Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Potager - First plant order

We have hashed out most of the major details of our potager design. There is one area we are still playing with, but the major block will not change, just the inner details. I'll post a drawing when we have it roughed out a bit better. The challenge is to capture the formal, repetitive space of a traditional potager while fitting it into the style of an 1890's farm house. Too formal and we clash with the farm nature of our place, too country and we lose the potager and the soothing formality we are trying to create.

One of the major pieces of our plan it the tree block. We wanted the trees to give some height without overwhelming the small space. We also wanted them to provide a screen from the driveway and the road. Our space is so open, and enclosing it with a wall, fence, or hedge would feel vary artificial. The trees will provide that sense of enclosure with out being too structural and formal. We also wanted the trees to be part of the joyous productive side of the potager. For this we have chosen some dwarf fruit trees. We love cherries and apricots, but don't need a lot of either. We have orchard plans for apples and other things, but these two seemed to end up stuck in a corner in the orchard plan. Putting them in the potager seems perfect. We are getting them from Miller Nursery (no one in our area has the dwarf varieties we wanted, and we have been really happy with the quality and hardiness of Miller's stock.)

The area we will be planting the trees in gets a bit of shade from the garage. After measuring sun angles and doing some calculations I have determined that the trees will get at least 88% of full sun during the spring and summer. A bit less in the fall and winter. It may impact production a little bit, but not so much that we will notice. One of the things people in our area struggle with in our area when they try to grow apricots is early blooming. We almost get a bit of late frost, and apricots tend to be very early bloomers. I think that having them in a bit of a north facing slope with a bit of shadow on it will keep the ground cold until later in the spring. This should delay the time they break dormancy and bloom enough that they will be less susceptible to frost. We'll see.
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