Potager 101 – How to Design a Potager

Feb 2, 2011 | Gardening, Potager, Potager 101 | 28 comments

“A Potager is where form meets function.  
Where nutrition meets the aesthetic.”
-Parisienne Farmgirl
…It’s where your morning glories can intertwine with your pole beans, where your lettuce can grow in fanciful shapes and patterns… it’s where you can pick a handful of snapdragons to throw atop a fresh salad… just enough color to WOW a girlfriend over lunch.
Poe-tah-jay (soft, French “J”)
I know someone who says “Pot-age-ger”  
I almost die every time she says it 🙂
I have had a Potager for almost six years now.  It started with a poorly shaped circle of grass in our yard that sloped, surrounded by weed infested flowerbeds/garden… I hated to mow it… so one day… like a complete NUT I began to dig it out… I mean serious excavation here girls.  Up to three feet deep in some places.  Finally after a couple weeks, I could see that I was NEVER going to get it done all by myself with a newborn laying on the blanket beside me so a friend of mine and I swapped.  I faux finished her kitchen cabs and her hubby (a landscaper) and a laborer came over the next week and helped me work.  Her husband joked that I worked harder than his guy – yer darn tootin’!
I love to work.
I think he thought I was insane as I showed him my newly defined circle and tried to explain the pie shapes I would be making… raised rock beds… He was pretty concerned about resale value… resale, shmeesale.  The woman who buys this house from me someday is going to have to be a Parisienne Farmgirl at heart… hopefully she’ll be thrilled most of the work has been done for her.
I think I screamed with glee at the first fresh salad… maybe even shed a tear at the first batch of crispy steamed green beans.  I went from someone who thought growing your own food was weird to someone who now wants a farm!!!
People can change.
Five year later we have expanded and there isn’t a blade of grass to be found in our backyard but my heart still lies in my original Potager.
If you dream of organic food, if you savor a gorgeous tomato or a fresh pile of basil… if your heart has swooned when you made your first trip to a chateau in France and saw those neatly trimmed boxwoods holding in lavender and other herbs… than a Potager, large or small is for you.
Let’s say you know NOTHING about keeping something alive, nothing about Potagers, French Heirloom Vegetables, etc…
Here is recommended reading for this course.
It’s only February – you have time.  These are links to Amazon.com.
Be inspired.  
Savory food & beauty are
 just months away.
The book that started it ALL for me — In the French Kitchen Garden.
Packed with incredible information on pest control, soil amendments and full of recipes and specific information about each vegetable mentioned.
Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible French Garden – This one is supposed to be wonderful and will be showing up in my mailbox very soon.  It has five different potager plans you can use and information on growing over 150 different kinds of edibles!
Stay tuned for the next class!

OH!  I almost forgot!

Please note:  Entries were written exactly as your comment name appeared lest there be any confusion on who the winner is.
I am waiting on my copies of Artful Blogging to show up in my mail box and your prize will be shipped straight away!!!!

Potager 101 Lesson Two coming very soon!




  1. Theanne...

    Enjoyed your post…your Potager (thanks for correct pronunciation) is elegantly functional…fantastico!
    Bravo to the winner of giveaway, and a job well done to your son!

  2. Roberta

    Thank you for the lovely photos. They remind me of my younger days and my lovely garden with my small children picking bugs off by hand. I now must be happy with the farmers market, alas. Better than nothing but still not like going out in the back yard and picking what you have grown.

  3. Tarnished Tines

    Those two are TOO cute!

    Even if I didn’t win it was worth it to watch them 😉

    The post and photos were gorgeous.

  4. Alice

    My face is red because I have been pronouncing it incorrectly too! So thanks for setting us straight. What lovely photos to inspire.

    And eventhough I didn’t win the contest, I thoroughly enjoyed the announcement! What cuties you have there!!!!

  5. Buttonchief7

    What a clever way to pick a winner. Your children are the cutest and you are the true winner. Peggy

  6. Tamra

    Oh what inspiring pictures! And don’t even get me started about the one with the woven willow edged beds!!

    There is nothing like a garden, no matter how small to make your mind relax and your heart sing.

    Congratulations Amanda!

  7. The Not So Perfect Housewife

    Aww.. I was bummed I didn’t win, but the cuteness of your kids made it all better!!!

    I am SOOOO looking forward to following along with this.. I can’t wait till we get in our new house and I can get started on our garden..

  8. The Flying Bee

    Congrats to Amanda! Your two little ones are adorable! I can’t wait to read these books!

  9. Priscilla

    vos enfants sont très précieux
    Congratulations Amanda

  10. Old Centennial Farmhouse

    Okay, you could post a video of your kids EVERY DAY and I would be pleased as punch and you wouldn’t have to write a word! They are so cute, can I be their honorary auntie?

  11. Blondie's Journal

    Your post has me dreaming about spring and my gardens! Fantastic pictures

    Hope you survived our blizzard…Wow, what a lot of snow!


  12. Kalee

    I am so excited for Potager 101….what better time to learn than when my husband will be overseas, so I’ll have plenty of time on my hands!

    And your son did a fantastic job! Well done Aidan!

  13. Jenny

    Yay! for Amanda…lucky duck. And what adorableness was on the screen…I loved Amelie sayin’ “Amanda’s my best friend” she is lucky times two. You have such a lovely voice too…thanks for the video, the lesson and the ultra beautiful potager photos.

  14. à la parisienne

    All I can say is, I am SO glad, that I am reading these potager posts before my husband and I begin ripping into our yard. For a francophile like me, and a very strange gal in Texas, I can’t believe I was going to expand my existing garden by just digging up an ordinary 6′ X 6′ square and plant simple rows of squash and tomatoes! Oh, chateau-chic jardin/potager here we go!
    My husband may be cursing you in a couple of months:)


  15. à la parisienne

    Oh, and I meant to add that I love the video!

    Quels mignons enfants!

  16. Stephanie

    The video is cute! Hilarious that your five year old can pronounce potager correctly and I have not been 🙂

    Now I know better. I’m excited for this series and will get started on the homework reading right away.

  17. Amanda

    Merci bien!!
    I wish to say I am humbled and honored to:

    1.) Have a new best friend.[wink}
    2.) To begin my very own Potager this summer!

    I am looking forward to Potager 101 and to reading new books about this!

    Join me in my own Potager adventure as I learn from none other than the Parisienne Farmgirl:)

    Thank You Angela from the bottom of my heart for being so gracious!

  18. Farmgirl Cyn

    I happen to own both of your giveaway books, which is why I did not enter. VERY inspiring photos, for sure. But my favorites have always been of your very own potager. I remember spending an hour or more looking through your gardening posts and drooling over your flowers and veggies. Everyone checking in will be most inspired….

  19. Beth - In My World...

    Absolutely stunning! I have two raised beds with a fruit garden in between…your property is what I aspire to and love your “resale shmeesale” quote. I’m not going anywhere and I want it the way I want it. My garden…potager…is my oasis and I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt. Thank you for the reading materials…I am going to Amazon right now to get my copies.

  20. Chrissy

    Oh Angela, this is so funny, I was just talking to my husband about our past trips to France. I was so nice to reminisce with him, but what I talked about the most was their wonderful garden. Their gardens are so beautiful and useful at the same time, from the small house to Versailles. My husband said I was a cheap date, because I wanted to do was look at “houses”, gardens and vinyards:) Now don’t get me wrong I loved all of the “tourist” sites, but I still remember all of the countryside beauty.
    Anyhow, with all of that being said, I told him I wanted to learn how to make a garden like that, but did not know where to start? Now with your book suggestions and your personal experience, I think I can just “DO IT”, right?
    Thanks for the inspiration and I am definitely now a follower 🙂

  21. Laurie at Turner Farm

    Stopping in from Amy’s blog at Homestead Revival. Loving your blog and look forward to reading more.

  22. Musings From A French Cottage

    Loved this post! The pictures are gorgeous and I can’t wait to read more. We are building our very first potager in the spring. We’ve had a small vegetable garden, but it doesn’t really provide nearly enough for a growing family! Your photos of your potager as well as the huge project you tackled in the fall have been my inspiration. I keep pulling up your blog and showing my husband all of your beautiful photos. “This is exactly what I want.” I keep telling him. We’re even discussing chickens now too. We’re checking into HOA guidelines to see if we can. Fingers crossed! Thanks for your beautiful blog, Angela. I appreciate it more than you know.

    Congrats to Amanda ~ the announcement was priceless!!

    God Bless,

  23. Amy Kinser

    How interesting this seems! I am certainly interested in continuing to read.

    Okay, can I confess that this Tennessee girl would have so pronouned it Pot age ger as well?So glad I know different. 🙂 See, I have already learned something.

  24. Stephanie

    I just got one of the books and showed my husband what I had planned for the backyard. I was met with crickets chirping. Ha! How do you convince the other half to dig up the backyard? I’m going to have to get creative, or find a landscaper, or do it myself….(scary!)

  25. Ticking and Toile

    Oh you are too funny!! I did the same exact thing in our backyard about 3 years ago!!!!!! Literally started digging up ALL the grass (while hubby was at work..hahahahah) then finally succumbed to renting a sod cutter, just took myself down to the ol equipment rental place & had ’em hook up the trailer w/ the VERY heavy sod cutter loaded up & off I went. After removing most of it realized I really need some BIG muscles (those don’t turn at all!!) & called my hubby home from his sales manager (in a suit kind of job) job, on his lunch break, to finish for me (it was only a 4 hour rental ya see )”it’ll only take a few minutes dear” uh huh…..90 minutes later he’s done……oh my goodness!! Crazy girls we are! But I have not regretted it at all :)I’ll have to do a post on it soon.

    ANYWAY, worlds longest comment here!! Love your blog & you are amazing!

    I’m ready for planting!!


  26. TheCrackedPotter

    Just stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for design ideas for my first ever garden, potager style that is. It is refreshing to read your conservative views on political, spiritual, and educational matters. I’ll be following along.
    Nancy, theCrackedPotter
    In Hershey, PA

  27. Robin and the Sage

    how a delightful blog you have. i was just searching about potager garden from google and found your blog.


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