How to Create a Kitchen Garden (Potager)

Plant a Potager Garden for Easy-Access Vegetables

January 16, 2021
Potager Garden

The Kitchen Garden (Potager)

Eyrignac et ses Jardins

A properly planned out kitchen garden will provide you with fresh vegetables—and will look good doing it, too! Learn how to create a kitchen garden in the style of either a traditional row garden or a potager garden, which intermixes vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs. Plus, see some inspiring kitchen garden layouts. 

Planning Out a Kitchen Garden

With a kitchen garden, the goal is to walk outside your backdoor and select the freshest of foods for your meals. The garden is positioned right next to the house for convenient harvesting, as well as near a water source. Learn more about which vegetables and edibles to grow in a kitchen garden!

Often companion flowers are added to the same garden to encourage pollination and act as natural repellent or trap to pests. See our Companion Planting Guide.

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Potager Garden. Credit: Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac.

What Is a Potager Garden (A French Kitchen Garden)?

Some folks say that a vegetable plot would look out of place in their yard. They imagine ruler-straight rows and unsightly muddy gaps where plants have been dug up. But there’s no reason that vegetable gardens can’t be as beautiful as flower gardens! 

The idea of intermingling vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers isn’t a new one. The French have been doing it in their “potagers” (kitchen gardens) for centuries. It’s a more casual, informal approach that works with nature and is similar to a flower garden except focused on edibles! 

No chemicals are used, crops are rotated, and appropriate companion planting means natural repellents are the last word! This sustainable practice encourages a range of birds and pollinators.

With a “potager” kitchen garden, you can have your cake (well, veg) and eat it, too!

Video: See Our Potager Kitchen Garden

Plants to Grow

Imagine colorful flowers with colorful edibles! Think of textures and scents, too! Here are some suggestions:

  • Colorful and scented edibles: Purple basil, pink chard, scarlet runner beans, curley parsley, colorful hot pepper plants, blue-green or red cabbage leaves, bright nasturium, purple chives, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, and blue borage, strawberries.
  • Colorful and scented flowers (include self sowers!): Bee balm, cosmos, marigolds (dwarf), mallow varieties, fragrant gerandium, sedum, columbines, coreopsis, sweet peas, poppies, globe thitle, fleabane, gladiolus, hollyhocks, speedwell.

Living Borders

Fruit trees work well in a kitchen garden! Consider espaliered apple or pear trees can be trained to grow on a brick wall or on wire fences for a see-through effect. You could also use blueberry bushes as an edible hedge.

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Perennial vs. Annual Vegetables

You do want to keep annual vegetables and perennial vegetables separate in the kitchen garden to make it easier to till and amend your annual beds. For the quick-growing annuals, instead of using rows, consider creating little triangles or pockets of plantings. Then when annuals such as lettuce or radish mature, you can sow more seeds and have a succession of planting to keep the beds full.

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6 Kitchen Garden Layouts and Plans 

Below are some samples of different types of kitchen garden layouts (from traditional to potager) shared by Almanac gardeners! We hope they provide inspiration Find hundreds more garden plans by your location here!

1. Potager Kitchen Garden Layout

“We just finished our 2019 garden plans for our potager garden. I can’t rave enough about The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Garden Planner. It’s completely worth the $29 a year, if you need a more comprehensive planner.” —Read the full review from 2 Bees Farm!

Garden Location: St. John’s, Arizona
Garden Size: 59’ 11” x 59’ 11”
Garden Layout: Potager / Country garden
Sun or Shade: Sunny
Garden Soil Type: Good soil

See full plant list here!

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2. Kitchen Garden Layout With Raised Beds

This is our second year in the garden!

Garden Location: Near Toronto, Canada
Garden Size: 56’ 0” x 56’ 0”
Garden Layout: Raised Beds/Home Garden
Sun or Shade: Sunny
Garden Soil Type: Good soil

See full plant list!

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3. Kitchen Garden Plan With Raised Beds

Create a three-season vegetable garden in the southern U.S. (This garden is zone 7a/b.)

Garden Location:  Georgia
Garden Size:  20’ 11” x 19’ 11”
Garden Layout:  Raised Beds
Sun or Shade:  Sunny
Garden Soil Type:  Heavy/clay soil

See full plant list!

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4. Kitchen Garden Plan: Raised Beds

“My Blue Heaven” organic garden!

Garden Location:  Spokane, WA
Garden Size:  69’ 11” x 29’ 11”
Garden Type:  Home garden
Garden Layout:  Raised Beds
Sun or Shade:  Sunny
Garden Soil Type:  Good soil

See full plant list.

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5. Kitchen Garden Plan: Raised Beds

Garden Location:  Charlottesville, VA
Garden Size:  20’ 11” x 19’ 11”
Garden Type:  Home garden
Garden Layout:  Raised Beds
Sun or Shade:  Sunny
Garden Soil Type:  Good soil

See full plant list.

6. Kitchen Garden Layout (Potager)

Simple country garden and orchard combo with lots of variety.

Garden Location:  Mitchell, Ontario, Canada
Garden Size:  50’ 0” x 29’ 11”
Garden Type:  Home garden
Garden Layout:  Potager / Country garden
Sun or Shade:  Sunny
Garden Soil Type:  Good soil

See full plant list here.

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Looking for more ideas? See our layouts for other types of gardens.

Try Our Online Garden Planner for Free

We have highlighted sample plans here, however, you can find hundreds of garden plans using our Almanac Garden Planner tool—which will customize your planting and harvesting dates! Try the Almanac Garden Planner here.

Source: 

The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Need help with veggies I can grow in pots

I have been a fan of farmers Almanac and had gardens for many years following your advice. Because of medical issues I can’t take care of these gardens anymore but I could raise a few vegetables in pots outside my door. I must have at least one tomato and pepper and some greens but am unsure how to pick a determinate pepper that will grow well in a pot. Can you give me a suggestion and what growing medium to use? I am grateful for your help. Thank you.

peppers in a pot

The Editors's picture

Vivian, we can not identify “determinate” peppers anywhere; as you know, that is more commonly a type of tomato. Here are a few pepper varieties, all of which will grow successfully in pots:

• hot peppers: ‘Cubanelle,’ ‘Cherrytime,’ ‘Jalapeno,’ ‘Apple (Hot),’ ‘Red Cherry’ and ‘Red Chile’

• larger (milder) peppers: ‘Sweet Banana,’ ‘Lady Bell,’ ‘Gypsy,’ ‘Crispy,’ ‘New Ace,’ ‘Bell Boy’ and ‘Sweet Chocolate’

Hope this helps! Thank you for your interest in The Old Farmer’s Almanac!

Potager in Santa Fe New Mexico

Hello hello, in a executive chef and owner of a boutique hotel in Santa Fe New Mexico. We will start building a cooking school and I've thought about the beuty of a potager besides the kitchen. I will really appreciate if you can give ideas and support me with this project.
In gratitude,

Carolina

Garden Planner for Potager

The Editors's picture

Hi Carolina, Sounds exciting! We would encourage you to just experiment with a free 7-day trial of the Garden Planner where you’ll find many more potager examples, a free newsletter, and lots of tools and inspiration.

Would be nice to also show a

Would be nice to also show a kitchen garden for the north. I'm in Wisconsin and I don't think the Virginia garden would be appropriate for the north.

There are several gardens on

There are several gardens on this page for the north and are relevant.