Old Potager ’21

A New Approach for 2021

The Old Potager is rather difficult as a Mediterranean vegetable garden. It is hot in the summer, but shaded by several olive trees on surrounding terraces. The soil is extremely free draining, so it needs frequent watering. It is orientated towards the east north east.

Twenty years’ experience here have made us understand that it is perfect for Mediterranean shrubby herbs, soft herbs, early and late salads and brassicas. Runner beans do reasonable well, but bush beans are not so happy.

The three central beds were well prepared and manured at the beginning of the year and planted as shown on the diagram. The planting strip on the outside of the curve is backed by a beautiful old stone wall, where we have allowed ferns to naturalise in the shadier part; and mint, thyme and any attractive wild flowers to settle in the sunnier part. In the strip we have planted Cavolo nero, the Italian black kale. In between these, and supported in some cases on the reclaimed iron pergola, is a haphazard mixture of sunflowers and climbing beans, squash and cucumbers.

On the inside of the curve, we have existing thornless blackberries and some raspberries, edged with sarriette (summer savory).

Plan for Old Potager
Tagetes tenuifolia 'Golden Gem'. Flowers are often used in vegetable gardens to attract pollinating insects and in some cases to repell pests.
Nasturtium ‘Empress of India’, as well as serving to attract pollinators, has edible flowers, leaves and seeds. The whole plant has a peppery, watercress-like taste: the flowers are mildest and the seed pods the strongest.
There are flowers in the Old Potager continiously as the seasons change from Spring to Summer and Autumn. These are often in the vegetables and herbs, but also many wild flowers spring up in the ground and the stone wall. Chive flowers are edible too. The flowers can each be divided and sprinkle onto salads and cooked vegetables.
We like the wild ferns that grow in the wall protecting our Old Potager, and the black kale, Cavolo Nero is a perfect structural plant for the border of the garden. We allow mint, lovage, chives, various parsleys, sunflowers and climbing beans and squashes to find their space between the kale and supported by a reclaimed iron structure.
In early May, we had planted many rows of herbs, some unknown to us before. Exciting times!
Approaching mid-June and we have harvested most of the lettuces. We have also cut back huge amounts of mint, oregano and majoram for drying. Now we are planning our next plantings.

Plant List

Vegetable & Fruit

  • Agretti
  • Buckshorn Plantain
  • Cauliflower 'Ottobrino'
  • Celeriac 'Monarch'
  • Claytonia
  • Climbing French bean 'Blauhilde 60'
  • Climbing French bean 'Neckargold'
  • Courgette 'Serafina'
  • Cucumber 'Marketmore'
  • Cucumber 'Minature White'
  • Florence fennel 'Perfektion'
  • Kale 'Nero di Toscana'
  • Lettuce 'Australian Yellow leaf'
  • Lettuce ‘Devil’s Tongue'
  • Lettuce 'Reine des Glaces'
  • Melon 'Petit Gris de Rennes'
  • Melon 'Prescott Fond Blanc'
  • Onion squash 'Uchiki Kuri'
  • Pumpkin 'Green Kuri'
  • Runner bean 'Czar'
  • Spinach 'Butterflay'
  • Squash 'Summer Crookneck'

Herb & Flower

  • Basil 'Thai'
  • Basil 'Finissimo'
  • Basil 'Sweet Genovese'
  • Caraway
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • French sorrel
  • Parsley 'French'
  • Parsley 'Frisee Vert Fonce'
  • Parsley 'Gigante di Napoli'
  • Perilla frutescens  'Shiso'
  • Tagetes tenuifolia 'Golden Gem'