Tip of the Week: A Mini Potager

The ornamental vegetable garden, or potager, is a long-respected garden tradition, seen most famously on a large scale at the Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley, France. The idea of growing vegetables for beatuy as well as taste also works very well where space is short. The ultimate space-saving potager is one made in a container.

Choose a large tub, fill it with rich planting mix and plant it with ornamental leafy salad greens and herbs for an original and useful patio feature. Try purple basil (Ocimum basilicum var. purparascens ‘Purple Ruffles’) with parsley, chives and one or two red-leaf lettuce variteis such as ‘Lollo Rosso’ or ‘Cocarde’.

You can also include plants with edible flowers such as pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), borage (Borago officinalis), which flowers in blue, and nasturtiums (Tropaeolum).

For early spring and fall, choose a mixture of hardier chicories and endives, growing them as “cut-and-come-again” crops and perhaps including one of the colorful Swiss chards such as ‘Bright Lights’.

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