Welcome to      sjefgardentips.wordpress.com,     a weblog with many gardening tips.

Recent new topics and additions:

  • New photos of the garden on September 1, 2017 at   Sjef’s garden    .


I started this weblog at July 13  2011.  Since then over 110,000 visits (September 2017).

Thanks for visiting.

There are many tips, photos and words in this blog. You better choose a category and read tips about it. For example beans or onions.

When I “invent” a tip, I describe the tip in the Dutch version (Sjeftuintips). Some days or weeks later I translate the tekst and add the tip to Sjefgardentips.

So when you want to read the latest tips or latest versions of Sjef’s tips, you better go to Sjeftuintips and “Google translate” the Dutch tekst into English.

See black menu bar (at top of the page):

  • At “Home” you’ll find all garden tips one after another.
  • When you click on  “Introduction and overview of gardening tips” you’ll find a list of all gardening tips (with links).
  • Info and photos about my garden are to be found at “Sjef’s garden”
  • About Sjef” shows a photo together with a short story about myself.
  • At “From where?”  you can read where tips are coming from or how I stroke upon an idea.

Some posts have been divided into “chapters”. Each chapter name starts with a letter followed by )#. Easy to find a chapter or to remind where you have read something interesting. For example tip 24 and E)#. This chapter describes cutting foliage and roots at chicory (witloof).

At tip 2) Simple tools and tips, each tool or tip has an order number.

At the end of each post or page there can be some comments. Do you have remarks or questions, click “Reply” and/or fill in the box with “Enter your comment here”.

Within a few days I have read your comment and I put it on “Sjefgardentips”, at the same post or page as where you put it. Under your reaction I put an answer or reference.  I don’t send you an e-mail.

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41) Replanting vegetables using 2 plastic tubes

verplantbuis 2b

maakbuis 6

verplantbuis 4a


New design 2017;

In this tip:

  • A)# Introduction
  • B)# Working method
  • C)# Remarks
  • D)# Making (wide tubes)
  • E)# Making (narrow, small, thin) tubes
  • F)# Final conclusion


A)# Introduction

Cabbage plants and other vegetables are often sown in a row or a group in the garden soil. When plants are big, they are replanted to the desired spots in the garden soil. During replanting, garden soil can drop from the root ball. Or at the desired position, one can put a plant into the soil with no clinging earth at the roots. At the new spot, this plant has to get used to the new position and the new garden soil. It can take a long time before water and nutrients are transported through the roots of the plant again. The plant will hang loosely for some days or weeks.

You can try to replant with rootball, so  with much garden soil at the roots. Using this procedure, all roots of the plant are still in the same garden earth at the new spot in the garden. Plants will not hang loosely for a long time and they will grow on soon.


Bulb planter

To replant with rootball you can use a bulb planter.

  • Use the bulb planter to make a plant hole at the new spot in your garden.
  • Put the bulb planter over (around) the plant.
  • Push the bulb planter into the soil.
  • Lift bulb planter with plant and root ball.
  • Put bulb planter with plant into the new plant hole.
  • Open the bulb planter and lift it from the new plant hole.
  • The plant with root ball will remain in the plant hole.


Sometimes this replanting method is not succesful:

  • Some leaves of the plant are damaged in the bulb planter during “grabbing the plant”.
  • During “unloading” at the new plant hole, the plant remains in the bulb planter. You have to squeeze the handle or shake the tool to have the plant with root ball into the new plant hole.


Two tubes

Instead of a bulb planter, one can use a plastic tube to grab the plant with root ball. Use another tube to make a new plant hole in the garden soil. Then put the plant from the tube into the planting hole. This procedure is described below. It works well when replanting cabbage plants, carrots, chicory (witloof), red beets, leek and lettuce (tried by myself).

At the old design of 2014 the replanting tube has a plastic hose. The root ball is blown out of the replanting tube.


At the new design of 2017 there is a small “inner tube” in the replanting tube. The inner tube is used to push the root ball out of the replanting tube. Within a few weeks or months more info about this new design.


B)# Working method

verplant 6

The (cabbage) plants on this photo need to be replanted. Water the plants 1 day before replanting. Otherwise dry soil can fall from the roots during transport.

Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. This makes pushing the tube into the soil and “unloading” the plant out of the tube much easier. See C)# Remarks

verplant 7

At this position in the garden, new plant holes are made and plants are put in later. When top layer is very dry, shove this dry soil away before making holes. So dry soil will not fall into the holes.

maakbuis 5

On this photo you see the 2 tubes that are used for replanting. Each tube is 6 centimeters (2.4 inch) thick and about 50 centimeters (1 ft, 8 inch) long. Description of the tubes:

  • The upper tube on the photo, the one with white stripes, is used to make new plant holes. It is called the “plant hole tube”.
  • The lower tube on the photo, the one with the green hose, is used to replant. This “replanting tube” is closed at one end. Near this closed end, there is a hose in the wall of the tube.  The “replanting tube” is pushed into the garden soil with open end down. Depth in the soil is about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inch). Then the “replanting tube” (with plant) is taken out of the soil and put into the new plant hole. The plant with root ball is blown out of the “replanting tube” during lifting.
  • At each tube, rubber bands indicate how far the tube is put into the soil.


verplantbuis 2

In this way the plant is put into the “replanting tube”:

  • Choose the plant that need to be replanted.
  • Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. Soil may be a little muddy. This makes pushing the tube into the soil and “unloading” the plant out of the tube much easier. See C)# Remarks.
  • When desired, dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch) before use. See C)# Remarks.
  • Use one hand to push all leaves of the plant against the stem.
  • Let the “replanting tube” down over the plant. Meanwhile guide the leaves and the stem of the plant into the tube.
  • Put the “replanting tube” over the plant on the garden soil, “about in the middle of the plant”.
  • Push the replanting tube into the garden soil until the rubber band touches the soil. This is about 8 cm (3 inch).
  • You can turn the replanting tube a little while it is in the garden soil. This “seperates the garden soil in the tube from the garden soil beneath the tube”. This turning procedure is not really necessary but you can try if it works well.
  • Carefully pull the “replanting tube” (with plant in it) out of the garden soil.
  • When the new planting hole is not ready yet, you can lay the replanting tube with plant on the soil. Or you can put this tube vertical on garden soil or on a paving stone.
  • When you click on the photo above, it gets screen wide.
  • You can use a cylinder (an empty toilet roll or so) to put in all leaves of the plant. Then put the replanting tube over the cylinder. See remark at C9) Leaves in roll.

maakbuis 1

Make a planting hole:

  • Push at the desired spot the “plant hole tube” in the garden soil until the rubber band touches the soil. That is about 10 cm (4 inch).
  • Pull the “plant hole tube” out of the soil. Then the  planting hole is ready.

maakbuis 3Empty the “plant hole tube”:

Use a wooden stick or trowel and tap against the tube to remove the garden earth from the “plant hole tube”. Drop the garden earth “somewhere else in the garden”.

verplantbuis 3 verplantbuis 4

When the planting hole is ready, you can plant as follows:

  • Put the “replanting tube” ( with plant in it) into the planting hole until maximal depth.
  • Take a breath of air and slowly blow air into the (green) hose. This air pressure pushes the plant with root ball out of the “replanting tube”.
  • Meantime lift the “replanting tube”.
  • Stop blowing air when root ball is out of the tube.
  • Lift the “replanting tube” until the plant is out of the tube.
  • When you click on the photo above, it gets screen wide.

verplant 1

Watering after replanting:

After replanting, pour cold tap water in the planting hole. In this way the room between ball root and planting hole is filled with wet garden earth. The plant will stand firm in the soil and will grow easy.


C)# Remarks

C1) Moist garden soil when unloading

Add much water to the plants and the soil, about 15 minutes before taking the plant out. Soil may get a little muddy. This makes pushing the tube into the soil much easier.

And “blowing out” (unloading) the plant with root ball goes much better. The moist root ball is more hermetic (air-tight) and the root ball is heavier. A water film between root ball and tubing offers a slippery path. On the new position, the plant grows in moist soil and will probably not hang loosely for many days.

Just before pushing the tube into the garden soil, you can dip the open end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch). This also eases pushing in and unloading the plant.


C2) Planting depth

The rubber bands on the tubes indicate how deep the tubes are pushed into the garden soil. You can shift the bands. This means you can replant deeper, at the same depth or shallower than the original depth.


C3) Adding manure or agricultural lime

maakbuis 2

You can make the planting hole slanting (\ /) by wiggling the “plant hole tube” while it is in the garden soil.

verplant 2

This offers more room between root ball and the edge of the planting hole. When desired you can put manure or agricultural lime in this room or on the root ball. Then fill up this room with loose garden soil. When watering the plant after this step, the root ball will remain intact. The garden soil will not be washed away during watering.

verplant 5

The same trick at another plant. Put agricultural lime around and on top of the root ball. Fill the space (between root ball and planting hole) with garden earth and make a “watering hole” around the plant. Water the plant.


C4) Filling the garden hole

verplant 4

Plants can grow very close to each other. When you have taken out one plant, next plant is very close to the “hole in the soil”. See left photo above. This plant is hard to replant with the tube. The plant will drop out of the tube during transport. Or the plant can not be “blown out” because air is leaking next to the root ball.

You better fill the hole with moist garden soil and press on it. See right photo above. Now the hole is “gone”, you can water the soil and replant the plant using the “replanting tube”.


C5) After replanting

verplant 3

These cabbage plants have just been replanted on their new spots.

verplant 8On this photo you see the same plants 2 days later. The plants grow firmly.


C6) Narrow (small, thin) tubes

kokertje 67

When replanting small plants, you can use thin drainage tubes. The polypropene tubes on this photo have an outer diameter of 40 mm (1.6 inch) and a length of 50 cm (1.7 ft).

verplant 12

The tube at the left side of the photo is the “plant hole tube”. It has a (yellow) rubber band to indicate depth.

The tube at the right side of the photo is the “replanting tube”. There is a hose in the tube (near the end). The end has been closed by a black plastic blind cap, as shown on the photo below.

verplant 24

This rubber cap (38.5 mm) fits well in the tube of 40 mm outer diameter.

The tube has a (blue) rubber band to indicate depth.


C7) Transplanting other plants

C7a) Chicory (witloof)

verplant 9

This photo shows replanting of witloof. At the left photo, the plant is at its original position in the garden soil. The right photo shows the plant at its new position. After replanting, much water is added to the plant and the soil. This makes garden soil flushing into the space between root ball and hole. So the plant will grow well after replanting.


C7b) Red beet (beetroot)

verplant 12

Use small (thin, narrow) replanting tubes. Red beet plants are small and there is little space between the plants.

verplant 21

This photo shows replanting beetroot plants using small tubes. After replanting, much water is sprayed on.


C7c) Winter carrot

verplant 22

This photo shows how a small winter carrot plant has been taken out of the garden soil, using a small (thin, narrow) tube.

verplant 23

The little carrot plant has been put into a planting hole. Garden soil has been shoved and water has been sprayed on.


C7d) Leek

preiplant 38 preiplant 39

On these photos a leek plant with root ball is planted in a 4 inch deep furrow in the garden soil. After planting, you can shorten the outer leaves. Then the leek plant will grow on easier and its leaves will not hang soft during several days. More info at tip 36, chapter D)# .


C8) Using a file to sharpen the edge of the tubes

Tom, a Dutch gardener, suggested to sharpen the lower edge of the tubes. This can be done with a file or sand paper. It eases putting the tube into the garden soil. For sandy soil probably not necessary. For clay soil a good idea. Thanks Tom.


C9) Leaves in roll

Tom also advised to put the leaves in a paper roll before taking the plant out. And to transport the plant with roll to the new planting spot.

I have tested this procedure, as shown on the photos below.

buisje 6 buisje 7

This procedure works well as shown on the photos above when replanting a lettuce plant. Empty toilet paper rolls are useful for this. Using this method, one can put many plants into rolls. And then replant all plants. This may take less time than each time putting the leaves of a plant into the replanting tube.


C10) Replanting into a flower pot

It can happen that you can’t put the plant (that is in the replanting tube) in a planting hole right away. Then you can put this plant from the replanting tube into a plastic flower pot. And replant it later from the flower pot into the garden soil.

Below a description.


Replanting tube 6 cm


  • On this photo you see a replanting tube (diameter 6 centimeter) with plant in it. And an empty plastic flower pot.


  • “Blow” the plant out of the tube into the flower pot.
  • The root ball is 1 to 2 cm (about 0.5 inch) higher than the upper edge of the flower pot.


  • Use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.


  • On this photo a replanted kohlrabi plant with root ball in the flower pot. This flower pot has a thin wall and bottom. Before taking out the plant with root ball, you can press on the bottom of the flower pot. And then take the plant with root ball out of the flower pot.


Replanting tube 4 cm


  • On this photo a repanting tube (diameter 4 centimeter) with a plant in it. And an empty plastic flower pot with insert and strip.


  • “Blow” the plant out of the tube into the flower pot.
  • Here the top of the root ball is somewhat lower than the upper edge of the flower pot.


  • Use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.


  • On this photo a small endive plant in a small flower pot.
  • When neded, put some more moist garden earth in the flower pot.
  • Then use fingers to press on the moist earth in the flower pot.
  • This flower pot has an insert and a strip. Before replanting take the insert out of the flower pot. Lift the strip a few millimeter (1/4 inch) and release to loosen the root ball from the insert. Then you can take the plant at the root ball and replant it.


D)# Making (wide tubes)

D1) Needed

buis 1

  • Thin plastic (PVC) tube, about 6 cm (2 1/4 inch) outer diameter, length about 1 meter (for 2 tubes). Price (in The Netherlands) about € 6.00 for 2 meters of tube.
  • Plastic end cap (or other well fitting pieces) to make a hermetic seal at one end of the tube. Dutch price is about € 4,50 for 2 parts.
  • Plastic hose,  about 12 mm (0.5 inch) outer diameter. Length about 30 cm, 12 inch. This hose costs about €1,25 per meter.


Remark 1: sidewall thickness of tubes

When replanting “bigger” little plants you better use a plastic tube with a thin sidewall.

buis 11

Advantages of this “thin sidewall” tube:

  • Inner room is big, so there is much space for the plant when it is in the tube.
  • The wall of the tube is thin (1.5 mm, 0.06 inch) so it is easy to push the tube into the garden soil.
  • After replanting there is a narrow slit between planting hole and root ball (only about 1.5 mm, 0.06 inch). When spraying water, garden soil will fill this slit. Then the plant will stand firm in the soil and will grow easily.
  • This type of tube is used for rain water drain. So easy obtainable in a DIY shop.


When using a smaller tube with thick sidewall:

buis 50 mm dikwandig

On this photo you see a 50 mm (2 inch) tube with thick side wall of 3 mm (0.12 inch).

This tube is less functional; less space for the plant, harder to push into the garden soil, wider split between new plant hole and root ball (much earth to flush in).


Remark 2: pipe end cap.

In Dutch DIY shops you can’t buy 60 mm pvc end caps. So I used 2 “fitting pieces” to make a hermetic seal in the replanting tube.

It is much easier to use a well fitting pipe end cap. Probably you can buy one on the internet.

On this photo there is and end cap on each tube (60 millimter diameter).

  • On the replanting tube there is an end cap, so you can blow out the root ball.
  • Thanks to the end cap on each tube, you don’t hurt your hand when pushing the tube into the garden soil.

  • The plant hole tube has a round hole at the side, a few centimeters (1 to 2 inch) below the pipe end cap. To let air pass when pushing the tube into the soil or when tapping against the tube to remove the garden soil.


D2) Mounting the parts (wide tubes)

buis 2 buis 3

These parts fit well.


Use a hack saw to make 2 tubes of about 50 cm (0.5 meter, 1.7 ft) length.

buis 4

Drill a hole in the side wall of one tube, the replanting tube. Diameter of this hole is about 10 mm, 0.4 inch). The hole is about 6 cm (2.5 inch) from one end of the tube.

buis 5

buis 6

buis 7

Put the plastic hose in this hole. “Fold the hose” and put it into the hole. Then “unfold the hose” in the tube using a wooden stick or so.

buis 8 buis 9

Put the “hermetic end cap” on one end of the replanting tube, near the small hose. The “end cap” should not pinch off or hinder the green plastic hose.

When needed, you can apply plastic tape to improve the “fit”.

maakbuis 5

A “plant hole tube” and a “replanting tube”, ready for use.  You can put an “indication” on one of the tubes, for example white stripes. This can overcome using the wrong tube during use.

buis 10

Put 2 or 3 rubber bands on each tube. When you put them next to each other, they will not shift easily during use.

The rubber bands determine how deep the tubes are pushed into the garden soil. By shifting the bands you can replant higher, deeper or at the same depth as the plant grew before replanting.


D3) Piece of garden hose over sharp edge

You can put a well fitting end cap at each tube. So you don’t feel the sharp edge of the tube when pushing it into the garden soil. When you don’t have end caps, you can mount a piece of garden hose over the edge.


You can put a piece of garden hose over the sharp edge of each tube. So pushing a tube into the garden soil dows not hurt anymore to your hand.

Below a description



  • Use a piece of garden hose. Length is some more than the periphery of the tube.
  • Cut the hose in the longitudinal direction.


  • Put the hose over the sharp edge. A small part of the hose “is double”.
  • Push some (same size) well fitting plastic flower pots in the tube. These pots fix the garden hose over the edge of the tube.
  • During pushing in the flower pots, the hose can move a little. When needed, remove the flower pots, correct the hose and push the flower pots in again.


  • Lay the tube on the floor or on a flat table.
  • Use a drill of about 3.5 millimeter (1/7 inch) to make a hole through the overlapping pieces of hose and the tube.


  • Push a bolt with washer (3 millimeter) through the drilled hole.


  • Turn the bolt loose a little (c.c.w). This is to release the flower pots.
  • Remove all “loose” flower pots.
  • In these pots there is no bolt through the wall.


  • A “fixed” flower pot has a bolt through the side wall.
  • Push on the side wall (make a dent) to release the flower pot(s) from the bolt.
  • Remove the flower pot(s).


  • Bolt in again through the inner parts of the hose.
  • Put a washer on.
  • Put a nut on the bolt and fasten.



  • Use a sharp knife to cut the sharp edges of the hose.
  • On this fhoto indicated with yellow arrows.

The tubes are eady for use now.



When you put a well fitting pipe end cap over the edge of the tube, there is no sharp edge. So covering with a a piece of hose is not needed. Probably you can buy a well fitting end cap on the internet.

Each tube on this photo has an end cap.


Below there are some tips when using an end cap.

  • Use a piece of sand paper to remove sharp edges or flakes from the end cap.
  • Put the end cap on the tube to find out if it fits well.

  • When there is a loose fit, you can put some adhesive tape on the tube to get a better fit.

  • Drill an air opening in the tube, a few centimeters (1 to 2 inch) below the end cap. So garden earth easily goes in and out of the tube.


E)# Making (narrow, small, thin) tubes

In chapter C6), there is much info about the small tubes.


F)# Final conclusion

  • This procedure works well for replanting small plants.
  • You can put the “replanting tube” about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inch) in the moist garden soil. A root ball of this size has a good shape and will seal the tube. During blowing out, the whole root ball will be pushed outside.
  • The minimal usable size of a root ball is about 5 centimeters (2 inch) high. A root ball higher than 10 centimeters (4 inch) will be stuck in the tube and cannot be blown out.


  • Watering the plants and the garden soil before replanting and dipping the open end end of the replanting tube in water (about 10 cm, 4 inch) eases pushing in the soil and unloading the plant.
  • At the design of 2017 (pushing out using an inner tube) you can use larger tubes, probably up to 10 centimeters (4 inch) diameter. With this tube you can replant big (bigger) plants with large root balls. Pushing out a root ball is much easier than blowing out a root ball.
  • You can decide to make only 1 tube, the replanting tube. Use this tube to make all needed planting holes in the garden soil. After making a planting hole, tap against the tube to drop the garden earth. Then use the same tube to replant all plants.
Posted in cabbage | 2 Comments

40) Info on a seed package

In the Dutch version of this tip, there is information about the text on Dutch seed package. It contains lot number, production year and best before date, or expiration date.

On the internet there is much info about seed package information “outside the Netherlands”. On that package there is often a “Packed for” year and a “Sell by” date.


A)# Witloof (Chicory) seed, information and test.

witlofzaad 3

In may 2014 I bought these 4 packages of chicory seeds in 3 different garden shops.

witlofzaad 4x

I identified the packages with a blue pen (1,2,3 or 4). When you click on the narrow photo above,  you see the packages screen wide. On each package there is an expiration date or year (“BRUIKBAAR TOT” or “THT”) of 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018.


Germination test

Seeds from each package have been used in the following germination test.

witlofzaad 5On this photo you see  the results of germinating chicory seeds on moist toilet paper. Number  1,2,3,4 at the plastic box indicate the package numbers.  At nrs 1 and 2 there is very little germination. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show 100 % germination.

witlofzaad 6

On this photo you see  the results of germinating chicory in moist garden soil. Seeds have been put in small sowing holes and were covered with a thin layer of dry garden soil.

Again there is very little or no germination at seeds nrs 1 and 2. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show more than 90 % of germination.


witlofzaad 7 Chicory seeds of nrs 1,2,3 and 4, sown in sandy garden soil (in my backyard garden).  Seeds were covered with garden soil and little plastic flower pots.

witlofzaad 8

Chicory plants in the garden soil after germination. From left to right chicory seeds of nrs 1,2,3 and 4.

Again there is very little germination at seeds nrs 1 and 2. Seeds nrs 3 and 4 show much germination.


B)# Conclusions

  • Expiration data are not always true or real.
  • When you doubt about germination, you better test the seed in a tray with moist toilet paper or moist garden earth.
  • Or sow about 10 seeds in a row in your garden soil and determine how many seeds germinate.


Complainting in the shop or at the supplier about bad germinating seeds will not be successfull, I think. The shopkeeper or supplier will mention the “Packed for” year and/or “Sell by” date. Or say that bad germination is due to the bad weather or your garden soil.

Little chance that the supplier or shopkeeper will report that the storage at his company was not good. And that he or she will give or send you new seeds for free.


C)# Germination test


This photo shows the results of a germination test for (FLTR) egg plant, winter carrot, onion and summer carrot (2 brands) on moist toilet paper. Seeds have been germinating for 6 days at about 68 F (20 C).

Posted in seeds | 3 Comments

39) Flower pots with bean stakes (in a small garden)

wigwam schooltuintje 25 juli


When you have a big garden, you can put bean stakes in the garden soil.

In a small garden there is not much fertile garden soil. Or in the garden there are many flagstones or paving stones. When you want to grow stake beans in a small garden, try big flower pots with stakes.

I got this idea in early 2014. And then I thought, someone else must have tried this before. With “Google” I found that Heidi from Northern California (U.S.A.) made a similar construction. She reported about it in March 2013. The photos and description of Heidi’s “building” can be found    here   .


First trial in 2014

In 2014, I have made 2 bean teepees. One construction has been put in the backyard garden of my neighbour.  And the other one at the play ground of a primary school. My neighbour and the school teachers have done the watering of the plants.

The flower pots were filled with a mixture of sandy garden soil and compost (1 : 1). During growth of the plants, this mixture has been (rather) dry or very moist. This is due to “forgotten to water” or “pouring rain for several days”.

But still many beans have been harvested at the plants.


Results in 2015

To improve the growing of the bean plants in 2015, the flower pots have been filled with pure (home made) compost. So no mixture of compost/garden earth.


A test with stake beans in various soil mixtures showed: the more compost in the flower pots, the bigger the roots of the plants. The photo above shows the roots of 4 bean plants. The plant at the left side grew in pure garden sand, the right one in pure compost. The 2 plants in the center grew in a poor and in a richer garden sand/compost mixture.

The same test showed: the more compost in the flower pot, the faster a bean plant grows.

bonenwigwam 1

In 2015 there is a bean teepee in my backyard garden. This photo has been made at June 22, 2015.

bonenwigwam 2

To prevent the soil in the flower pots from soaking due to heavy showers, there is corrugated plate on each pot.

  • Corrugated plate is cheap and it is easy to make a watertight roof.
  • Corrugated plate provides air openings. So air can easily pass into the compost in the flower pots.
  • Use opaque plate: no extra warming and drying out of compost in the flower pots.
  • When using transparent plate, there is more warming and drying out of the compost in the flower pots. More water to be poured in and (maybe) faster growing bean plants.

At the back side, the corrugated plate is not over the edge of the pot. The stems of the bean plants are led through a narrow “D-shaped” opening there. This opening is small, so little rain water will flow through. At that side there is a piece of plastic hose over the plate, to overcome damage of the stems of the plants.

At the front there is a “little door”. It is opened to pour water in the flower pot. On the plate there is a piece of brick to keep the door closed and to keep the plate on the pot during windy weather.

bonenwigwam 3

Once a day, 2 coffee cups filled with water are poured on the compost in the flower pot (open door, pour water, close door).

These improvements (compost, corrugated plate and everyday watering) must help to keep the compost in the pots at a good humidity and to have the bean plants grow well.

   bonenwigwam 4

On this photo you see the corrugated plate:

  • A rectangular plate.
  • A piece of plastic garden hose has been cut in the longitudinal direction and has been put over one edge of the plate (to prevent damaging of the plant stems).
  • This piece of hose has been fixed using 2 (black) tie-wraps.
  • At the other side of the rectangular plate there is a “door”. It has been fixed using (red) tie-wraps. The door can be opened or closed.


Below a description of my teepee construction.

A)# Construction (from top to bottom)


In the construction there are 4 bamboo sticks of about 9 ft (270 cm) long. Two tie wraps (10 inch, 25 cm long) hold the sticks together near the top.


Each stake “stands” slanting against a big flower pot with soil mixture in it. The flower pot is about 12 inch (30 cm) high and has a top diameter of about 12 inch (30 cm). The stake is fixed to the edge of the flower pot with plastic plates and a tie wrap.

In the flower pot there is a mixture of compost and garden soil. This is a mixture that does not dry up so fast and in which beans grow well.


The flower pot may stand on bricks (or paving stones or flagstones). The lower end of the stake also touches the bricks (or paving stones or flagstones). With this set-up, the whole construction will not be blown down so easy at stormy wind.

The stake is outside the flower pot. When the stake is in the soil in the pot, the lower part of the stake will rot. Outside the pot the stake will not rot so fast.

And the stake is above the bean plants in the pot. The growing bean plants will easily “find the stake” to climb along.


B)# Building up

Below there is a description of the building up of the whole.


In the construction, the bean stakes are used with the thick side down and the thin side up.

Lay all  stakes next to each other on the ground, all with the thin side in the same direction. Put a rubber band around all stakes, about 1.5 ft (45 cm) from each top side. Fix the elastic band using a loop and 1 or 2 tie wraps in the loop, as shown on the photo above. This makes releasing the rubber band easily.


Fill each flower pot with the soil mixture. Then put all 4 flower pots at the right position on the soil or stones. At each flower pot the plates and tie wrap are positioned “away from the center of the 4 pots”.  See photo above.



Put the 4 stakes (with elastic band near the top) “steep”, so almost vertical, on the soil near the flower pots.


At each pot, lift the stake and put the stake through the loop of the tie wrap. After this action, the stake is loose in the loop of the tie wrap. See photo above.



Stand on a step ladder. Fix the stakes near the top with 1 or 2 tie wraps.


At each flower pot, tighten the tie wrap to fix the stake to the edge of the flower pot.

Then spray some cold tap water on the soil in the flower pots. When water has dropped, you can put bean plants in each pot (or sow bean seeds in).


This photo shows the construction when built up.


C)# Sowing beans or planting bean plants.



The “bean tipi” has been put in the garden of my neighbour. At May 2, many seeds of French beans have been put on moist kitchen paper. From May 9 on, bean plants were big enough to plant out.

The photos above show 2 flower pots with bean plants at May 15.


  • Each pot is 10 inch wide and 11 inch high. Contents of each pot is about 10 liters. In each pot 7 to 10 bean plants have been planted into the mixture.
  • Don’t know how much watering is needed. Time will tell.



On June 26 2014, plants have grown.



On July 12, bean plants are big and…

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….. many beans are big enough to harvest.


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This teepee is at a primary school in my town. Photo of Juli 25, 2014.


And on this photo you see big beans hanging at the same bean plants at Juli 25,  2014.


D)# Making

The small white plastic plates are not for sale. So you have to make them yourselves as described below. And you can read how to fix the tie wrap and the plates to the edge of a flower pot.

D1) Making plates


Each stake is fixed to a flower pot using 3 mounting plates and 1 tie wrap. These mounting plates are not for sale. You have to make them.

The broad plates are about 2 inch (5 cm) long, 1 1/4 inch (3 cm) wide and 5 or 8 millimeter thick. The narrow plate is about 1/2 inch (1,2 cm) wide.

In each plate there a 2 holes (5 mm) drilled. All drilled holes are on the same positions on the plates. Distance between holes is about 0,8 to 1 inch (20 to 25 millimeter). This matches to the size of the lower end of a bone stake.


You can saw plates from thick or thin plastic cutting board, 5 to 8 millimeters (1/5 to 1/3 inch) thick.


Before sawing, draw the outlines (-) and the positions of the holes(*) on a cutting board.


Saw the board in 3 pieces. Drill the holes. Then saw the plates from the pieces.

Use sand paper to remove the plastic flakes.


D2) Fixing plates to the edge of a flower pot


Push a thick broad plate under the edge of a pot.


Drill 2 holes (of 5 millimter) in the edge of the pot, at the same position as the holes in the plate.


Put a narrow plate on the broad plate. Run a tie wrap through the holes of 2 plates and the flower pot, from outside to inside.


At the inside, put the tie wrap through one hole of a (thick or thin) broad plate.


At the inside turn the plate and put the tie wrap through the other hole in the plate and through the other hole in the flower pot.


At the outside turn the narrow plate and put the tie wrap through the other hole of the narrow plate.


Make a “loop” in the tie wrap. Then put the end of the tie wrap in the hole of the tie wrap, just over the 1th or 2nd tooth. The tie wrap will not get loose anymore, but it can be tightened later.




  • The stake fits well in the loose “loop” of the tie wrap.


  • After tightening the tie wrap, the stake is well fixed to the edge of the flower pot.
  • Thanks to the narrow plate, the stake can tilt a little. The edge of the pot is not an obstacle during this tilting.
  • The loop in this tie wrap (photo above) pushes the top of the stake a little to the left (\).


  • The loop in this tie wrap (photo above) pushes the top of the stake a little to the right (/).
  • This above mentioned stake direction (/ or \) has no influence on the construction. The lower end of each stake is in one corner (of the square, formed by the 4 flower pots). The upper ends of all stakes is above in the center of the construction. So each stake is pushed in the desired direction.


  • At the flower pot on the photo above (with a thin rectangular edge _|), two broad plates have been used, no narrow plate. The edge of the flower pot is bent inside in the construction. This is a test to find out if this edge breaks sooner.
  • When the edge of a flower pot breaks after some time, cut the tie wrap. Then fix the plates and a new tie wrap at another, undamaged position on the edge of the pot.
  • You can fix 3 pieces of cable or rope to the upper side of the construction. And fix the other ends to high positions in the garden. This makes the construction “storm proof.

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  • During very dry weather you can put a flower pot dish underneath each flower pot.

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  • At rainy weather, or when too much water has been added, you can remove the dishes. When you have “drainable dishes” you can drain the water when needed.

The drainable flower pot dish as shown on the photo is described in tip    2) Simple “tools” and tips   at nr 63.

Posted in Beans | 2 Comments

38) Sowing groups of seeds at fixed distances

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When you want to sow individual plants in a row at fixed distances you can sow 3 or 4 seeds per sowing spot. When sowing a few seeds per spot, you will expect that at least one seed will germinate and one plant will grow there. When 2, 3 or 4 plants are growing per sowing spot, you thin out later; at each spot you pull out small plants until one plant remains. This procedure works well at big or “easy to grab” seeds.

At small, dark, or hardly visible seeds this is much harder to do. Those seeds are hard to pick and lay on the soil. Or you can not clearly see where seeds have fallen on the soil. For example seeds of onion, chicory (witloof) or winter carrot.


For sale (on the market)

You can find many “seeding tools” on the Internet. Below a short list. For some tools there is a Youtube instruction video or test video. Some remarks of me added.

1.    Transparent plastic tube, push button at the top, seed outlet at the bottom. In the tube there is a round plastic pen with groove. When pushing the button, seed outlet changes from closed to narrow or wide opening to let seeds fall through. For example    Rapiclip Mini-Seedmaster   or      Magic seeder     or  Super seeder   .

Two Youtube video’s:      Parsley Seedmaster    en     Phacelia Magic

2.    Small plastic box with one small seed outlet. “Just fill tap and go”.  This tool: Dial seed sower

Three Youtube videos:     Flower seed    (at 5 min + 40 sec),  Salt shaker video    (at 0 min + 53 sec)  en     How to plant tomatoes     (at 1 min en 4 sec)

3.    Plastic V-shaped vibrating seeder. Small shovel fitted with a distribution device for sowing seeds without touching them. Turning the wheel makes the shovel vibrate and transport the seeds.  For example the  Vibrating seeder .

4.    Hand-held bulb vacuum seeder with hollow needle. See   Tenax Pro Seeder   .

Two videos about this tool:    Tenax tool     and    Homemade seeder   .

In this video a review of tool 3 and 4:       Vibra or Tenax   .

5.    Homemade tool, made of pvc conduit pipe. See video:  Conduit pipe tool   .

6.    Homemade precision sower, made of a thin tube and a small hose.  See video:    tube and hose  .

7.    Other tools: saltsprinkler, folded sheet of paper or plastic box.   See video:   Salt sprinkler etc   .


Properties, characteristics of these tools:

  • Tool 1,2,3,5 and 7;  at each “action”, one or more seeds fall out of the tool. You can’t control which seed and how many seeds will fall. Now and then seeds do not fall at the desired sowing spot. The seed falls a few millimeters or more from the destination spot.
  • Using tool nr 4 or 6, one seed is picked up each time. You can choose which seed is picked up. And where this seed is dropped. Now and then picking up the seed is less controlled due to a small “vacuum leak”. And sometimes seed drops too early.
  • More sowing tools such as this    Vibro Hand Seeder  , also see this   hand seeder video   .  What about this small plastic gutter with sowing holes:    gutter video    .


Sjef’s design

Using the shift fall tray with 1 fall tube, (see tip 34), you can drop seeds. Each seed falls through the fall tube onto the desired sowing spot. When you sow 2 or 3 seeds at 1 spot, plants will grow too close to each other. At thinning out, there is a risk of pulling all plants out. Or that the remaining plant is loose in the soil.

When using a shift fall tray with 3 fall tubes, this problem does not exist. You can choose which seed will fall at what sowing spot (accuracy +-  6 mm).

This sowing procedure is suitable for sowing carrots, onions, chicory or leek.


A)# Shift fall tray with 3 “special” fall tubes

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In the bottom of this tray there are 3 fall holes to drop seeds. This tray is about 2 inch (5 cm) wide, so you can easily hold it in one hand. Because of this, 3 fall holes in 1 row do not fit. That’s why the outer holes are closer to the center of the tray than the middle hole.

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The “fall tubes” have been made out of empty silicone nozzles (as used at sealant tubes). Over each tube there is a short piece of plastic tube (5/8 inch electricity conduit).

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Each plastic tube has a certain length. The end of this tube is about 1/5 inch (5 mm) longer than the silicon nozzle. Because of this the nozzles keep open during sowing on moist garden soil.

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This photo shows the fall tubes after sowing on moist garden soil. There is (rather much) moist soil on the plastic tubes, but the nozzles are still open.

When you watch the tubes on these photos, you can see that there are rubber bands around the nozzles. The rubber bands “hold” the plastic tubes so they don’t drop easily. And thanks to the rubber band there is a “fixed” space between the nozzle and the plastic tube. More info about this at D1) Tray.


B)# Nylon cord with distance marks


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Very useful at sowing is a long nylon string of about 2 mm thick. It has knots at fixed distances, for example each 4 inch (10 cm). At each end of this string there is a loop.

Before sowing, fix the string over the garden soil; Put the loop at one side of the string over a bamboo stick. Put a piece of rubber band through the other loop of the string. Then put the rubber band over another bamboo stick, in a way that the string is pulled taut.

More info about this string at chapter D2) Nylon string with knots.   Or look at tip     2) Simple tools and tips    nr 64.


C)# Sowing

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  • During sowing, hold the tray with one hand.
  • Again and again put the fall tubes “carefully” on the garden soil near a knot in the string. “Carefully” means “do not push the tubes into the soil”.
  • At each position, use one finger to shove 3 times one seed towards the holes in the bottom. Drop 1 seed in each fall hole.
  • Then lift the tray and put it near the next sowing spot. At that position, sow 3 seeds.
  • Continue until you have sown enough.

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On the photos above you see round prints of the 3 plastic tubes in moist garden soil. Inside each print there is a onion seed, marked with a yellow circle.

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After sowing strew a layer of moist garden sand on the seeds.

To “find”moist garden sand at an “empty” place in your garden; shove aside the dry top layer of the sand. Below it there is moist garden sand.

When using a plastic flower pot, you can strew a uniform layer of sand on the seeds.

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Cover the furrow with a cloth (or board or plastic corrugated plate). Then the soil does not dry so fast. And during heavy shower, seeds are not washed away. Put bricks or so on the coverage to prevent it from blowing away.


C1) Sowing a mixture (onion and summer carrot)

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Put some carrot seeds and onion seeds in the tray.

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Sowing results in a thin layer of silver sand. Each time (alternately) 3 onion seeds and 3 carrot seeds have been sown. As planned. Klick on the photo for wide view.

You can sow alternately 3 summer carrots and 3 onions in one furrow. And thin out the onion plants later (and let the carrots grow). In this way you can grow 3 summer carrots, 1 onion, 3 carrots etcetera.


C2) Sowing tiny seeds using this tray

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And here the Snapdragon seeds on silver sand. In each circle 1 seed. Click for wide screen view.


Conclusion:  Using this tool, one can also sow a mixture of seeds or tiny seeds.


D)# Making

This tray has been invented by myself. At this tool you determine yourself:

  • which seed is sown,
  • when that seed is sown,
  • where this seed is sown. Each seed drops within a 5/8 inch circle on the sowing soil.

Making a “shift fall tray” with 3 tubes is similar to making a tray with 1 tube, as described in tip 33. Below there are some more photos and tekst. And a description of the nylon string.


D1) Tray

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Use a plastic box, for example a lunch box. Cut a plastic plate from the side of the box. Make 3 round holes in the plastic plate.

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  • Drill small holes (2 mm) in the 4 corners of the plate and in the bottom of the tray.
  • Fix the plate to the bottom of the tray. Put 4 bolts and nuts (about 2 mm diameter) through the 4 small holes.
  • Drill 3 small “fall holes” in the bottom of the tray. Drill each fall hole in the center of a big hole.
  • Use a 4.5 mm drill to make the 3 “fall holes” larger (wider).


  • Remove the plate from the bottom again.
  • Put the nozzles through the holes in the plate.
  • Use the 4 bolts and nuts to fix the plate with nozzles to the bottom of the tray.
  • Put a rubber band over each nozzle. Thanks to this rubber band, there is a fixed space between nozzle and plastic tube. And the tubes do not fall from the nozzles that easy.

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On this photo a close up of the rubber bands.

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Saw short plastic tubes from 5/8 inch electricity conduit. Each plastic tube must have a good length. The end of each tube is about 1/5 inch (5 mm) longer than the silicon nozzle.


D2) Nylon string with knots

General description.

  • The nylon string is about 2 mm thick. Price is about € 0,10 per meter. Each knot makes the string 0.5 inch (1,2 cm) shorter. Take this into account when knotting.
  • When making a string of 15 ft (4.5 meter) with a knot each 4 inch (10 cm) you start with a string of 17 ft (5.2 meter). With 2 loops starting length is about 19 ft (5.8 meter).
  • Make the first knot in the middle of the string. Then make knots towards one end of the string. And then make knots from the middle to the other end of the string. In this way the maximal length you have to handle is half the original length.
  • When sowing at 2 inch (5 cm) distance you can also use this string with 4 inch (10 cm) marks. Sow near each knot and half way between 2 knots.
Posted in carrots, chicory, leek, onions, witloof | 3 Comments

37) Sowing small seeds individually with fixed distances

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In this tip:

  • Introduction
  • A)# Sowing dry seeds
  • B)# Sowing germinated seeds
  • C)# Sowing 1 or 2 seeds
  • D)# Needed for sowing
  • E)# Mixing small seeds with dry sand



Some vegetables (or flowers) have small seeds. Very often these seeds are sown one by one in a row, for example summer carrots or leeks. It is difficult to sow again and again one seed at each sowing spot. Often, many seeds falls on the same sowing spot. Or you forget to sow at a spot. And sowing all seeds at fixed distances is not easy either.

I did some tests when sowing summer carrots in a tray with sowing soil, see tip   20) Early summer carrots (sowing indoors, growing outdoors)  . Then I found out how to sow 1 seed per sowing spot at fixed distances. Or 2 seeds per sowing spot. And I made some extra simple tools to do this.

These tools are:

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  • Shift fall tray with one “fall tube”. The “fall tube” has been made out of an empty silicone nozzle (as used at sealant tubes). There is an elastic band around the tube (see tip 20).

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  • Round sowing stick with elastic band around it (see tip 20).

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  • Sink mat (see tip 20) or a placemat with holes or a “seed and plant spacing rule”. Such a rule is a slat with holes in it at fixed distances.

A rule is to be sold   here     (found at the internet). This rule is rather expensive and the holes in it are too small. You can make a rule with round holes of 9 mm yourself. Further in this tip there is a description.


You can sow “dry” seeds that come right out of the seed bag. Or you can sow “germinated” seeds. These seeds lay on moist toilet paper. Seeds germinate and each seed gets a small root. Germinated seeds can be picked up and laid on the garden soil using tweezers.

In this tip both ways of sowing are described.


A)# Sowing dry seeds

A1) Sowing dry seeds in a small furrow

Here is a description of sowing “dry” seeds in a small furrow. In chapter A2) you can read how to sow on a small plant bed.

There are photos of sowing summer carrots or leek.

The used tools:  “shift fall tray”, sowing stick, piece of sink mat or a self made rule.

This method is also good for sowing other vegetables or flowers with small seeds. When you want to sow seeds one by one in a row. For example radish.

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Make a flat sowing trench in the garden soil. Spray cold tap water on the soil. Let the water disappear in the garden soil.

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Lay a piece of sink mat or a sowing rule in the furrow. A sink mat is heavy and will not “move” during next steps. But a sowing rule can shift. Use iron pins in the small holes to fix the rule to the garden soil. On the middle photo there is a fixing pin at the right side of the photo.

Put the sowing stick in the holes of the mat or the ruler to make sowing holes in the soil. This stick has a little bevelling. This bevelling makes the seeds “roll” to the middle of the bottom of a sowing hole. Depth of the sowing holes is 5 to 8 millimeters (1/4 to 1/3 inch).

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Lay the mat or the ruler in the furrow. Put dry seeds in the shift fall tray (with one tube and a rubber band). Again and again shove one seed to the hole in the tray. Let the seed fall through the tube and the mat hole (or ruler hole) into a sowing hole. On the top photo and the middle photo, carrots are sown. On the lower photo, leek seeds.

Next step: remove the mat or rule from the garden soil.

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On these photos you see sowing holes with 1 seed in. On the top photo and middle photo you see dry carrot seeds. On the lower photo leek seeds.

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After sowing seeds, strew (sprinkle, scatter) a thin layer of moist garden sand on the seeds.

To “find” moist garden sand at an empty place in your garden; shove aside the dry top layer of sand. Below it, there is moist garden sand.

When using a plastic flower pot with holes in the bottom, you can easily strew a uniform layer of moist sand.

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Then cover the furrow with a cloth (or board or plastic corrugated plate). Then the soil does not dry so fast. An during heavy shower, seeds are not washed away. Put bricks or so on the coverage to prevent it from blowing away.


A2) Sowing dry seeds on a small plant bed

Sowing on a small plant bed is just as good as (or even better then) sowing in a row in a small furrow. You can sow on a new plant bed a few times a year. For example when sowing summer-, autumn- or winter leek. Or cauliflower, broccoli or kohlrabi. Or each month a new bed of summer carrots. The planting beds can be made next to each other.

Below a step by step description with photos about sowing summer carrots. You can sow leeks or cabbages in the same way.




  • Loosen a piece of garden soil using a fork or a garden scoop.
  • When desired, mix compost or manure or ….. through the garden soil.


  • Use a rake to flatten the soil again.


  • Lay a frame of wooden laths on the soil. See tip 2 nr 69 how to make this frame.


  • Use a wooden lath to shove garden earth against the outer sides of the frame.
  • Press on this garden earth to form a little dam around the plant bed.


  • Use a watering can with fine sprinkler head.
  • Water the soil of the planting bed.
  • Hold the sprinkler head near the soil during watering. In this way the soil is watered “softly”. After watering the soil is still loose. That’s better for the carrot plants.


  • Let the water drop in the garden soil.
  • Lay a placemat with holes on the soil. This placemat has sowing holes with 3 centimeter (1.2 inch) distance between the holes. More info about this placemat in tip 2, nr 70.
  • Put fixing pens in small holes near the corners of the placemat to fix it. Further in this tip more info about these fixing pens.
  • Use a round sowing stick to make sowing holes in the soil.
  • Make a sowing hole under each hole in the place mat.


  • Drop 2 (or 3) seeds in each sowing hole. That goes well when using a shift fall tray. Or use a (white plastic) tray and tweezers.
  • After sowing, remove the placemat.



  • On the photo above you see that there are 2 carrot seeds in each sowing hole.


  • Strew moist garden soil on the plant bed. You can use a plastic flower pot with holes in the bottom to do that.


  • Carefully remove the frame. Make sure that the dam around the planting bed stays intact during removal of the frame.


  • Lay a wooden stepping board (or something like that) over the planting bed. The garden soil with seeds will not dry out so easily then. And during a heavy shower, the seeds will not flow away.
  • Remove the wooden board when first plants are visible.


  • Thin out when the plants are a few centimeters (about 1 inch) high. You can pull plants out of the soil. Ore use scissors to cut them just above the surface of the soil.


  • Carrot plants have been thinned out. At each sowing spot, there is one little carrot plant growing (or no plant when no one has cropped up). Distance between the plants is 3 centimeters (1.2 inch).


  • Right after thinning, spray water on the plants.


  • Let the carrots plants grow big. On this photo you see 4 little plant beds with summer carrots next to each other.



This is the harvest of one plantbed, about 7 weeks after sowing. Sowing in 63 sowing holes gives 56 summer carrots. Weight without foliage is 440 grams. The carrots are undamaged, no attack by the carrot fly. There are many small carrots, so the plants could have grown a longer time before harvesting.


B)# Sowing germinated seeds

You can sow germinated seeds in a small furrow or in a small plant bed. The preparations are similar to those when sowing dry seeds. After making sowing holes, you remove the mat or the ruler or the placemat. And you lay the germinated seeds in the sowing holes.

B1) Sowing germinated seeds in a small furrow

Below there is a description with photos of sowing germinated seeds in a shallow furrow. The used tools: a sink mat or a self made rule, a sowing stick and tweezers.

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Make a flat sowing trench in the garden soil. Spray cold tap water on the soil. Let the water disappear in the garden soil.

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Lay a piece of sink mat or a sowing rule in the furrow. A sink mat is heavy and will not “move” during next steps. But a sowing rule can shift. Use iron pins in the small holes to fix the rule to the garden soil. On the middle photo there is a fixing pin at the left side of the photo.

Put the sowing stick in the holes of the mat or the ruler to make sowing holes in the soil. This stick has a no bevelling. This makes the bottom of a sowing hole wider. So there is more place for the seed with root. Depth of the sowing holes is 5 to 8 millimeters (1/4 to 1/3 inch).

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After making the sowing holes in the soil, remove the mat or the rule. On the photos above you see “empty” sowing holes.