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, February 1, 2020

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 and winter cauliflower plants near the tunnel greenhouse .


In the middle part there are 2 greenhouse tunnels; at the left a long tunnel, at the right a short tunnel with fabric at both ends. And an “empty” tunnel, to be used later.

Under the long tunnel there are small lettuce plants in the garden soil. The tunnel greenhouse has been opened to make photos.

There are lettuce plants in the garden soil and small lettuce plants in flower pots in the garden soil.


Under the short tunnel, there are summer leek plants. At each end of this tunnel there is a perspex plate with a round hole in it and fabric over it. The closed tunnel is airy, but (miner) leek flies cannot get into the tunnel.

These leek plants have been sown on moist toilet paper. The mini leeks have been planted in the garden soil under the tunnel. At the left part, a transparent cover has been put over  the leek plants; extra protection against cold.


In the rear part there are a few Bruxelles sprouts plants. At the far corner there is old cow manure in a pit, covered by green corrugated plate. At left there is a tunnel greenhouse.

The tunnel has been opened for the photo. The summer carrots have been sown on moist toilet paper. The mini carrots have been planted in the garden soil. Over 1 part of the plants there is a transparent cover; extra protection against cold.


Right half:

In the front part there are curly cale plants.


In the middle part there are bush beans with brown leaves (left side). A storage of iron wire netting (my cabbage cage) and another water barrel. At the right half there is plant material on the soil for coverage.


In the rear part there are a few leeks.

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). More about this tool storage in tip 42.

As in experiment, the container has been put in the garden soil; depth about 15 centimeters (6 inch).


Backyard garden, February 1, 2020

Photo of the backyard garden on February 1, 2020.

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.

Our new Christmas tree is in a big bucket (with bottom holes) filled with compost and clay. (the clay was in the flower pot altready when purchasing).

The last Chicoree plants.

And 2 rows of strawberry plants.

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).


Behind the greenhouse there is a vine plant against the green concrete fence.


New plants

New leek plants at February 1. They stay indoors against a window. They are replanted under a tunnel in the garden soil at the end of February or beginning of March..


Front garden, February 1, 2020

The front garden is towards south. On this photo a part of the front garden at February 1, 2020. Bulbs (Hyacinth, Tulip, Daffodil, Crocus, Grape Hyacinth, Crocus) have been planted in the soil, covered by straw and garden soil.

First Crocus plants have flowered and the Daffodils have flower buds already.

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:

    Hey there, this is Gary from
    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!

    While updating the article, I noticed you linked to:
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    You can review the article on these hot plants at:
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    All The Best,

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