think), and we eventually laid out the garden, just at planting time, and the day before the roofers showed up. So we had a two-week wait.
Last week, though, we got cabbage plants (three kinds) and onion sets, in addition to the seeds we had already chosen, and planted the whole thing – carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, onions, leeks, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, spinach, chard, sugar peas, pole beans, rocket, and five different lettuces. We tucked in the horseradish root cousin Fred gave us last winter. Next week we’ll add the warm weather plants – tomatoes, peppers, basil, eggplant, cucumbers, and squash. We’re still debating potatoes.
We planted two yellow climbing roses on either side of the chimney, and we will add nasturtiums, marigolds, and maybe a lavender border, for pretty. Herbs will go out back, just off the back porch, where we were pleased to find last year’s oregano still flourishing, along with chives and parsley.