You Should Have a Potager!

If you’re thinking about re-doing your outside space and incorporating a vegetable garden, you HAVE to consider a potager. It’s a delectably French way of organizing a garden that means it always looks full, overflowing, verdant. Jennifer Bartley is an expert in potagers, which is pronounced po-toe-jay and literally means “for the soup pot.” Though Bartley grew up in the MIdwest where vegetable gardens are orderly and neat, she’s come to adore the potager as a thing of beauty, a wild, overflowing mix of herbs, non-edible plants, and vegetable sprouts all mixed together.

Berliner Kleingartenanlagen / Urban Farming

The key is to plant and harvest, and when you harvest, get right in there and plant something else. In this way, items are blooming and becoming ripe at different times, and at any point you can walk outside and gather a bushel of what’s in season and – if you wanted to – dump it all in the soup pot! To create your own, start with an enclosure of some kind, whether it’s practical (like a walkway or large garden box, or grown – raspberry shrubs make an excellent plant wall). Make sure it’s close to the house though; the whole point is to have it visible out a window, so that every time you see it you’ll be inspired to cook.

Don’t forget to make your potager beautiful, Bartley says, by planting your favorite flowers in and among the edible plants. You can harvest them in the same way, and they’ll end up in vases instead of bowls and plates. She also notes that not a lot of Americans have a huge garden to utilize, so she encourages those with a small space to keep it simple, and grow whatever makes them the happiest!