After 3 months laboring in love to revive our sadly neglected garden space, I am so excited to present my frugal potager garden tour! We attempted a small garden last spring, but with the kitchen renovation, it ended up being a bed full of grass and weeds. My one singular triumph were the two potted zinnias with the iron will to live in spite of our negligence.
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I was really nervous to attempt a potager garden for the first time, but Starla and Sierra were so encouraging! Starla always says, “We were made for a garden.” So, I decided to reach back to the time when Adam and Eve walked with the Father in the cool of the day, and started working on my frugal potager garden.
So, What is a Potager Garden?
“Potager” is a french word that means “for the soup pot.” A potager garden is basically what we might call a kitchen garden, or perhaps a cottage garden. They usually include a variety of fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers. There is equal emphasis on the visual delight of the garden as the practical purpose of growing your own food. It encompasses everything needed to create beauty, comfort, and nourishment, right outside your back door.
Check out the Transformation in our Frugal Potager Garden Tour!
Inspiration for our Frugal Potager Garden
The Chateau Diaries YouTube Channel by Stephanie Jarvis
As I mentioned in my European Cottage Inspired Kitchen Reveal, I have a growing appreciation for elements of European culture and design. I rarely watch tv anymore, but I never miss an episode of Stephanie Jarvis’ vlog, The Chateau Diaries. She had a British father and her mother is French. Her design aesthetic is so lovely and feminine! Watching her vlogs has obviously influenced the design of my kitchen, and now my potager garden as well.
Moss Mountain Farm – Home of P. Allen Smith
Back in April, Starla, Sierra and I met in Little Rock, Arkansas for a lovely sisters trip and a tour of Moss Mountain Farm. This is the home and gardens of P. Allen Smith. He has a show on PBS in which he shares all kinds of inspiration from cooking and gardening, to travel and design. He is also an architect and his home was absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in person. It was such a magical trip, and we hope to share more with y’all soon!
Touring his 18th century colonial inspired home was definitely my favorite part. However, I was delighted to hear how he approached the design of his garden spaces as well. He treats each space almost like a room. I loved the idea of using a space not only to grow food, but to create an enchanting space where you want to spend time.
Potager Gardening Inspiration from my Sisters
Starla and Sierra have inspired my frugal potager garden in so many ways! They have shared so many helpful gardening insights from their DIY Greenhouse, to Mixed Flower Pots, Starting Seeds and Transplanting them. Starla shared how to multiply plants with starts really inexpensively, or even for free. Sierra shared how to use cut flowers from the garden to add beauty, comfort and hygge to your home. I feel so fortunate to be able to learn from them!
Our sister Serena has an incredible garden as well! She has a vision to transform their farm and barn into a wedding venue. You can check out her place in Sierra’s post, How to Throw a Beautiful and Frugal 4th of July Party. It’s definitely worth a look!
What to Plant in a Frugal Potager Garden
To determine what to plant in our frugal potager garden, I chose vegetables that I know my family will eat. It’s also a good idea to plant vegetables that you use often or daily. I planted onions, because what can you cook without an onion? Green beans were an easy choice because they must be the easiest vegetable you can grow. I planted lots of zucchini and squash and tomatoes are a must! And I planted a ton of cucumbers because I am super excited to try making Starla’s Lacto-Fermented Pickles.
Because our summers are SO hot here in northeast Louisiana, there are some veggies that I will have to plant in the late summer or early fall. I hope to grow cabbage so I can make lacto-fermented sauerkraut right from the garden! So you see, there are endless opportunities, you just have to figure out what is best for your needs!
How to Save Money for a Frugal Potager Garden
Here are some ways we saved money while creating our potager kitchen garden:
Use What You Have! This is the official mantra of Life Full and Frugal! We repurposed a lot of the materials we used to create our garden structures.
- The landscaping bricks that we used around our original chicken coop location are now creating herb and flower beds.
- My husband took down a barbed wire fence when we first moved in to this house, and the metal posts have a new life keeping critters out of the garden now!
- The entire garden space used to be the pool pad for an above ground pool. It was already level and ready to go!
- I used some cinder blocks that we had laying around to create a step from the raised part of the former pool pad.
Free Cardboard from Dollar General – We used a layer of cardboard topped with mulch to keep weeds and grass in check. We got all of our cardboard for free and the boxes were already broken down by the employees of Dollar General!
Food Grade Buckets from a Donut Shop! I ran out of planters for my tomato plants, so I bought food grade buckets from a local donut shop for $2 each. I have also heard you can get them for free from Chic-fil-a. It’s definitely worth asking!
Free Fertilizer from our Chickens & Compost! If you don’t have chickens, ask around! You might find someone who is willing to give you some aged manure for your garden. And don’t forget to keep those kitchen scraps for your compost!
Helpful Resources I Used While Planning our Potager Garden:
If you are new to gardening, the learning curve can be a little intimidating. Just take it slow and do what you can. Find someone who knows a lot about gardening in your area and ask lots of questions. Here are some tools to get you pointed in the right direction:
- The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards – This is a GREAT resource for beginner gardeners!
- Checkout Jessica’s YouTube channel, Roots and Refuge as well. She is an incredible teacher! You’ll love her!
- Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners by Tammy Wylie – Another really helpful reference for beginners.
FREE Companion Planting Guide:
I used the companion planting method in my garden. It worked really well with the idea of a potager garden because it uses flowers for pollinators, along with culinary and medicinal herbs for pest deterrents. This method encourages you to plant fruits and vegetables that will benefit each other in the same area. I created a free printable if y’all want to check it out! Just click on the image below!
More Gardening Inspiration from the Sisters of Life Full and Frugal!
In Conclusion: You’ve Got This!
If you are considering creating your own frugal potager garden, let me assure you! You can do it! It has been so very rewarding. Even more than I ever expected. It’s a lot of work, but honestly, each little seedling popping emerging out of the ground feels miraculous! Like Starla says, “We were made for a garden!” Happy gardening friends!