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Quote of the Day: Spring had really come

March 31st, 2013

“Spring had really come.

The south opened like a mouth. It blew one long breath, humid and warm, and flowers quivered inside the seeds, and the round earth began to ripen like fruit.”

Jean Giono (found in Provence: A Country Almanac)

working in the garden in spring 6
It’s certainly starting to feel like spring outside. Yesterday was warm and sunny, I spent most of the day outside working in the potager. If you remember, I showed you what it looked like last fall.
Le Potager du Chiots Run
This spring, it’s finally starting to take shape.  Over the winter, I decided to divide the garden into four sections on the diagonal.  Since our back door opens up to the corner of the garden, that seemed to make to most sense.   When you come out the back door, you’ll be looking straight down the main path of the garden.  Yesterday, I started making the pathways and the central feature.
working in the garden in spring 1
working in the garden in spring 2
Instead of having the pathways intersect in the middle, I figured a large circle with a garden in the middle would visual interest.  Tomato stakes were put in the four corners of the garden with twine strung between them to mark my two main garden paths.  To make the circular path and garden, I put a stake where the two main strings intersected, then I used the rope with a stick trick to make the circle.
working in the garden in spring 3
working in the garden in spring 4
It actually worked quite well, the circle is as good as it can get. Since there is an abundance of rocks here, I decided a rock border would be a nice way to hold back the soil in the slightly raised circular bed. I’m still on the fence about lining the main walkways with stones as well. The walkways will be covered with wood chips for now, perhaps I’ll use crushed limestone in the future.
working in the garden in spring 5
I have a lovely trellis that will go in the middle of the circle, I didn’t install it as I’ll need a helping hand. Mr Chiots was busy putting up firewood all day.  Instead, I started planting the beds with vegetables.  After much deliberation, I settled on rows that followed the central curve.
working in the garden in spring 7
working in the garden in spring 8
While I have a hoop house of spinach, fall planted garlic bulbs, and a few overwintering perennials that are hindering the completion of the walkways, it is starting to look nice.  The top of the garden dries out faster than the lower portion, so were also a few sections that were still too wet to work in, those will be finished up when things dry out.   This view below is the view from the back door, as you can see, dividing the garden on the diagonal was a great idea!
working in the garden in spring 9
I even had time to plant yesterday. The circle in the middle was planted in: ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Winter Density’ lettuce, along with ‘Scarlet Frill’ Mustard. In one of the triangles I planted two rows of ‘Windsor Broad’ fava beans with a cover crop of ‘Idagold’ mustard interplanted between them. In front of the beans by the walkway there is one row of ‘Green Fortune’ pak choi and ‘Bowles’ Black’ pansy. The small area in front of the low tunnel was planted in ‘French Breakfast’ radishes. (click on variety names for seed source). It certainly feels good to tuck a few more seeds in the ground.

Has spring officially arrived in your garden yet? Or are you lucky like Maybelline to not have any “off seasons” in the garden?

If you’re interested in making your kitchen garden a little more designed & formal, check out these books. They’re full of lovely images and layout plans to help you create a stunning potager:

22 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Spring had really come”
  1. Marina C on March 31, 2013 at 8:11 am

    What a lovely plan!
    What would we do without the winter to let us restore, and get hungry for the garden, and to make great plan,s like the you did.
    There will be great energy and Feng Shui the way you have set it up, and the path leads right to the heart of it!
    When Joe and I find our next place, like you and Brian did last fall, my garden will be in that relationship with the kitchen. Now, unfortunately, the driveway is between the garden and the house. Just the way the land is set up…
    As always, thank you for sharing, and for the window sill lettuce advice. Thankfully, I have a wide sunny window sill for next winter!

    Reply to Marina C's comment

    • Susy on March 31, 2013 at 8:20 am

      At our old place in Ohio the driveway was between the house and the garden as well. Hopefully in the coming years I’ll be adding a small patio and herb garden right outside the kitchen windows in hopes that someday I’ll have a door from the kitchen into the garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Marina C on March 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Was the last shot from the back door late in the day, with the setting sun?

    Reply to Marina C's comment

    • Susy on March 31, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Yes the setting sun. I worked until my fingers were frosty and I couldn’t see any longer.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Jenny C on March 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

    It looks great. I would love to have all that stone to edge my beds.

    Reply to Jenny C's comment

  4. Jessica on March 31, 2013 at 8:45 am

    It definitely seems to be spring here in Maryland. I did a lot of weeding yesterday – it was too beautiful to not be outside. It’s exciting to watch you get started on the new gardens in your new home. I can’t wait to see what it becomes. I’m sure it will be creative and beautiful.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on March 31, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Susy, So much to do. So little time. The warm weather has finally started to become consistent here in Nebraska. That means much more time outside with yard cleanup and garden prep. Less time in front of the computer will mean sore muscles and a little more help from my friends Advil and Aleve will help me through the day. It’s been a long inactive winter but I can’t wait to get outside and start working on garden projects. Starting from scratch with gardens is exciting, isn’t it?

    Have a great day playing with garden designs.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. Maybelline on March 31, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Wow. Quite a lot of work. Well done. It felt like summer yesterday. Almost turned on the AC.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  7. whit on March 31, 2013 at 10:15 am

    You have a stunning creation there! Can’t wait to see what it looks like in another month.

    I like your idea. I have been trying to put together a potager idea since last year. The space is overwhelming me at 1/2 acre big, and trying to incorporate what was done from the last owner who didn’t care about form is hard. But how can i rip out a hundred foot row of prolifically producing grapes? ;). When it’s finished, i hope it’s filled with sweet nooks and crannies for children to hide in and a could well placed fruit trees for my hubbie’s hammock and maybe a fruit tree arbour.

    Reply to whit's comment

    • Deb on March 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      I’d love all those grapes, That’s a lot of grape juice for the kids or wine or raisins. I certainly would never tear them out, no way. Lucky you. It isn’t really necessary to have formal lined up gardens. Wherever there is space and the right conditions, sun, etc., is all that’s important. Good luck.

      Reply to Deb's comment

      • whit on April 1, 2013 at 9:30 am

        Thanks for the encouragement, Deb. There is a lot here from the previous owner that makes us scratch our heads, especially because he was a nurseryman selling edibles and native plants and this property was his nursery business. We have so much to correct, like pulling our vines that are the kudzu of the north and full sized, mature trees planted at the foundation of the house. Now the grapes are another story…like you say, they won’t be pulled…just because of their sheer food mass and all the possibilities they provide. And even if they aren’t sweet enough for human consumption, the chickens love ’em! Happy gardening!

        to whit's comment

  8. Mich on March 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Sadly spring still seems to be missing here :(
    Am fed up with what feels like the longest, wettest, coldest winter ever…here in the UK.

    Reply to Mich's comment

  9. Amy S on March 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Lucky for you to be able to work in the garden beds. We have only been able to work in the landscape around the house since it’s mulched heavily. My garden is still frozen and too wet to work it. We are here in Central Illinois so I hope in the next week or so we’ll be able to get out there. Love what you got accomplished and can’t wait to see it in bloom.

    Reply to Amy S's comment

  10. Maybelline on March 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Your project reminds me of the Eagle Scout project one of my gnomes did years ago. A Rosetta on the landing strip of a WWII air base near here. It is still in use today. Air show coming soon to Minter Field.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  11. Sierra N Hampl on March 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Susy, that looks amazing! I’m so impressed with what you are able to accomplish in your garden. I’m going to take a look at those books you recommended.

    Reply to Sierra N Hampl's comment

  12. Twitter Bird :) on March 31, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Miss you, Hope all is well and warm and cat curling at your feet and you have a good Easter Sunday!

    God bless you on this special day!

    Reply to Twitter Bird :)'s comment

  13. Niece on March 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Auntie Susy,Nice pictures,miss you:)

    Reply to Niece's comment

  14. Julia Reed on March 31, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Great job Susy! Looks awesome!

    Reply to Julia Reed's comment

  15. kathi Cook on March 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Wow that looks incredible, even without anything growing in it yet. Can’t wait to see it as it progresses through the spring and summer.

    Reply to kathi Cook's comment

  16. Christi {Jealous Hands} on April 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    It will be beautiful – can’t wait to see it fully take shape as Spring progresses!

    Reply to Christi {Jealous Hands}'s comment

  17. Maggy on April 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Susy, do you water overhead? Sprinkler? I love your garden design, but I hear so much about spreading/causing disease by overhead watering. What do you think about that?

    Reply to Maggy's comment

    • Susy on April 21, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      I always water by hand with a watering can or sprinkler. I figure if mother nature does it that way it can’t be too bad!

      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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