See how to layout a vegetable, herb, and fruit garden
May 26, 2022
A kitchen garden provides you with fresh vegetables—and will look good doing it, too! Learn how to plan a kitchen garden in the style of either a traditional row garden layout or a potager garden, which intermixes vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs.
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!
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.
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.
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.
“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
Our online Garden Planner is a super smart way to organize a kitchen garden and optimize your harvest. It calculates your plant spacing, cues which plants work best together, calculates your planting dates, and helps you become a better gardener! Try the Almanac Garden Planner here.