Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potager Building

In February, I got a wild hair up my toe and decided I wanted- nay, needed- a backyard kitchen garden. As the cold rain fell and the blustery wind blew, I jumped online and spent a week researching opinions, history, style and design, developing a plan for what I wanted. In the end, I decided what I really needed to build was a potager garden. I turned my researching energy to the potager, and made short work of a final design (after several rejected sketches). The next step: ordering topsoil to replace the rock-like clay in my backyard. Little did I know, this would be the biggest hangup in the project. I ordered the dirt (7 yards) in mid-February, and it was delivered on April 3rd. Awesome. I sat around, twiddling my thumbs through the weeks that should have been spent planting...

Once the dirt was delivered, it was time to start working! I had debated whether or not to do wood walls around the raised beds, but I ended up deciding on stone. It was, after all, all over the front yard, and thus free. In hind sight, I am glad I did stone, but man was it a lot of work!

Step one: choosing the garden sight... well drained, lots of sun... check.

Step two: marking off the area... 11x11' for 4 raised beds, 4x4' each, with about a 2' path (and room for the stone walls).

The next step was chiseling off the grass and clay topsoil layer in the garden space. This step kicked my butt, took me three days, and didn't leave me in a photo-takin' mood, so use your imagination :)

Once the grass and topsoil was outta there, on to the next step: the first layer of stone for the walls.

I filled the squares with the new topsoil/sand mixture after each layer of wall was laid, so the stones would be supported and stay put!

Finally, all 4 squares have a layer of stone... the hardest part was keeping them square and level.

Filled in and ready for stone layer #2

Completing the stone walls

The back two squares were lower (due to the slope of the yard), and I had to start doubling the second layer of stones to keep the walls level.

One more square to go!

Finally ready for planting! Walls completed- check! Squares filled- check! Compost added- check! Paths graveled- check! Plants and seeds ready- CHECK!

Finally, the work and sweat produces results: clay and weeds turned in to a potager garden!

It took almost a month from start to finish, but we now have 4 raised beds in the backyard, built, worked, and planted by yours truly! Our potential garden (and surrounding area) will hopefully yield the following in a few more months:

Yellow Squash
Sugarbaby Watermelons
Celebrity Tomatoes
JalapeƱo Peppers
Bush Beans
Sweet Yellow Onions



  1. yummm! I look forward to the fruits of your labor!

  2. I wish I had this much space!! But I LOVE my little backyard garden and you will too!! :)