Sunday, April 30, 2017

Small space French kitchen garden

French country garden
Sunday, April 30, 2017

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!  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.  

You can grow food and herbs through all four seasons like the French and Italians do.  You can garden year round in small space  Spring, fall and winter are all seasons for cold crops.  When it comes to winter gardening, the secret is two fold-look for cold/winter hardy varieties and cold temperature protection.  Time to set out transplants for fall, winter, & spring harvests

If you have only a 7’ x 7’ space, a French kitchen garden could include the following:
Herbs (1 each)-fennel, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives, basil and curly parsley
Start a kitchen herb garden!
2 tomatoes for summer-1 slicer type and 1 cherry type for salads
Choosing which tomatoes to grow
Beets and turnips interplanted with tomatoes
All about beautiful beets  All about turnips
4 pole peas for spring and fall, 4 pole beans for summer
Legumes-peas for spring, beans for summer
8 garlic plants
Time to plant garlic!
Arugula, spinach and lettuce scatter sowed
Growing fabulous lettuce and greens
Strawberry plant edging
Back yard strawberries

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.  
Decorative container gardening for edibles

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.
Get the most from your space-plant intensively!

The French also interplant marigolds to add color, attract pollinators and deter pests as well as ornamental flowers for cutting.  Insect control through plants There are even many edible flowers to add to the garden.  Growing and using edible flowers

Our kitchen garden
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.

Be sure to grow what you love to eat and don't start too big for your first year.  This is the biggest mistake first time gardeners make.  Start with a small garden, learn what does well and the rhythm of gardening. The next year, you can go big with confidence!  
Easy kitchen garden

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.  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has many unusual heirlooms from around the world.

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