The Kitchen Gardener's Handbookby Jennifer R. Bartley
“A mouthwatering picture book.” —Toronto Tasting Notes No longer content with separating the plants they grow to eat and the plants they grow for beauty, gardeners are discovering the pleasures of incorporating both edibles and ornamentals into their home landscapes. The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook makes it easy./i>/b>/i>
“A mouthwatering picture book.” —Toronto Tasting Notes No longer content with separating the plants they grow to eat and the plants they grow for beauty, gardeners are discovering the pleasures of incorporating both edibles and ornamentals into their home landscapes. The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook makes it easy. Whether she's sharing tips on planting radishes in spring, harvesting tomatoes in summer, or pruning perennials in winter, Bartley's friendly advice gives gardeners the tools they need to build and maintain a kitchen garden. Readers will learn how to plant, grow, and harvest the best vegetables, fruits, greens, and herbs for every season. They'll also find seasonal recipes that celebrate the best of the harvest, monthly garden chores, eight sample garden designs, and information on using cut flowers for decoration. The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook is a guide for gardeners who want it all—the freshness of fruits and vegetables and the beauty and simplicity of hand-picked bouquets.
“At heart, this is a book pulsing with the belief that we are richer for our connection to the patch of earth outside our kitchen door -- whether it's the food we bring to our table or the beauty we tuck in a vase.”
“Will resonate with folks who have some space and are looking to improve it with a year-round beautiful and edible outdoor yard.”
“Bartley uses this book to guide the gardener to incorporate edibles into the ornamental landscape, a very worthwhile endeavor for those with limited gardening space. ... [A] good choice for gardeners to want both beauty and good food from the same garden.”
“If you are looking at gardening more from the chef viewpoint… this book provides similar growing information and designs, but the real focus is the end products – the many recipes that use seasonal vegetables and fruits.”
“I have rarely seen a gardening book with such useful photos and illustrations, or one that does such a good job of making sure the images and text work together.”
“Lovely photographs [and] succinct to-do lists.”
“One of the most complete kitchen gardener's aids we've ever seen. From design to cultivation advice to crop suggestions to recipes this book has it all.”
“It’s a book you can't help but tuck with scraps of paper and turned down page corners as you harvest a bumper crop of fine ideas.”
“It’s a book you can t help but tuck with scraps of paper and turned down page corners as you harvest a bumper crop of fine ideas.”
- Timber Press, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.40(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Read an Excerpt
Origins What is a potager? Translated literally from French, potage means a soup of broth with vegetables. For Europeans, le potager has come to mean simply a vegetable garden (jardin des légumes). But the term potager carries with it a much deeper historical tradition. This meaning stretches back to the Middle Ages when all of Western civilization—literature, history, and science—was hanging by a slender thread, hidden behind the high stone walls of medieval monasteries. These cultural outposts were small, isolated, and largely self-sufficient. For the most part, the monks and nuns grew their own food, herbs, and medicines. Within small geometric plots, useful herbs, vegetables, and perhaps some flowers for the chapel altar were grown year-round for daily use. Monastery gardens were more than vegetable gardens, however; they were also used as sites for meditation and prayer. Just a kitchen garden? Georgeanne Brennan, cookbook author and owner of a cooking school in Provence, describes a potager as a year-round kitchen garden whose purpose is to supply the kitchen with fresh vegetables and herbs on a daily basis. The French have always grasped this important connection between the garden and the kitchen. The nearby potager supplies food for the household, and what is grown in the garden is served at the table. The term jardin potager first appeared in 1567 in the Charles Estienne and Jean Liébault work L’Agriculture et Maison Rustique, in reference to a garden of edible plants. Later, the word potager was used on its own to mean the same thing. A potager is different from the traditional American kitchen garden, which is typically planted in the spring and harvested in the fall, with all surplus being canned, dried, or otherwise preserved for the winter months. In former generations in America, the majority of citizens were farmers. In addition to whatever cash crop they produced, rural families depended on their own gardens for fresh and preserved foods. These gardens were not designed in the sense of an ornamental garden: farm wives had large plots fenced against roaming domestic animals, and these gardens, even with a few flowers, were entirely utilitarian. The gardens were laid out much like smaller versions of the plowed fields in the landscapes around them. In their Summer 2001 catalog, Ellen Ecker Ogden and Shepherd Ogden, authors and cofounders of The Cooks Garden in Warminster, Pennsylvania, wrote: The new American kitchen garden is a place where gardening is a pleasure for both the gardener and the cook, a place to grow both vegetables and flowers together for the simple delight of watching them blossom and fruit, and the pure pleasures they provide the table. Our own kitchen garden is the center of our summer months, and we spend as much time there as possible because tending it is a pleasure, not a chore. The definition of a traditional kitchen garden depicts a seasonally used space defined separately from the rest of the residential garden—the ornamental plants and lawn areas. And, in fact, most suburban vegetable gardens are still miniature versions of grandmother’s farm plot. They are rectangular areas consisting of regular, mounded, mulched rows: one row of beans, one row of tomatoes, and one row of squash—more than the family will consume. Annual flowers may be in another bed or border, and shrubs and blooming perennials are on the other side of the house, where the neighbors can see them. These traditional kitchen gardens are not designed, and we tend to apologize for their lack of aesthetic appeal by sticking them in the far reaches of the backyard, out of sight. What makes the potager different from a typical vegetable garden is not just its history, but its design: the potager is a landscape feature that does not have to be hidden in the corner of the backyard, but can be the central feature of an ornamental, all-season landscape—even in the front yard of a home in the most exclusive residential neighborhood. The potager is a source of herbs, vegetables, and flowers, but it is also a structured garden space, a design based on repetitive geometric patterns. While the typical vegetable garden is a bare rectangle of soil and mulch throughout the dormant season, the beauty of the potager is that it has year-round visual appeal and can incorporate permanent perennial or woody plantings around (or among) the annual plants. Evergreen shrubs are planted with perennial roses and annual vegetables. Thus, the potager is more than a vegetable plot: it becomes an outdoor room, with “carpet” and “furniture.” It can be near the kitchen door in a suburban yard, or it can be the central design in an urban garden. It is a well-designed place that feeds the soul as well as the stomach. It can be tiny—four small squares and just a few species of plants—or opulent and bursting with color, texture, scent, shape, and exuberant placement of the plants. The potager is a simple concept that enables any of us with a garden, small or large, to design for year-round visual satisfaction, while reaping the bounty of the edible and fragrant fruits, vegetables, and flowers it provides.
Meet the Author
Jennifer R. Bartley is a registered landscape architect and founder of the design firm, American Potager LLC. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from The Ohio State University. Her photographs of traditional potagers inspire audiences to create their own modern, seasonal, and ornamental kitchen gardens. Bartley lectures on potager design, garden design, and seasonal living.
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