Kitchen Garden? Or Potager?

We didn’t think we were going to grow vegetables here. Certainly when we were only visiting every few weeks it would have been out of the question as without regular watering everything would quickly have died at worst, or failed to thrive at best. And with wonderful produce available seasonally in the markets around us what was the point …

It is interesting how ideas change as circumstances change. Now I’m resident here it seems more relevant to start growing food again. Those who’ve known us a few years or more will remember that we had an allotment in the UK, which quickly grew from one plot into three plots. We used to love our time at the allotment and it was very productive.

As we were planning our orchard (of which more soon) the right location for the kitchen garden became apparent. It is close to a boundary with our neighbour, and could have become a bit of an unloved and unvisited part of the garden. We knew it needed to be a destination and as a kitchen garden it is going to be just perfect.

The ground is higher than the path that goes up towards that area of the garden so we decided to create a short set of steps both to facilitate access and to create a bit of a feature. They have been created from chestnut poles and oak sleepers and we are pleased with how they are looking. I still have to dress the tops with bark but these photos will give you an idea.

One of the pergolas you see in the background will have two kiwis growing up it (one male, one female to ensure fruit) and the other two dessert grapes, one black and one white.

We inherited the laurel hedge and I’ve extended it to the left of the steps. In time I intend to try and train it across the gap to create an arch.

Three beds have been dug and manured, one for potatoes, one for squashes, and the third for a mix of whatever takes my fancy! That won’t be their long term destiny but we wanted to start with crops that will cover the soil and help get it into good heart.

Now, just one question for you. We originally started to call this area the potager. But we associated potagers with wonderful box hedges to surround the beds and we can’t realistically plant box any more here. So we changed its name to the kitchen garden. Now we aren’t sure … What do you think? Kitchen Garden? Or Potager?

11 thoughts on “Kitchen Garden? Or Potager?

  1. I’ve just published a post called Life outside the potager, in which I explain why, if I were a vegetable, I would prefer to avoid the potager. From my (human) point of view, a potager is neither one thing or the other…

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Ultimately I guess the question for us in our English-background, English-speaking life in France is do we use the English name (kitchen garden) or the French name (Potager). I don’t think (in the French context) a potager is always ornamental, if it ever is anywhere other than Villandry.

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  2. I am none too keen on either designation. I do not know what a potager is, and a kitchen garden seems to be redundant for a place that grows vegetables that are obviously intended for the kitchen. I think of such gardens as either vegetable gardens (if they produce vegetables) or simply ‘gardens’.

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      1. At the farm, certain neighborhoods got the names of what grew there, even though some still had the names of something that had not grown there for many years. I suppose that technique is too mundane.

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      2. It just occurred to me that we refer to some of the buildings at work by ‘modified’ names. Some of which are not so glamorous. ‘Cottonwood’ is affectionately known as ‘Rottenwood’, for example. I like to refer to ‘Parkway Cabin’ as ‘Park Avenue’. I say it with attitude of course.

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  3. I am sure that one day it will be a thing of beauty….as well as productive…and ingredients for soup…..we’re in France…so let’s go with Potager!

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