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gillespieza
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2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

From nothing to something. I've put a lot of hard work into this garden :)

BEFORE: just grass and trash
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SOIL TEST: Oh dear, supposedly a good mix is 40/40/20 of sand/loam/clay. This looks more like 90/8/2 to me. Will have to amend with a LOT of compost and organic material, and even then, probably water more frequently than "once a week".
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Digging out all the soil up to about 2 feet deep, sieving all the broken glass, stones, bones, charred sticks, plastic out, mixing with compost and putting back. The cinderblocks at the back are to stop our dachshund from digging under the fence into the neighbour's yard.
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Beginning to plant:
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How things are currently (my pride and joy):
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Very nice! Good work! It must make you feel good to see it looking like that now.

Tell us what all is in it. I see a bunch of chard and maybe some sorrel? A tomato in a container at the back and some chives. What is growing in the paver cracks? Maybe thyme or oregano??? it is pretty how you planted that.

Potager isn't a term in real common use over here. I think it implies a kitchen garden that is designed for beauty as well as edibility, usually with flowers mixed in, like your marigolds. You made a good example.

Is the high solid wall behind it not a problem? What direction does your garden face?
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gardeningwithe
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

It turned out beautiful! I am so happy for you- it is always great when hard work is rewarded with great results. I love the look of the supports and the plant arrangements. Simply wonderful- great job!

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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

I definitely had a kitchen/cottage garden in mind, with (edible) flowers as well as herbs and vegetables. I sort of started with a plan, but then it kind of devolved into "well, I have this plant available now and they need to be potted up or transplanted urgently, so let me plant it now".

My goal for this section was to plant things which are either really expensive (eg, mange tout, snap peas, baby veg of any kind), or things that supermarkets always sell too much of and you can never finish before it goes off (eg, coriander, swiss chard, etc), or things that are hard to find (eg, chinese vegetables of any description). I'm not going to bother with things that are "cheap as chips" - like onions, carrots or potatoes.

I'll put some labels on the photos in photoshop a little later, but in the mean time:

In strip 1:
Swiss chard, canary yellow swiss chard, cayenne peppers, celery (grown from the stub of a store-bought bunch), chives, cinnamon basil, a sweet pepper (odd though - these are supposed to be annual, but this plant is going on 3 years now?), marigolds (lemon drop and tangerine) here and there because they were going spare and they make good companions to just about anything, winter savoury. At the very back, planted in the cinderblocks in this strip: rosemary, common thyme, creeping thyme, another marigold, and a petunia that isn't terribly happy. The side closest to the wall gets a bit less sun though, so the swiss chard and chilis that I've planted there are quite small, and have yet to reach a harvestable stage. In contrast, the chard on the wood fence side, from the same seedling tray, has given me almost 1 kg of chard already. Just goes to show what the right position can do! I might have to pull that chard up and plant something that tolerates a bit of shade there instead - maybe lettuce or something.

The tomato growing up the teepee thingie (this was a volunteer tomato I found growing in the cracks of our patio. I dug it up and replanted it here, and its going nuts in this section. Looks like it will be some variety of cherry tomato - lurve cherry tomatoes!) I can never remember though if you are supposed to prune the suckers off only indeterminate tomatoes, or both determinate and indeterminate. Doesn't really matter though, since I have no idea what this one is.

Between the pavers on the far left is creeping thyme, the middle strip has pennyroyal and the far right strip of pavers has creeping oreganum.

The green pot has strawberries in it (not sure which kind though - they were a gift from someone).

Strip 2:
Beetroot, canary yellow swiss chard, chinese cabbage, comfrey (took ages to find a supplier for that!), a granadilla (passion fruit) plant climbing up the trellis, evening primrose, pineapple sage and lemon verbena. Oh, and a couple more marigolds. I think there is a borage plant in there too somewhere :)

Another volunteer tomato in the terracotta coloured pot. Probably a beefsteak tomato? An artichoke in the plant in front of that - I know they get huge. Its just there as a temporary refuge from the dogs (had to dig them up and make a new plan for them - dogs kept trampling the seedlings).

Strip 3:
This patch isn't well represented in the photos, but is my "this needs less watering" patch. Common sage, variegated sage, golden sage, yarrow, rosemary, bulbinella, African wormwood, lemon thyme, marjoram and a large gooseberry bush.

Strip 4:
This is the "mostly pretty" strip - lemon tree, 6 different kinds of dwarf lavender, some dianthus, more marigolds, fennel, wild garlic, and 3 zucchini plants, which I'm kind of regretting putting here because they are getting much bigger than I realised they would get, and are sort of crowding out the rest.
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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

@rainbowgardener the wall might be a problem in winter - if you stand looking at the wall, you're facing West-North-West. So far, it gets quite a bit of morning sun, but in the afternoon, the section closest to the wall is shaded, and the chard I planted there is definitely not doing so well in comparison to the section by the path. I might have to pull up the peppers and chard in that section and plant something that tolerates a bit more shade (like lettuce, maybe). I think in winter this section will be quite tricky to get growing nicely. We don't have any frost where I am, but I think it won't get much in the way of sunlight. We'll just have to wait and see :D
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imafan26
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

The wall is solid too which can cause some air circulation issues. I built my planter bed up against a concrete wall and found that

1. Most plants move away from concrete walls because it is too hot and there is no light for part of the day because of the shadows cast by the walls. The only exceptions were vandas, night blooming cereus, and creeping fig that will attach themselves and don't mind the hot wall.

2. I made my bed three feet wide and I still had to get inside it since I could not reach all the way into the back and I had to climb over the taller sideways growing plants in the front.

Now, I just have potted citrus , roses (a wild rambler and a landscape rose) in there and some orchids on the the concrete blocks that formed the raised bed. Plus a whole lot more pots that have grown in front of it.

It would have been better if I had moved the bed out further and left a maintenance path in the back of the bed between the wall and the bed. That way I could have made the bed four feet wide and still be able to reach in from all sides without having to get into the bed itself and it would have given the plants in the back a more light since it would take a little longer for the wall's shadow to shade the bed. My bed was facing east.

I moved my vegetable bed to where there once was a mango tree (I found part of the stump when I was digging in it) and had since been turned into a rock garden which had been derelict from 10 years of tenants living there before we bought the house. It is raised up about 10 inches and except for the fact that it interfered with the swale, it gets full sun for most of the day. It is roughly an oval 8ftx16 ft so I still need to walk in it but it worked better than up against the wall.
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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Wow, imafan26, sounds like a lot of work? :D

The wall definitely gets too warm for the peas that I planted. They aren't doing well at all :(
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lily51
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Lovely! Looks beautiful and tasty!

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Cola82
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Everything here is beautiful. :D

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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Here is an annotated pic of what is in "Strip 1":

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applestar
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Very nice! Your photos make me eager for spring! :D

Imafan's idea of maintenance path would allow your puppies to run along the wall maybe? (Gillespieza mentioned this in another thread :wink: )
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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

In fact, the dogs have dug up the marigolds and petunias I planted in the cinderblocks at the back :( They didn't get to the thyme, but the flowers obviously offended them.

I can't move the cinderblocks though - they are there to prevent the dogs digging holes large enough for them to climb under the fence (the neighbour on that side has cats!)

At least that leaves a cinderblock-wide strip for air circulation. Although I had hoped to cover the ugliness of cinderblocks with something planted in them ;) I'd need quite a wide maintenance strip, but that's a good idea, since the stuff closest to the wall isn't growing very well any way (too shady, I think)
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applestar
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

What if you put another row of cinderblocks down -- leveled -- then put flagstones on top as a path?
IF you are able to create a long bed that you can use from wall side as well as interior side, then the loss of garden space might be compensated by removing the large square stepping access?

...not something you want to do now while the garden is looking so lovely, but maybe for future plans.

Another idea is to fill those cinderblock holes with "steppable" herbs -- like the creeping thyme in different flower colors (I have pink flowered ones -- hm mine might be called "mother of thyme"), mints, and others (some sedums, etc.) that won't mind being stepped on. Something that can withstand the digging tendencies -- not so pleasant for them to dig or really fast recovering/growing....
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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

@applestar - I've started collecting pine cones to use as a mulch - hopefully that will be unpleasant enough for little paws to discourage them from investigating my potager garden :)

I don't really mind though, as long as my fur babies are happy, and anyway I have plenty of "spares" of anything they dig up in their desperate attempts to catch a kitty.
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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Here is an annotated pic of patch #2

The evening primrose is growing much bigger than I realised - I might dig up the one on the left and see if it transplants well to another section of the garden (perhaps my side alley mentioned in another post).

And the lemon verbena and pineapple sage just luuuurve this spot, so when the annuals (chinese cabbage, etc) are harvested, I won't replant those spots, just leave them open for the verbena and sage to spread.

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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

Here is an annotated pic of patch #3

My variegated and plain sage have both since died (dunno why, since the golden sage right next to it survives nicely)

Bulbine is an indigenous plant that is very useful in healing burns, ulcers, sores, etc.

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gillespieza
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Re: 2 month progress photos on Potager Garden

And here is the final patch, #4

The lemon tree isn't thriving. Planted it at the beginning of November, and there is no new growth in either leaves or fruit :(

And I shouldn't have planted the zucchini there either - another plant that I didn't realise how big it grows. I keep the leaves trimmed away from the lavender in front of it, and when it's life cycle is up, I'll consider leaving that area open for the lavender to spread into.

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