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In the French Kitchen Garden: The Joys of Cultivating a Potager Hardcover – Bargain Price, October, 1998


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October, 1998
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0811820343
  • ASIN: B00006JO20
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Georgeanne Brennan became enamored of the concept of the potager, or kitchen garden, while living in the south of France, and has created potagers everywhere she's lived in the nearly three decades since then. The potager, explains Brennan, is more than a garden: it's a chance to observe the seasons, a provider of ingredients for signature local dishes, and a great social democratizer that keeps neighbors in touch as they share their bounty with each other.

One of the main features of a potager is that it is intended as a year-round garden, rather than just a summer, or harvest, garden. To that end, Brennan explains which plants do well in different seasons and how to stagger the plantings during seasonal transition periods so as to use the space efficiently throughout the year. The garden itself can be quite small--9 feet by 12 feet can keep a family of four in fresh produce. Like a potager, this guide is small and sweet. It's attractively illustrated with Melissa Sweet's watercolors, and includes 25 easy recipes that make stars of simple, fresh ingredients. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The French kitchen garden, or potager, is celebrated in this appealing book. Accompanied by charming, engaging watercolors and simple, delicious recipes, it offers practical counsel on growing a potager to accommodate your climate and tastes. -- Home and Gardens --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you are lucky enough to ever meet Gerogeanne Brennan, you know that she is the real thing: down to earth, a gourmand who gardens. You can trust that Brennan speaks from her experience, not from the experience of her "experts."
In this book Brennan does something unusal that you do not usually find in gardening books, especially ones that are geared for begining gardeners. There are no lists of 10 fool proof plants, nor strict instructions to plant something a specific way on an absolute date or face certain failure. (Honestly, why Martha thinks you have to plant peas on St. Patrick's Day is beyond me.) Brennan instead wants you to understand the philosophy of the potager, and then make your own rules.
Brennan suggests what you might want to plant in each of the four seasons (wherever you happen to live) and tells you what typically would be planted in a true French potager at the same season; Brennan gives you sources to find these plants; Brennan even gives you an idea of what size pot you would need if you are restricted to balconey gardening. Very thoughtful. Though I have not tried any of the recipes in this book, they are similar to others you can find in her well-received cook books.
The book itself is small and well made; the paper is heavy. It feels good in your hand. The illustrations are charming without being too cute, and often they illustrate a garden layout that actually makes sense. And of course Brennan's writing is rich and clear.
This is a good book for a beginning gardener. You will not be dissappointed.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on March 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At first glance you might think IN THE FRENCH KITCHEN GARDEN is nothing more than a good door prize. This pretty little book is not very expensive and whereas cheap and beautiful often suggests a void, FKG is packed with all sorts of good ideas for creating your own little kitchen garden. From Ms. Brennan's perspective, the French kitchen garden is a soup garden or potager where one grows vegetables, herbs, strawberries, melons and "cutting flowers, such as zinnias and nasturtiums." She also suggests that although the proper garden would not include trees which shade vegetable plants and flowers and reduce production, occasionally, one includes a fig tree or some other small fruit tree. Generally, the produce grown in the potager is consumed as the season progresses (soup to soup so to speak) with nothing leftover for canning or preserving although some items such as winter squash and potatoes might be stored in a cool dry place for a short while.
The concept of a year-round garden is European, and therefore a foreign idea for most Americans whose only spring crop consists of daffodils. So among other contributions, Brennan encourages the reader/gardener and/or novice potager to think differently about the use of space heretofore only used to grow a few tomato plants and pole beans. I have been a 3 season flower gardener most of my life (spring-summer-fall) but in recent years have attempted to have a good-looking winter garden. My winter "crop" has been more structural than not, consisting of dried grasses, dried sedum and other "interesting" plant forms that are decaying and bird friendly. Ms Brennan has inspired me to rethink my approach and seek out more information about four-season vegetable gardening. Winter for example is a great time to plant onion sets and grow leafy items in a cold frame. If you're thinking about growing the old-style Victory Garden, or want to know more about the soup garden, Brennan's book is a good place to begin.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alouette1 on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My wonderful husband just bought this for me for my birthday and my thumbs are glowing green. (Oh, to be an Alaskan and have a gardening book bestowed up on me in the dead of winter!) The author explains many ideas for gardening in great detail, often explaining what could happen if you do things different ways (for instance, what happens when radishes are grown in hot soil in warm climates vs. in cooler ones.) The illustrations are also efficient in that they are in water colour and show detail where needed and show adequate lay-out.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bouddhableu on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I like the idea of a potager vs. the typical American harvest garden; a potager/garden that produces food in a staggered fashion is better suited to me as an urban gardener who doesn't want to put up jars of vegetables for the winter, but rather wants something fresh for lunch and dinner throughout the year. This is a well-written, practical guide to growing a potager of one's own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Starwoman33 on December 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've probably read this charming little book celebrating the joys of the French style "potager" garden at least 100 times. It is Georgeanne Brennan's personal and instructional account of the four season garden lifestyle she learned while living in the French countryside. The story is put forth in a way that makes a gentle, yet deep and lasting impression as the potager philosophy emerges through interactions with her rural neighbors. It is an important year around gardening approach that, to my view, makes a powerful contrast with the American Harvest style garden, generally planted once a year in the spring and dormant over the winter. I have her to thank for my fabulous winter garden and the inspiration for my own potager. This style of gardening makes great use of small spaces and is easily managed with biodynamic and sustainable practices. For this reason, and the gentle revelation of the potager philosophy, which enhances the harvest garden approach, I think this book belongs in the library of every American gardener, as we have much to learn from this centuries old tradition. French country cooking is also demystified as the moving melange of the seasons, revealed in the watercolor illustrations of the garden design for each season. A must for cooks and gardeners!
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