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Le Potager du Chiot’s Run

October 4th, 2012

My to-do list is super long, especially when it comes to cleaning, office work, and other things. All of those things are being put off in order to get the small potager behind the house planted in crops that will hopefully provide something fresh for our plates this winter. It may be too late to plant things, but I’ve got nothing to lose but a few packs of seeds.

This garden is approximately 20 feet wide on all sides making it almost a perfect square.

Before I could plant anything, the garden needed clearing of weeds and past prime plants. The weed were tall and all going to seed, not a good thing. Letting weeds go to seed only means much more work in the future. Surely you’ve heard the quote “one year of seed equals seven years of weeds”. I will do just about anything to not let weeds go to seed in my garden.

This garden is a small kitchen garden located right off the enclosed back porch. I will use it for herbs, lettuces, and other edibles that I want to grow in small quantities and things that are harvested while I’m cooking. Back in Ohio, I had all my herbs growing in the flowerbeds directly around the house for quick harvests.

While I was filling my wheelbarrow with weeds, I spent my time making future plans for this space. I’ve always wanted a traditional four square garden filled with mostly herbs (here’s a great illustration of a four square garden). This little garden will eventually morph into that. There will be rock walls on the lower side to hold the soil back in the garden, on the upper side there will also be rock walls to hold the lawn back out of the garden. By doing this I can level this space a little more for my traditional four square garden.

I’m going to call it “Le Potager du Chiot’s Run”. It’s kind of funny that the name of this blog is French, since I don’t speak it, but I do speak Spanish. I decided that all things around here will keep with the French theme. The chicken coop will be named something French as well, perhaps “Chez Poulet” or “Maison pour le Poulets” (any suggestions?).

Until that happens, it’s going to be a small working kitchen garden. Yesterday I managed to plant a whole mess of mesclun, ‘Winterbor’ kale, a few different kinds of carrots, and cilantro. Then I got rained out.

Hopefully today I can plant the remainder of the cleared area with beets, more kale, spinach and radishes. While I’m doing that I’ll keep dreaming and planning the future of this space.

Do you have different garden zones for different kinds of edibles, close to the house for quick harvests, main crop areas, etc?

20 Comments to “Le Potager du Chiot’s Run”
  1. Marina C on October 4, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I love your four square plan! I grew up in France, however I got the gardening bug when living in England, so I garden more English style than anything else.
    I do have a structured raised bed garden, with arches between the short ends of the beds, on which I grow pole beans, all fall harvesting beans, peas and all grape and cherry tomatoes. I call it ‘Le Potager’ also.
    I have a small plot, 2 acres in the village on Main Street.
    We have created a small orchard, (that is ‘Le Verger’, by the way), Le Potager, a small woodland garden, a 1/2 acre meadow in the back where we planted some birches and willows. All we did there is let our totally organic lawn go, after outlining the shape of the end of the mowed lawn with a hose, an English trick!
    So a chicken coop in French is ‘ Le Poulailler’.
    Watching you starting all over is a real treat…

    Reply to Marina C's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2012 at 6:49 am

      Thanks for all the great French tips!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. whit on October 4, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I’ve been spending spare moments planning a potager for this house too. :) I figure even though we would like to provide food for the masses, nothing says it has to be traditional row after row of crops, eh?

    We have many areas…a garden in back of the house, an edible landscape with herbs, fruits, nuts & berries to the side (in front of where i’m hoping a shoppe will be turned into a small farmstand, berries and apples in the vicinity of the pond, and the three greenhouses scattered around the property. There is fruit everywhere here…since August, no matter where on the property you were, there was always a snack nearby. :)

    Reply to whit's comment

  3. Barbara on October 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I always read, but don’t often comment. I’m loving your relocation to Maine (where I’ve been living for the past (almost) 3 years. I have so many gardening dreams, but we live in a rented home with no area really suitable for gardening due to the massive shade trees (and my animal enclosures). I love the kitchen garden idea and am bookmarking your squarefoot garden link. Thanks!

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  4. Melissa on October 4, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Looks like things are shaping up well! I’ve been busy building a potager garden this summer, only 4 more beds to go in it. Mine is cold weather crops in the winter and some shade tolerant flowers in the summer when all the trees grow back their leaves. Give mâché and claytonia a try in your garden this winter; they are very cold hardy!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  5. Julie on October 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

    How funny, I’m just on my way outside to clean out our potager and plant our fall crops! We have our large kitchen garden down by the river, because that space receives the most sun, but we have edibles tucked into ornamental beds wherever I find a bit of sunny space. Our potager is designed using a four square approach, and I loved your link–gardening history is always fascinating! Our potager, though, is surrounded by a fence to keep out our pups, who are very good at destroying any vegetation. It also only receives about 4 hours of sun, so I plant lots of lettuce and crops that can tolerate shade. It’s such a mess right now, I dread going out to tackle it! So much for my perfectly balanced, artistic potager–the weeds are rampant! ;-) Enjoy your planting! It’s so much fun to read along as you plan your gardens.

    Reply to Julie's comment

  6. Erika on October 4, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I have also been looking at 4 square garden designs, but from the Pennsylvania German historical aspect.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with that area.

    Reply to Erika's comment

  7. Donna B. on October 4, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I’ve been trying to reinvent my front yard garden as well – this is a nice inspiration!
    I sort of want a nice formal path leading to the door, rather than having to go up the driveway [and through a precarious path filled with plants threatening to gobble you up! :D] and maybe having TWO four-square gardens on either side of a path would look really inviting!
    That way I can have a space for all of the herbs that I grow…
    thanks Susy! ♥

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  8. Marcia on October 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Chez Mère Poule (At Mother Hen`s) is my suggestion and what I would call mine if Calgary zoning allowed. I am not planting a fall garden and am only hoping I will get a chance to harvest my main crop potatoes before they freeze. We`ve been getting -10 (celsius) for a few days in a row. By the way, Dexter looks like he has the softer fur ever.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      LOVE the name, I might use it! And yes, Dexter does have super soft thick fur, he also sheds less than any of our other cats.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Songbirdtiff on October 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I have plans for a small kitchen herb garden right outside the back door. Maybe I’ll get that done next spring. :)

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  10. Domestic Executive on October 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I know that feeling. I spent many hours weeding and dreaming until my potager garden came to life and now weeding in that garden I dream of all the changes, new touches and wonderful food I produce. Happy day dreaming to you.

    Reply to Domestic Executive's comment

  11. Ghislaine on October 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Chez Mère Poule needs to be Chez La Mère Poule, if you actually want it to sound French.
    Also, we (native French speakers) tend to use “poulet” for the chicken you have on your plate, and “poule” for a laying hen. So that would be “(la) maison des poules” or “chez les poules”. You could also say “poulettes”, which is not technically accurate but sounds cute. “les poulettes de Suzy” for example.

    Reply to Ghislaine's comment

  12. Deb on October 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    What is the purple/red plant just above the broccoli going to seed? I’d love some of it. Very pretty. I’m not muvh on formal gardens not enought time to keep them that way. I personally don’t care what my gardens look like, shape wise, as long as they produce food for us. So Dexter is Ok with new surroundings and have all the cats come back after being let out? Good to see.

    Reply to Deb's comment

    • Susy on October 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      It’s a variety of amaranth. I believe it’s called Tower Amaranth. The problem with this amaranth is that because there are other varieties in the garden the seeds probably won’t come back as this variety. You’ll have to look for some from a seed catalog. I’ve been only letting Dexter out a little at a time when I can watch him so he can get his bearings on his surrounding. So far he’s doing really well. Today the feral cat was moved up to the garage.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Bettina on October 5, 2012 at 6:52 am

    What about having it rhyme and calling it

    Chalet Poulet

    Have fun!

    Reply to Bettina's comment

    • Susy on October 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      I thought of that one, love it. It will be a hard decision!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Laurie on October 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Pienso un nombre espanol seria muy bonito. Quizas Casita de la Gallina.

    Reply to Laurie's comment

  15. Pamela on October 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Hi there!

    I love your new garden space! I am so jealous!

    I also love your 4 square idea…very traditional and very sweet! I follow another blog where they have a potagier and it looks like that. I will find it and give you the link. (It’s highly possible though I got the link from you?) Its You may already know it.
    They just moved from England to Oregon. She inherited a lovely garden space and it was super overgrown as well.

    I love your chickens too! Your first commenter had some lovely thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your life…your such an inspiration for me.

    Reply to Pamela's comment

    • Susy on October 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      I do love My Tiny Plot, though I admit I haven’t had time to read there lately. Can’t wait to head on over & see her new garden!

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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