Potager Plants

Now that my raised beds are morphing into a lovely potager, I need to think about planting them in a way that creates visual beauty and structure as well as provides food.

Raised bed one has 4 Top Hat Blueberry bushes for a nice permanent structure. For a groundcover, I have 20 Quinault Strawberry plants. Behind them is a trellis for Coyote Tomato indeterminate vines with pretty yellow cherry tomatoes.

Bed 2 has Black Satin and Natchez Thornless Blackberries already, and this spring I will seed Strawberry Goosefoot in and around them.  That should fill in and around the lanky blackberry vines with pretty bright greens and red berries.  I will not only have blackberries but collect and dry blackberry leaves for tea.  If your blackberries are spreading past where you want them, clip the small volunteers, and eat them.  They remind me a little of asparagus tips.  The Strawberry Goosefoot greens are delicious raw or cooked, and will naturalize out to my Food Forest.  The red berries are mildly sweet and will look decorative until the birds or I eat them.

Bed 3 will have an Ultra Dwarf Fuji Apple Tree in the middle for structure, and it should stay 6-8 feet tall.  This little tree spent the winter in a ceramic pot, and is just waiting for its spit to be ready.  The apple tree will eventually fill in and shade the bed most of the day, so I plan to set wild violets loose in there this spring, and these little jewels spent last year in two large pots awaiting their new home.  They are my favorite salad green and I look forward to have them fill the bed.  They will produce greens without disrupting the tree roots and since they are a shallow rooted perennial will not need further input or digging.  I will also plant Saffron Crocus mixed in with the violets, and let them spread at will for my delicious clam chowder and for rice dishes.

This year there is plenty of room to grow turnips, carrots, and radishes all around the edges.

This year I will grow scallions in the middle of raised bed 4, with rutabaga and kohlrabi on each side.

My 5th raised bed will have herbs in it, they will like the warmth and full sun.  I already have enough herbs in pots to get it started, and can fill in with basil for pesto this year.  I will let a few of the bunching onions loose in there also.

I added more concrete blocks to raised bed 5 this morning, so it is taking shape.  63 concrete blocks add up to just under 1800 pounds.  I should be finished with it by next week and letting it compost.

Raised bed 6 will have Ultra Dwarf Elberta Peach on one end and Ultra Dwarf 20th Century Asian Pear on the other end.  Both fruit trees have been living in large ceramic pots since last spring.  In the middle will be pickling cucumbers and melons.



About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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9 Responses to Potager Plants

  1. Your planting scheme is very interesting: I would never have thought of placing fruit trees, albeit “ultra-dwarf” varieties, in raised beds. So are the beds deep enough to accommodate the trees’ needs? Also, when you plant close to the edge, do you have any techniques for minimising attacks by pests hiding in the nooks and crannies of the walls? Believe it or not, we have a major problem of snails here in Egypt. I often find them hiding out-of-the-way along the walls. Among the herbs, do you have a favourite?

    • Hi Sylvia
      An ultra dwarf fruit tree is grafted on shrub rootstock and will live happily in a large pot. My beds are 24 inches deep and will give them more room. I have larger fruit trees in the ground, but bought these for variety and for genetic diversity. I have never seen a snail here, although snails and slugs were prevalent in Washington. I just found out they are mostly edible (ick). Anything you eat disappears quickly! My favorite spice is Saffron and I will mix Saffron Crocus and wild Violas in the bed under the ultra dwarf tree. This first year there is plenty of room for root vegetables around the outside edge. Around the tree I will mix the seeds and broadcast them together. They grow at different rates so I will get radishes first, then carrots and turnips. I only have a dozen Violas and 6 Crocus so it will take a while before they fill in for the final bed.
      The bed is 6 feet square, so not a huge amount of anything.

    • Sylvia,
      I have a large number of Prairie Lizards in my raised bed walls, they are my first line of defense. Although I want to cap the blocks for appearance, the Prairie Lizards run down the holes and escape bird predation. I worry if I cap them, I will lose my free Prairie Lizard army.

  2. Helen says:

    I hope my blackberry bush will grow some leaves this year so that I can try them as tea.

    Sounds a delightful range of food, anyway!

  3. Helen
    I gave up a lot to live on more lamd, a big wrench. I imagine if I had been younger I might have survived all that better. Maybe not. I sure love it though. Everyone can’t disrupt their life the way this old single woman did.

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