What to Put in Potager Gardens for 2023

Last Updated on 2 years by Michelle

What is a Potager Garden?

A potager garden is a French term that means “kitchen garden.” It’s similar to an English cottage garden but emphasizes vegetables and edible herbs instead of only flowers.

The French word potager comes from the Latin word potare, which means “to drink.” This refers to the fact that these gardens were originally used to grow herbs to make tea.

Picture of a potager garden outside a white house

Today, potager gardens are still common in France, and they are also growing in popularity in other parts of the world.

These gardens are usually located near the house so the vegetables can be easily accessed. The vegetables are typically grown in raised beds, and the garden is often divided into sections so that different types of vegetables can be grown together.

Potager gardens are typically very ornamental, and the vegetables are often planted in aesthetic patterns.

In addition to providing fresh produce, potager gardens also help to attract bees and other pollinators. As a result, these gardens play an important role in the kitchen and the ecosystem.

You don’t have to live in France to have a potager garden. Kitchen gardens are popular all over the world. If you are interested in how to plan a potager garden for your home, read on!

This post is all about what to put in potager gardens.

Why Would You Want to Grow A Kitchen Garden?

There are many reasons a person would want to grow a kitchen garden.

They are Convenient

A french potager is meant to be close to your kitchen so it is a very convenient way to get fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can just step outside and pick what you need for your meal without going to the store.

They Can Be Beautiful

Potager gardens are often very ornamental. The plants are typically arranged in patterns, and they can be quite lovely to look at. However, just because potager gardens CAN be ornamental doesn’t mean yours has to be. You have permission to choose any look you want for your garden.

They Are Easier to Manage Than Full Gardens

A kitchen garden is often smaller than a full vegetable garden, so it can be easier to manage. Usually, the plants in them are smaller and don’t have a large footprint, which helps keep the garden contained.

Potager Gardens Save Money

The best thing about a potager garden is how much MONEY you save by having one.

Food prices have increased by 13% over the past year and are expected to continue to rise. A potager garden can help offset these rising costs by producing fresh fruits and vegetables in your backyard.

With a little planning and effort, you can easily grow enough herbs and vegetables in a potager garden to save hundreds of dollars each year on your grocery bill.

Plus, you’ll know exactly where your food came from and can be confident that it is free of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

A Small Garden Will Get Your Kids Outside

Potager gardens are also a great way to get kids involved in gardening and eating healthy foods. Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that they have helped grow.

What to Put in Your Kitchen Garden

We’ve established that growing a french style kitchen garden is a great idea. The next step is deciding what to grow in your garden.

Grow Foods You Like to Eat

The natural start to your vegetable garden is growing foods you and your family already enjoy eating. This way, you’ll be more likely to use the produce you grow and less likely to let it go to waste.

Growing your favorite vegetables is a smart way to start your garden.

Grow Foods That Are Easy to Grow

When you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to grow varieties that are easy to grow. This way, you’ll be more likely to succeed with your garden and less likely to get discouraged.

Easy-to-grow vegetables include lettuce, beans, peas, and cucumbers.

All these crops can be direct sown, which means you just put the seeds directly in the ground, cover them with soil, water them in, and that’s all it takes!

Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the best vegetables you can grow in a garden. It grows quickly, the seeds are inexpensive to purchase, and it’s something that everyone buys over and over again. Lettuce can be eaten at every lunch and dinner, so it’s a very smart addition to the garden.

Lettuce heads growing in

You can purchase seeds for any kind of lettuce you can imagine growing. Iceberg, buttercrunch, romaine, baby kale, red leaf lettuce, and salad mix are just a few of the seed varieties you can purchase easily.

The Best Sources for Lettuce Seeds

Botanical Interests

Botanical Interests has tasty lettuce mixes that take all the guesswork out of deciding what lettuces to grow. You can buy lettuce leaf mixes from them, or you can purchase head lettuce seeds from them.

My favorite easy-to-grow tasty lettuces include:

Asian greens are another leafy green that can be added to your garden. Choose types like bok choi or tatsoi for an interesting texture and flavor.

Green Beans

Green beans are a fast-growing direct-sown crop. Bush beans will be easier to manage in your garden because they are more compact than pole beans. Some of my favorite bush bean varieties are Dragon Tongue and Provider bush beans.

Green Beans growing in tidy garden

Peas

Sugar snap peas are a popular garden vegetable for a good reason. They are easy to grow and produce a large yield, and they are also quite versatile. Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw, cooked, or used in various recipes. In addition, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Sugar snap peas are also known for their sweetness. This makes them a great addition to salads and other dishes. If you are looking for a tasty and nutritious vegetable to add to your garden, sugar snap peas are a great choice.

One of the best varieties to grow is the Magnolia Blossom Tendril Pea. These pea plants look stunning in the garden, and the tendrils they produce can be harvested just like the peas and put in salads.

Magnolia Blossom Tendril Peas in Garden

Here you can see the beautiful blossoms on the vine and in the picture below, you can see the mass of tendrils that this variety grows. Again, this variety would look amazing in a potager.

Row of Peas in tidy garden

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another easy-to-grow vegetable that you can plant in the garden. My favorite cucumber variety for small spaces is the Spacemaster 80 cucumber.

cucumber on vine

Tomatoes

If you want to grow tomatoes in your kitchen garden, you might opt for container or dwarf varieties. These kinds of tomato plants are compact and will fit more easily within the garden beds and layout of the garden design you have. Regular tomato plants will quickly outgrow your kitchen garden, especially if you have a very specific design you want to maintain.

Tomato varieties that are perfect for a french kitchen garden include:

Peppers

Peppers are a versatile addition to any garden. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Peppers also have a long growing season, so you can enjoy them fresh from the garden all summer.

In addition, peppers are relatively easy to grow, and they are not susceptible to many pests or diseases. Whether you are looking for a tasty treat or a beautiful decoration, peppers are a great choice for your garden.

Consider Your Climate

When choosing what to grow in your kitchen garden, it’s important to consider your climate. Some plants will only thrive in certain conditions, so it’s important to choose varieties that will do well where you live.

If you’re not sure what will grow well in your area, your local extension office should be able to give you some guidance.

Grow Foods That Save Real Money

While all the produce you grow will save you money compared to buying it at the store, some items will save you more than others. These foods you should focus on growing if your goal is to slash your grocery bill.

Some of the best produce to grow for big savings include asparagus, lettuce mix, tomatoes, carrots, herbs, and fruits like strawberries and blueberries.

With a little effort, you can easily grow enough of these to last your family all year long.

Consider Adding an Asparagus Bed

It will take a bit of planning, but an asparagus bed will be well-suited to your kitchen garden for many reasons.

First, being able to harvest fresh asparagus from your garden is VERY FRENCH (oh-la-la).

Second, eating homegrown asparagus will save a TON of money.

Buying asparagus crowns is an investment in the future since most crowns require you to wait at least two years before you can harvest from them.

Add Dwarf Fruit Trees and Berry Bushes

Small fruit trees and berry bushes are a perfect addition to your french kitchen garden. They will add vertical interest and height to your garden while providing delicious and valuable harvests.

Flower Cutting Garden or Other Ornamental Additions

Sunflowers, zinnias, and snapdragons are all annual flowers that add color and visual interest to a potager garden.

Sunflowers are especially useful because they provide height and structure.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Zinnias come in various colors and can bloom from summer until fall.

Green Zinnia

Snapdragons have a unique shape and also come in a range of colors.

All three of these flowers are easy to grow from seed and require minimal care. In addition, all three flowers attract bees and other pollinators, which can be beneficial for the overall health of your garden.

Being able to walk a few steps from your house and cut a few stems for a flower arrangement is a real treat, and it’s something you can easily do in this space.

What Not to Grow in Your Kitchen Garden

Just as there are certain foods you should grow in your kitchen garden, there are also some that you should avoid. Don’t grow something just because someone else told you to grow it. If you don’t love it, skip it. Don’t grow items that are large, sprawling, and not easily contained. They may get out of hand quickly as they grow bigger and could become more than you bargained for!

Conclusion

There are many things to consider when planning a kitchen garden, but with a little planning, you can easily grow a bountiful harvest of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. By choosing varieties that are well-suited to your climate and growing foods that save money at the grocery store, you can maximize your savings while still enjoying the fruits of your labor. Don’t forget to add a few ornamental touches, like a cutting garden or dwarf fruit trees, to make your garden as beautiful as it is productive.

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