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Themed Kitchen Gardens - The French Garden

Themed Kitchen Gardens 

Good cooks usually plan their kitchen garden or gardens with menus and favorite dishes in mind.  They indulge their whims with gardens designed to let them cook a variety of specialties, French, Italian, Asian, Mexican, or vegetarian dishes.  If you are a diabetic or have heart problems there is also a kitchen garden with your health needs in mind.

Before you rush out and plant a kitchen garden, spend a little time thinking about how you cook and how your family eats.  Do you like salads, low-carb and low-calorie cooking, pasta, or hearty chowders and stews?  My personal favorite is the summer salsa garden.  Once you’ve made your own salsa fresh from the garden you will never go back to the jar salsa.

You will want to plant herbs too.  To decide which herbs you’ll need, look at the jars of dried herbs you already have in your kitchen.  These are probably the ones you’ll eventually want in your garden.  Add new herbs as your taste demands.

What you find to eat in your garden also depends on the season.  In some areas of the country, you can grow lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers all together during the summer.  In the warmer areas, lettuce and other greens are grown in the spring and fall; tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and similar vegetables are grown in the summer.

You might also consider planting some edible flowers among the vegetables.  Flowers and herbs will attract bees for pollination.  Even if you only use the flowers for decoration on your plate, they will be beneficial to your kitchen garden.

Number of Plants Per Person 

Vegetable                  Plants per person                 Vegetable                  Plants per person 

Bean, snap                  2-3                                           Melon                          2

Bean, snap (pole)        1-2                                           Mustard                       4-6

Bean (shell)                 3-4                                           Okra                            1-2

Beet                             10-20                                       Onion                          10-30

Brussels sprouts         1                                              Parsnip                        10

Cabbage                     2                                              Pea, snap                    3-4

Cabbage, Chinese      2-3                                           Pepper                        1-2

Carrot                          30-50                                       Potato                          1-2

Cauliflower                  6-10                                         Pumpkin                      1

Celeriac                       1                                              Radish                         20-60

Celery                          1-2                                           rutabaga                      3-6

Collards                       2-5                                           Salsify                         2-10

Corn, sweet                 5-6                                           Shallot                         4-10

Cucumber                    1-2                                           Spinach                       3-7

Eggplant                      1                                              Spinach, New Zealand 1

Garlic                           4                                              Squash, summer         1

Kale                             2-3                                           Squash, winter            2

Kohlrabi                       4-6                                           Swiss chard                 1

Leek                            6-10                                         Tomato                        2

Lettuce, head              3-4                                           Tomato, paste             3

Lettuce, leaf                2-4                                           Turnip                          8-15

                                                                                    Watermelon, bush       1


I’ll start with the French Kitchen Garden and list only authentic ethnic varieties.  Now, you can tell everyone you are growing a true “French” garden. 

            The varieties listed have the seed catalog (by code) next to it.  The codes match the following seed catalogs.         

            ANN    Annie’s Heirloom Seeds  

            BAK   Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  

            BOT   Botantical Interest  

            BOU   Bountiful Gardens  

            COM   Comstock Seeds  

            COO   The Cook’s Garden  

            GOU   Gourmet Seed International  

            JOHN   John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds  

            SEED   Seed Savers Exchange  

            SOU   Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 

            TER   Territorial Seed Company  

            TERR   Terroir Seeds  

            THO   Thompson & Morgan  

The French Kitchen Garden 


Violet De Provence  A French heirloom noted for its fine flavor and purple buds.  Source:  BAK 

Bean (pole): 

Blue Coco (OP) 79 days.  French heirloom pods are bluish-purple, with chocolate-colored seeds.  Fleshy, slightly curved flattened pods 6-7 ½ inches long.  Produces under hot dry conditions.  SOU 

 Blue Coco bean

 Blue Coco bean    Photo courtesy Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 

Bean (French filet): 

Rocquencourt  54 days.  Fench heirloom with long thin pods with black seeds.  Source:  GOU 

Bean (Wax): 

Beurre De Rocquencourt  French heirloom.  Bush plants set good yields in most climates.  Source:  BAK 

Bean (fava): 

D’Aquadulce A Tres Longue Cross  85 days.  French variety.  Cold tolerant 3’ plant.  Use as salad greens, edible flowers, very young green pods, or shell like edamame or as dry bean.  Source:  BAK BOU 


Crapaudine  Old French variety.  Carrot-shaped roots have rough dark colored skin that resembles tree bark.  Almost black flesh.  Source:  BAK 

Brussels sprouts: 

Half Dwarf  120 days.  French hybrid variety that is medium-size on compact plants.  Smooth sprouts have flavor improved with frost.   Source:  GOU 

Cabbage (pointed head): 

Couer De Boeuf Des Vertus  French heirloom.  Bull-heart tall pointed heads.  Source:  BAK 

Cabbage (savoyed): 

d’ Aubervilliers  75 days.  French heirloom.  Large, closed head with crinkled leaves and excellent taste.  Source:  GOU 


Juane Obtuse Du Doubs  Bright lemon yellow carrot from France.  Big, thick carrot with sweet taste.  Source:  ANN BAK COM GOU 

Juane Obtuse Du Boubs

 Juane Obtuse Du Doubs carrot    Photo courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds 


Giant Pascal  100 days.  Favorite of French chefs.  Large ribs are easily blanched.  Source:  GOU 


Broad-leaved Batavia  90 days.  French heirloom variety.  Broad, light-green nearly plain leaves.  Heavy full head.   Source: BOT COO 

Chicory, Frisee (endive curled): 

Frisee Endive  60 days.  Triple-cut curly heirloom from France.  Feathery, fine-branched pale leaves.  Big heads and blanched hearts.  Source:  BOU TERR 

Chicory, Escarole (endive not curled): 

Cornetto di Bordeaux  65 days.  French endive.  Large upright escarole with full, crunching, white stems.  Heart is self-blanching.  Source:  ANN GOU 

Corn Salad (mache, lamb’s lettuce): 

Verte A Coeur Plein 2  French heirloom.  Short, roundish, half-erect, stiff leaves.  Small plant is fairly cold hardy.  Source:  BAK 

Cucumber (pickling): 

De Bourbonne  50 days.  Old French heirloom used to make the 2 inch long Cornichon pickles.  High yielding vines.   Source:  BAK 


Listada De Gandia (OP)  75 days.  French heirloom.  5-6” egg-shaped fruits.  Purple with irregular white stripes.  Drought tolerant, sets fruit well under high heat.  Best in long warm growing areas.  No need to peel before cooking.  Source:  ANN BAK JOHN SEED SOU 

 Listada De Gandia

Listada De Gandia eggplant    Photo courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds 


Blue Solaise (Blue de Solaise)  100-120 days.  19th century French heirloom.  Holds well over winter.  Deep-blue green leaves.  Source:  BAK COO SEED 

Lettuce (iceberg/crisphead): 

Rouge Grenoblaise (OP)  55 days.  French heirloom.  16 inch heads have glossy, ruffled red leaves and is bolt resistant.  Source:  BAK COO 

Lettuce (butterhead, bibb, buttercrunch, Boston): 

Brune D’Hiver  Compact, hardy French heirloom butterhead.  Crunchy green leaves blushed in reddish-brown color.  Requires little space.  Source:  BAK 

Lettuce (French crisp, Batavia, loose heads): 

Arianna Batavian (OP) French beauty with thick, shapely mint-green leaves adorning tall, open rose-shaped heads.  Widely adapted, tolerant to heat.  Source:  JOHN 

Lettuce (romaine/cos): 

Rouge D’Hiver (Red Winter) (OP)  60-62 days.  French heirloom has red and green leaves with deep-red tips.  Forms semi-open romaine.  Best color comes in cooler weather.  Source:  ANN BOT BAK COM JOHN SEED SOU 

 Rouge D Hiver

Rouge D'Hiver (Red Winter)     Photo courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds 

Lettuce (looseleaf): 

Cocarde  49 days.  French oakleaf has large dark-green leaves edged in dark-red.  Source:  ANN 

Lettuce (mesclun, lettuce blends, microgreens): 

Mesclun Lettuce Mix   Traditional French heirloom mesclun salad mix.  Includes Salad Bowl, Red Salad Bowl, Rouge d’Hiver, Paris Island Cos, Lollo Rossa, Chervil, Rocket Salat Arugula and Endive di Ruffec.  Source:  ANN 

Melon (cantaloupe); 

Noir Des Carmes  75 days.  A true French heirloom.  Rich black-green skin when mature.  Ripens to orange mottled with green.  Orange flesh.  Tends to split when ripe.  3-6 pounds.  Deeply ribbed with smooth skin.  Source:  BAK SEED 

Melon (honeydew): 

White Antibes Winter Melon  100 days.  French heirloom has small seed cavity.  Source:  JOHN 

Melon (Charentais): 

Charentais  75-90 days.  French heirloom.  Smooth, round melons mature to a creamy gray with faint ribs.  Originated in the Poitou-Charentes region.  2-3 pounds.  Orange flesh.  Source:  BAK BOU COO GOU JOHN SEED 

Melon (Canary): 

Yellow Canary  73 days.  French canary melon with smooth yellow skin.  Very aromatic flesh.  Can be used as a melon for cooking.  Source:  BAK GOU 

 Yellow Canary melon

Yellow Canary melon    Photo courtesy Gourmet Seed International    images are copyrighted Bavicchi Spa of Perugia, Italy 

Melon (specialty melon): 

Melon De Luneville  85 days.  Historic old French variety.  Oval to oblate and lightly ribbed.  1-1 ½ pounds.  Sometimes netted and comes in unusual patters.  Orange flesh.  Source:  BAK 

Onion (slicing, bulbing): 

Cevenne  135 days. Heirloom variety from the Cevennes mountain range in France.  Satin yellow skin with pale, soft flesh.  Bulbs store well.  Source:  THO 

Onion (shallot): 

Grey Griselle (OP) 180 days.  French heirloom is small teardrop-shaped. 1 x 1 ½ inch bulbs have a hard, gray skin and tender, pinkish-white flesh.  Mild flavor.  Source:  SOU 


Sweet Provence  65 days.  French heirloom, ‘petite poi’ tiny peas.  Nice and sweet.  Source:  GOU 

 Sweet Provence pea

Sweet Provence pea    Photo courtesy Gourmet Seed International  images copyrighted Bavicchi Spa of Perugia, Italy 

Pea (snow pea): 

Corne De Belier  Predates 1860.  French snow peas have large flat pods.  Creamy-white blooms.  Source:  BAK 

Potato (yellow flesh): 

Princess ™ La Ratte Fingerling 100 days.  Hybrid French gourmet potato.  Smooth, buff-colored skin with golden-yellow flesh.  Creamy custard texture.  Source:  JOHN 


Galeux d’Eysines  95-100 days.  This French variety is peach-colored, pumpkin-shaped like a wheel of cheese and covered in bumps.  Firm, sweet, bright-orange flesh.  10-20 pounds.  A long keeper.  Source:  ANN BAK COM GOU JOHN SEED SOU TER TERR 

Galeux d Eysines

Galeux d'Eysines pumpkin  Photo courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds 

Radish (round): 

Juane D’Or Ovale  An 1885 French heirloom.  Starts out as a pale tannish-white and turns a yellowish-tan as the roots grow.  Source:  BAK 

Radish (long): 

D’Avignon  21 days.  This hybrid French radish has nearly cylindrical 3 inch roots.  Bright red with white tips.  Source:  COO 

Rutabaga (Swede): 

Collet Vert  Old standard rutabaga.  Bright green tops and yellow bottoms.  Popular in France since the 19th century.  Source:  BAK 

Spinach (savoyed, semi-savoyed leaf): 

Monster of Viroflay  40-50 days.  19th century French heirloom.  Plants grow up to 2 inches in diameter.  Huge dark-green crisp savoyed leaves.  Sweet and complex flavor.  Very cold hardy for winter.   Source:  ANN BOT BOU GOU 

Squash (summer, zucchini): 

Ronde De Nice (Tonda Nizza) 50 days.  French heirloom.  Round, green zucchini is ideal for stuffing.  Great taste.  Source:  BAK BOT COO GOU JOHN SEED TERR 

 Ronde De Nice zucchini

Ronde De Nice (Tonda Nizza)  Photo courtesy Gourmet Seed International  image copyrighted Bavicchi Spa of Perugia, Italy 

Squash (summer, scallop/patty pan): 

Patisson Panche Blanc Et Vert  Stunning pure white scallop with deep green radial streaks.  Small fruit may not show the streaking, and it can be variable.  Pre-1885 French heirloom.  Source:  BAK GOU 

Squash (winter, buttercup, flattened globe, turban-shaped): 

Turk’s Cap (Turban)  90 days.  French heirloom, striped in red, orange, green and white.  Thick orange flesh.  Source:  BAK SEED 

Squash (winter, other type and shape): 

Sucrine Du Berry  French heirloom with sweet, musky fragrance.  Delicious, sweet flesh is used in jams, soups and many French recipes.  3-5 pound fruit.  Deep orange flesh.  Oblong, bell-shaped fruit are tannish-orange when mature.  Source:  BAK 

Tomato (slicing): 

Delizia  French beefsteak weighs 1 pound and is pumpkin-shaped.  Indeterminate.  Source:  COO 

Tomato (paste, plum): 

Andes (Cornice Des Andes)  70-80 days.  French heirloom.  Square and long, 3 x 6” fruit.  True-red, meaty, full-bodied, with few seeds.  Fruits fall from the vine when they are ripe and skins fall off easily. Indeterminate.  Source:  TERR 


Boule D’Or (Golden Ball, Golden Jelly) (OP)  65 days.  150 year-old French heirloom.  Yellow flesh is sweeter and milder than white varieties.  Fine flavor.  Source:  BAK BOU GOU TER TERR 

For a complete list of French varieties visit:  The French Kitchen Garden

Bon appetite. 

© Copyright 2013 by Karen Newcomb