Sjef’s garden

I hire a big allotment garden (community 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).


At many parts in my gardens I have sowed chicken feed (mixed cereals). You see green leaves of wheat, barley, little sunflower plants and so on. In spring the plants (of wheat, barley etc) are dug under the ground. This is called green manure.

Big allotment garden, January 2, 2023

Left half:


In the front part a group of winter leeks. They were under fine mesh gauze during the last autumn. To prevent the Leaf Miner Fly from laying eggs on the plants. More info in tip 4).



In the middle part and rear part: residues of straw bean plants.


In the far rear corner two heaps of manure (each one under a transparent dome).


Right half:


Front part: 3 Curly kale plants and many small Brussels sprouts plants.



In the middle part: a water vessel and a tunnel green house in winter storage.



In the rear part: winter cauliflower plants and 2 rows of strawberry plants. Under the tunnel greenhouse there are spare strawberry plants.


In the corner of the rear part there are 2 compost containers next to each other. With plant material waste and kitchen waste (left) and compost (right). More info about these containers in tip 1.

Next to the compost containers there is a pile of stepping stones and bricks.



These are the winter Cauliflower plants.




The plastic compost container at the end of my garden is used as a tool storage. More about this tool storage in tip 42.


Backyard garden, January 2, 2023


Photo of the backyard garden on January 2, 2023. In front: thin (toppled) winter leek plants.


Some further there are 2 compost containers (made of stepping stones). In the left container there is plant material, in the right one there is compost.

Next to the containers there are 2 rows of strawberry plants.


Further in my garden a greenhouse made of white bricks. The soil level in the greenhouse is about 2 feet below the soil level in the garden. In the deep greenhouse there are sweet pepper plants.

In the greenhouse there are garden things (wooden frames, iron wire netting and so on).

At the far rear there is a vine plant growing against a frame of wooden poles and iron wire.


School garden, January 2, 2023

I coach the work in the garden of a primary school in my residence.



The school garden on January 2, 2023. With palm cabbage, small leeks and 1 Brussels Sprouts plant.


The compost containers in my school garden. In the left container is compost, in the right container is vegetable waste and fruit waste.


Front garden, January 2, 2023


The front garden is towards south. On this photo a part of the front garden on January 2, 2023. Bulbs (Narcissus, Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus…..)  have been planted in the soil. Over each group of bulbs, there is a thin layer of hay, covered with garden earth. This layer protects the bulbs against the winter cold and against cats that want to ….. in the soil. 


16 thoughts on “Sjef’s garden”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

    1. 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,

  4. 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

    1. 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

  5. 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:
    in your post here:

    You can review the article on these hot plants at:
    It might make a great addition and resource to your page.

    All The Best,

  6. I’m fascinated about your technique with tomato plants!
    Do you have specific instructions how you grow them and when are the leaves removed?

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