Category Archives: Gardens

Our Small Kitchen Potager

May 2014

May 2014 in the Kitchen Potager

I love gardening. I really love gardening with my kids. They helped me plant the beds in the above picture. We have lots of happy memories here!

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Everything is coming back to life and new life is beginning. There is so much hope and promise!

Now is the time for the kids and I to sow sweet peas, carrots, radishes, spinach, lettuce and beets. I still need to turn the beds over and prep them for this season! Oh, and I have NO seed started indoors. I am so behind but the weather is still very cool and many veggies can be directly sowed. 

I started a kitchen potager back in 2010 and I have been changing it around each year. I meant to keep up my gardening posts but time got away from me and I am running to catch up! Basically, this is just a quick rundown of the last 2-3 years.

Potager Apr2014

April 2014 Veggies on the inside in raised beds and butterfly garden flower border on the outside for cutting bouquets and supporting Monarchs.

We (I mean hubby) made a wattle fence out of the tree we cut down a couple of years before. I used the thicker limbs to frame our 4X4 raised beds but I really needed something better.

May 2014 Progress

May 2014 progress; strawberry and spinach bed, strawberries and carrots, herbs and greens, tomatoes and peppers

We went to the big orange box store hunting for some landscaping stone that had straight enough edges and sizing to contain our square beds. We needed a material that would not rot. We settled on their limestone composite stones that allowed us to get as close to 4 feet as possible. We used straw from the local farm and garden store  to cover walkways and deter weeds from growing.

pot. pro.3

North view of potager with strawberries and carrots on the left and swiss chard, lettuce, and cabbage on the right.

We used wire fencing to keep the bunnies out. HA! We were not successful, even digging it in 6 inches there are still too many areas for them to squeeze through. Every spring I have found a Mama bunny and her babies in my herb bed. So cute… so destructive. They love all the sugar snap peas and strawberries. Back to the drawing board! I am going to try and make some garden cloches to protect my seedlings. They may just be a new post!

'Comtesse de Bouchaud' Clematis

Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’

clematis pink closeup

Close up

A honey bee enjoying a dinner plate dahlia.

A honey bee enjoying a dinner plate dahlia in our cutting flower garden.

Giant Zinnias and Morning Glory Heavenly Blue with Grandpa Ott peeking through.

Giant Zinnias and Morning Glory Heavenly Blue

Concord Grape on arbor with Lakemont on right.

Summer 2015 Concord Grape on arbor with Lakemont on right. The concord was growing up into the neighboring tree and has since been pruned.


Curling up with the seed catalogs

Baker Creek's "The Whole Seed Catalog" 2014

Baker Creek’s “The Whole Seed Catalog” 2014    “The World’s Largest Seed Catalog”

My favorite seed company has put out a catalog of its whole seed collection.  This is the first of my seed catalogs to arrive.  I love thumbing through the pages when there is no living color outside.  Their glossy colors offer inspiration on the grey days of winter.


Countless pepper varieties…



They offer tomatoes in a rainbow of colors from all over the world.  They offer 1,500 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs.  I have never seen so many varieties of melons or cucumbers.
There is a spread on  Joseph Simcox of and his work to preserve and share rare seeds from around the world.

Here is a spread on World Food Plant Ecologist Joseph Simcox by and his work to preserve and share rare edibles from around the world.  I love the pose with the rare Argentinian flower on the bottom left!

I also enjoy planning with Seed Savers Exchange.  There are a growing number of heirloom and organic seed companies. Sand Hill Preservation Center is another great resource. However, I find if I have too many catalogs I order more than I plant!

I look forward to planning my gardens when the winter wind is blowing and snow is on the ground.  Everyone keeps telling me the Midwest is supposed to have one hell of a winter this year.  I guess we’ll see.

Regardless, I plan on curling up next to the fireplace with a blanket, a big mug of hot cocoa and all my seed catalogs.  I like to sketch out my gardens to help decide what I will plant and where.  I love to daydream about spring in the middle of winter.

What are your favorite seed companies/catalogs?  When is your favorite time to plan your garden(s)?



Harvesting Lemongrass


I planted Lemongrass this spring.  It turned into a garden monster.  I’m not sure what I was thinking planting it where I did.

Notice how the Lemon Verbena has to lean so far out to get any sun?  It still grew pretty well but it probably would have been less spindly had I planted the Lemongrass in a better spot.  
The upside is I had a nice amount of Lemongrass to harvest!  So harvest I did!  We get pretty decent winters in this part of the country.  Sometimes plants will overwinter well if you give them a good leaf mulch cover but I really needed to move this plant.
Lemongrass can be potted and kept inside but I don’t have the space to overwinter a plant this size.  I dug it out.
harvesting lg2
First, I cut off the tops and kept some leaves and stalks for later.  I washed and bagged them, then stuck them in the freezer for tea.  Once I dug the plant out roots and all, I began separating the roots, careful not to damage the bulbs.  
You can save some bulbs for planting in the spring by placing them in a paper bag to overwinter in the shed, garage, or wherever you store your bulbs and seeds.
Part by sections...

Part by sections…

Carefully cut around individual bulbs

Carefully cut around individual bulbs

Soon you will have this!

Soon you will have this!


 Shake off excess dirt and wash well.


I cut and peeled them just like a green onion.

I peeled off the immediate outer layer, cut off the roots, then peeled again to remove any remaining damaged areas.  I was careful to leave as many layers as possible intact to protect the delicate pulp that holds a lot of the flavor.  Then I rinsed, patted them dry, and bagged them up for the freezer.

Rinsed and ready for the freezer!

Rinsed and ready for the freezer!

My intention is to make some Thai dishes over the winter like this and perhaps some of these.

What are your favorite recipes for using Lemongrass?