Edible Displays: Kitchen Garden
Large planters offer scope for mingling flowers with vegetables to create a tiny kitchen garden or “potager.”
2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited
Packed with crops that are harvested from early summer into fall, this kitchen garden also includes vibrant French marigolds for an injection of color. Slow-growing leeks and celery root will take time to fill the front of the bed, so make use of the spare soil by sowing a row of quick-cropping radishes between them. Beans and peas scrambling up sticks will quickly bulk out and bring height to the back of the display.
Step 1: Choose Containers
Select a manger that is approximately 35 inches-by-48 inches and suits a patio or courtyard where extra height is needed. Use multipurpose compost, and ensure the plants receive full sun and are sheltered from strong winds.
Step 2: Go Shopping
Buy the following flowers and vegetables: three celery root, two French marigolds (Tagetes), seven dwarf green bean ‘Andante’, 15 pea ‘Kelvedon Wonder’, 25 radish ‘Mirabeau’ and seven leeks.
Celery root, also called celeriac, is an edible root vegetable in the celery family. The flesh, crispy when raw, silky smooth when cooked, has a delicate taste which suggests the flavors of celery and parsley with a slight nuttiness.
French marigolds come in an array of bright colors over a long season and are a mainstay of gardeners everywhere. They are bushy and compact with small flowers and a neat overall appearance that feature multiple colors in a single flower head.
Dwarf green beans, which are also known as French beans and bush beans, can be a highly profitable home crop. In spring and summer these annual beans will mature within seven to ten weeks.
Kelvedon Wonder peas are the most popular dwarf variety for spring sowing, and very good for summer sowing to produce a later crop. It yields well filled, dark green, pointed pods and peas of outstandingly good flavor.
Mirabeau radishes are a cylindrical, pale red root with small white tips that make a most attractive radish. Excellent for both early sowings under glass as well as for maincrop outdoor sowings.
Step 3: Plant Kitchen Garden
When the frosts are over, fill the manger up to three inches below the rim with compost. Sow a row of peas at the back and add branched sticks for support. Work forward, sowing a row of beans, and then planting a line of young leeks. Plant celery root at the front, and sow radishes between them and the leeks. Finish with French marigolds in each corner. Water well, and keep the compost moist. Once established, feed leeks and celery root every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer, and apply tomato fertilizer weekly to the beans and peas when flowers appear.