A few years ago i was asked by the Toronto Botanical Garden to teach a course on creating a potager. On visits to Britain, I’d noticed a resurgence in vegetable gardening, but the only edible plant I ever included in my ornamental gardens was a beautiful burgundy lettuce called ‘Revolution’. So, I set out to create my very own potager.
I knew that I needed an area that was flat, in sunshine for most of the day, and near an irrigation source, so the spot I chose was bounded by a shed to the east, a pergola to the west, only steps away from the kitchen and smack dab in the middle of our perennial gardens.
That autumn, perennials were relocated and a load of composted duck manure was piled in. In early spring, I laid out the beds and paths—a series of triangles and rectangles worked best in our situation, but circles, squares, or knots are other options. Remember that you should be able to reach into the centre of each bed from the path and that the main path should be wide enough for a wheelbarrow. We installed a sundial at the centre of the garden, and underplanted it with thyme, of course!