Sjef’s garden

I hire a big allotment garden of 100 m2 (120 sq yard) in the east of The Netherlands.

A central path and side-paths of paving stones divide the garden into 6 equal parts.

In each part I grow different plants. In part 1 potatoes, in part 2 cabbage plants, in part 3 root vegetables etc. Next year I grow each vegetable one part further. After 6 years the vegetables grow in the same parts again. This is called crop rotation. Due to crop rotation there are less ground diseases. And the garden soil is not exhausted due to “always the same plants” .

The soil in the garden consists of sand.  It is easy to work with spade, hoe or rake but plants need regular watering to grow. See photos below.

Behind my house I have also a vegetable garden of about 60 m2 (72 sq yard).


Big allotment garden, November 1, 2019

I have sowed “chicken food” (grain mix) on the empty parts in my garden soil. Now there are thin green leaves visible on those spots. So the soil is covered. Covered garden soil is better than uncovered soil. Covered garden soil cools down slower in winter and less nutrients are washed out during showers. This procedure is called “green manure”.

Left half:

In the front part there are strawberries (from my runners), leeks, lettuce plants, a rhubarb plant and winter cauliflower plants. Many leeks have been trimmed (test against miner fly).


In the middle part there are chicory (witloof) plants at the right. And a water vessel upside down (storage).

The bean plants (with brown leaves) are kept as a soil coverage.


Here you see endive plants in front. At the right side there are Brussels sprout plants and lettuce plants

And bush bean plants with dried brown leaves (left rear).


Right half:

In the front part there are curly cale plants. And transparent greenhouse tunnels in storage. To be used in December, January for early lettuce.


In the middle part there are bush beans with brown leaves (left side). A storage of iron wire netting (my cabbage cage). And plant material on the soil at the right, covering the soil.


In the rear part there are leeks, beetroots, lettuce and curled kale plants. Many leeks have been trimmed (test against miner fly).

In the corner of the rear part there are 2 compost containers, next to each other, made of square paving stones (30 centimeters, 12 inch). In the front container there is fresh plant material. In the rear container there is converted compost. More info about these containers in tip 1.


The green plastic compost container at the end of my garden is used as a tool storage (for a hoe, rake, spade etcetera).


Backyard garden, November 1, 2019

Photo of the backyard garden on November 1, 2019.

In the front area of the garden there are 2 compost containers (next to each other) made of paving stones. The right side container has fresh plant material. In the left side container there is compost. Behind the compost containers there are rows of carrots and bean plants.

Futher in the garden there are 3 rows of Chicory (witloof) plants and 2 rows of strawberry plants (my runners).

Behind the strawberry plants there is a greenhouse made of white bricks. The soil level in the greenhouse is about 2 feet below the soil level in the garden. On top of the greenhouse there can be transparent corrugated plates.

In the greenhouse there are gardening things now (laths, iron mesh etcetera).


Front garden, November 1, 2019

The front garden is towards south. On this photo a part of the front garden at November 1, 2019. With summer flower plants.

14 Responses to Sjef’s garden

  1. Jenn says:

    I like your garden. I am in Chicago, and I think it is colder here. Your tips are wonderful!!

  2. Rachel says:

    Thank you for sharing your garden photos and tips!

  3. Pingback: Welcome | sjefgardentips

  4. Oli says:

    Sjef, thanks for the informative site. If I wanted to grow Belgian endive on a large scale, would you recommend differently? I am in South Africa in the Overberg region. We have a winter rainfall (June to September) and hot dry summers ( December to February). Any further information would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Hello Oli,
    For large scale growth of Belgian Endive you better search on the internet for information. I don’t know the details. Growing the plants (with green leaves) will be about the same as in my garden. But growing white heads in the dark (after cutting the foliage) will be different. I know that on a large scale the heads grow in the dark while the roots are in big containers with running water and nutrients.
    Sorry that’s all I know about this topic.
    Good luck and greets, Sjef

  6. Oli says:

    Hi Sjef,

    Thank you for answering my comment. One more question? Would moles be a big problem for growing endive? My soil conditions would be perfect but now I do have moles. How can one work around this?

    Regards Olivier.

    • Hi Oli,
      Sorry I’m not a mole expert. In our allotment garden there are only few moles.
      I suggest to look on the internet for a solution (How to get rid of moles).
      Good luck,

  7. pivi63 says:

    Hi Sjef, I am really glad I came across your blog – so many useful tips and informations. Dank je wel

  8. Joye says:

    Hello Sjef, Thank you for a wonderful insight to your garden and tips. Very interesting and informative. I’m wondering why your tomatoes are grown in pots, in the garden.
    Kind regards, Joye

    • Hi Joyce,
      You’re welcome and thanks for the complement.
      About het tomatoes; all plants grow in the garden soil.
      Under a roof, all plants have a “watering pot”. That is the top part of a plastic flower pot.
      It eases watering the plants; water drops in the soil towards the roots near the stem.
      When pouring water on dry sand under the roof, water will not drop in the soil but it will spread over the dry sand.
      And only little water will drop near the roots.
      I have added this info to the page.

      Greets, Sjef

  9. Gary says:

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    I’m emailing you today because we just updated our article on growing orchids indoors.
    Did you know that according to the USDA 2015 Floriculture Crops Summary, orchids topped the “Potted Flowering Plants Sold for Indoor or Patio Use” category with $288 million in value? That’s a lot of flowers!

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