How to Plan a Kitchen Garden (Potager)

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The Kitchen Garden (Potager)

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Eyrignac et ses Jardins

See how to layout a vegetable, herb, and fruit garden

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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!

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.

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.


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.


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 fee, 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!


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!


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!


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.


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.


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

Plan Your Kitchen Garden Online

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.

About The Author

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She is an active equestrian and spends much of her free time at the barn. When she’s not riding, she loves caring for her collection of house plants, baking, and playing in her gardens. Read More from Jennifer Keating

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