Saturday, February 2, 2013

A French vegetable garden you can grow in a small space

Saturday, March 2, 2013

If you have ever wanted to plant a French kitchen garden, but weren’t sure if you had the space, you can grow the staples of a French kitchen garden in as little as 7’ x 7’ space.  

It is common for the French to have a small kitchen garden where they grow herbs, greens and vegetables year round, winter included.  The French call these kitchen gardens a potager.  It is amazing the amount of food you can grow in a very small space!

When Eliot Coleman, author of “Four-Season Harvest” wanted to see what could be grown in winter and ideas on how to grow winter produce, he went to France (France and Maine are at the same latitude).  

If you have only a 7’ x 7’ space, a French kitchen garden could include the following:

Country French garden
Herbs (1 each)-fennel, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives, basil and curly parsley
2 tomatoes for summer-1 slicer type and 1 cherry type for salads
Beets and turnips interplanted with tomatoes (will be harvested before tomatoes are mature)
4 pole peas for spring, 4 pole beans for summer
1 patty pan squash, 1 eggplant, 1 butternut squash
8 shallots
8 garlic plants
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sowed
Strawberry plant edging
If you also have room for pots on the patio, you could grow the patty pan squash, eggplant, and cucumber in pots  (only 1 plant in each pot) and add kale, carrots and radishes in the garden bed.  
If you have more room, you can add chard (they are ornamental as well as nutritious), fava beans, chickpeas, asparagus, cardoon, chicories, radicchio, endives, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet peppers, other winter squash varieties, potatoes, or annual artichokes.

The French also interplant marigolds to add color, attract pollinators and deter pests as well as ornamental flowers for cutting.  

I tuck onions between my day lilies and plant marigolds all around the perimeter of my flower and veggie patch.  Day lilies are also edible and make a beautiful salad garnish.

Seed catalogs that have a good selection of French vegetables and herbs-Botanical Interest, Burpee, Cook’s Garden, Harris Seeds, Le Jardin du Gourmet, Johnnie’s Selected Seeds, Reimer Seeds to name a few.

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