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March 19, 2017, 01:08 PM

Reclaim a potager garden

By Shirley Kay

River cottage garden © Salvo

Pair of antique stone vases. [Photo © BCA Matériaux Anciens
Hand Carved Bird Bath [Photo © UK Architectural Antiques
Wall Fountain [Photo © North Shore Architectural Stone

New York, USA - A potager garden mixes flowers, herbs and vegetables all in together. It is both a useful and beautiful idea for any sized space and is one of the garden design trends for 2017.

Mixed growing would have been the traditional peasant kitchen garden. More formal potager gardens designs were also created in the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Their popularity has varied over time and a preference for large lawns may have led to their decline. However in more recent times considerations like drought and a preference for pesticide free gardens to both help and attract wild flowers, butterflies and bees have made people think again. Returning to this traditional garden design is encouraged by the demand for that fork to plate taste too. Although an even better reason for most would be to save money on fruit and vegetables which can be a big part of a family budget. The current guideline for healthy living is ten pieces of fruit and vegetables a day.

Recent research has also encouraged an increase in many more people choosing a vegan or vegetarian diet and others adhering to meat free Monday. Scientists at the Oxford Martin School, found that shifting to a mostly vegetarian diet, or even simply cutting down meat consumption to within accepted health guidelines, would make a large dent in greenhouse gases. The study found widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet would bring down emissions by as much as sixty three percent.

So it is a really good time to design and create your own and listed below are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Remember vegetables and fruit prefer a sunny spot.
2. Raised beds create good growing areas for your main crop.
3. Make them with reclaimed wood such as old scaffold planks and reclaimed hardwood. Be careful to avoid chemically treated wood such a some palette wood or railway sleepers not suitable for a vegetable garden. Reclaimed bricks wall beds can be made without mortar for growing lettuce and other greens. See SalvoWEB for suppliers.
4. Add vertical interest to your design by growing plants up walls and tepees.
5. Add herbs, vegetables and fruit like thyme, beans and strawberries to your border plots.
4. Create pathways with reclaimed stone or brick.
6. Add focus points with garden ornaments and fruit trees. Paths leading to a tree, sundial or fountain create areas of interest and there should be a central focus point.
7. Grow fruit and vegetables in pots or recycled containers. Ideal for a small spaces.
8. The natural softness of old reclaimed items with their reuse beauty will add to the character of the design.
9. Think colour use plants like red chard, scarlet kale, yellow courgette and lavender hedges.
10. Do not forget to add space for a seat to relax and enjoy its beauty.

See the links below for design help and inspiration including a low cost veggie garden created from a neglected Brooklyn rental space. Their central focus is an old tree house. They used salvaged bricks stacked dry for raised beds, an old shop display case as a cold frame and made their own wooden beds for broccoli, sprouts, tomatoes, eggplants and herbs.

Images show a few garden items on the SalvoWEB online marketplace for architectural salvage, reclaimed materials and antiques. Reclaimed scaffold boards are currently for sale from Norfolk Antique & Reclamation. Plus see the Salvo directory for a local yard, where you maybe able to buy reclaimed materials in small batches.

Brownstoner: The Outsider: Low-Cost Veggie Garden .
Love to know: How to Design a Potager Garden

Story Type:  Feature

ID: 99396

Date Modified: March 20, 2017, 07:42 AM

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