It is not often that I recommend a book on my blog - remember I'm strictly ad free. However it's worth learning French in order to read this one.
L'art du potager en carrés by Éric Prédine and Jean-Paul Collaert is an excellent read and an authoritative resource for the urban veg plotter.
The authors acknowledge their debt to Mel Bartholomew's ideas about square foot gardening. But this book is miles away from Bartholomew's rather dry rhetoric.
The French take on small scale veg gardening is infused with gastronomic enjoyment. For example the growing of lettuces is discussed in the light of the fact that the French believe that a meal really isn't a meal without a little salad au vinaigrette.
The photographs, which seem to be entirely taken in the authors' own garden(s), are delightful. They show a more picturesque Potager than the US model.
The book is packed with good ideas. Growing vegetables on this small scale is not done by many gardening writers, most of whom have large market gardens at their disposal. It's refreshing to come across experts who have actually tried growing on really tiny plots. They pass on loads of good advice, particularly on how to keep your plot moving; sewing, planting and harvesting at a really fast speed; so that you can get two or three crops per year from each square cm of soil.
The others revelation is the varieties they recommend, many of which can not be easily found in English seed catalogues.
Now I'll have to make a point of visiting a French seed merchant when next I cross the Channel.
For those who like surfing I can recommend the websites of Vilmorin, Caillard, Terre Vivant and Biaugerme for sources of authentic French seed varieties. I'm certainly going to try planting Courgette De Nice next year which is a climbing courgette, so takes up much less room, as well as being able to make use of the sunny south facing wall of my roof garden.