Simplicity and a Potager’s Garden
Updated: Jan 7
Some lucky people realize the power of simplicity at a younger age. For me, it took a while longer. Sometimes it feels like life is going in reverse.
I grew up on a Midwestern farm with plenty of vegetables growing all around, prolific zucchini, bristly cucumber vines, endless green beans and melons. But a farm in a small, decaying Midwestern city is not a place you choose to stay as a young adult. So I moved west, as far west as I could go, to southern California.
And for that time in my life, that was perfect and right. But years later, I kept thinking about gardening. Just being able to grow anything and being able to get my hands dirty. Living in apartments and condo’s without any yard to call my own for so long had left me soil-deprived. So I came back to the Midwest, where I could afford a home with a yard and plenty of dirt.
The older we become, the more we realize that life is often circular.
I don’t have the big vegetable garden that I grew up with. But I do have a small sunny courtyard garden with two raised beds, and this year added a third. This is my potager garden, a traditional French garden that literally means ‘for the pot.’ You grow your favorite vegetables, herbs, and even edible flowers in simple but beautiful arrangements and always very close to your kitchen where you can simply walk out and pick what you need for tonight’s dinner.
I’ve discovered just how easy it is to grow lettuce—it’s really forgiving and just keeps coming back if you make sure it’s getting plenty of water. Peppers are super sun-lovers and one of the quickest-producing vegetables. And the culinary dynamo sweet basil grows like a weed, and you can start picking it just a week or two after planting.
What could be more healthy as well as therapeutic than getting your hands dirty, having organic vegetables and herbs growing just a few feet from your kitchen, and eating organic lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, and basil every day.