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, May 1, 2019


Left half:

In the front part there are big and small lettuce plants, 2 endive plants and a rhubarb plant.

I got a tray with tiny lettuce plants. I have put them in small flower pots, each pot with an insert and a strip. Plants are big enough to replant now.

There are also thin leek plants under a tunnel greenhouse. These leeks have been grown indoors in “shove trays”. Blocks of planting soil with thin leeks have been shoved in (on) the garden soil.

At the right side of the tunnel there are 3 lowered planting beds with tiny leeks.

This tunnel has special end plates; flat pieces of perspex, each with an air opening. There is curtain material at both sides of the perspex plate, fixed with screws. Two thick bamboo sticks and a half paving stone push each end plate against the tunnel.

The net curtain material has many tiny holes. The material is well air permeable; you can easily blow air through 2 layers of curtain material. Small insects, like miner flies or leek flies, can not pass this material.

At the long sides of the tunnel (at the outer side), garden earth has been shoved aggainst the tunnel. This earth closes the tunnel at the long sides.

At one long side of the tunnel there are 3 watering tubes, each with a cap. Watering the leek plants (under the tunnel) goes via a funnel and the watering tubes.

This construction makes the tunnel very airy, but still impenetrable for leaf miner flies, leek flies and other small insects.

This info is also to be found in    tip 4)   in chapter Leaf miner flie.


In the middle part there are onion plants, carrots and beetroots.

At the left side (next to the side-path) onion sets have been planted in a furrow on March 1, 2019. There is a layer of hay between the onions. The onion sets (next to the small pieces of corrugated plate) have been planted on April 3. With also hay between plants.

At the far corner (right back) there are summer carrots growing. The carrot plants in the front plant bed have been sown and replanted indoors. Later on, the plants have been shoved on/in the garden soil. See also  tip 20   .

The seeds of the other summer carrot plants have been sown on moist toilet paper. The mini carrot plants have been replanted in the garden soil in the rear plant beds.


In the rear part, there is a cabbage cage with Cauliflower plants and Broccoli plants. A cabbage cage protects the cabbage plants against the Cabbage White butterflies. They lay their eggs on the leaves of the cabbage plants. The eggs turn into caterpillors that eat much cabbage material. When using a cabbage cage this does not happen.

Right rear there is a heap of cow manure under a roof of green corrugated plate. This roof prevents the manure from leaching of nutrients during rainy weather.


Right half:

In the front part there are 3 rows of strawberry plants. Straw on the soil keeps the garden earth moist. Later on the straw also minimizes rotting of fruits. There is a storage of greenhouse tunnels. And a heap of compost originating from my own compost container.


In the middle part there are peas growing at iron wire netting (right side). At the left side there is a foil tunnel with bean plants.

Three rows of bean plants under the tunnel. And black flower pots each with small bean plants in compost. These bean plants will be put in the garden soil (outside the tunnel) after May 15.


In the rear part, potatoes have been planted in round holes of 20 centimeters (8 inch) deep, made with a bulb planter. In each hole, one potato has been laid and a thin layer of garden earth has been strewd on the potatoe. The photo shows the holes in the garden soil. The potato plant could easily grow up due to the thin layer of garden earth on the potato.

Most potatoe plants are visible now.

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 a heap of half 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, May 1, 2019

Photo of the backyard garden on May 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.


Futher in the garden there are 2 rows of strawberry plants, with straw around the plants. This straw now keeps the garden soil moist. Later on the straw also minimizes rotting of fruits.

In the garden 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 are transparent corrugated plates.

In this greenhouse there are gardening things. And trays with sweet pepper plants, zucchini or small summer flowers.

Against the green fence there is a grape bush. A row of small lettuce plants. Under the black plate there are small leeks in a lowered plant bed.


New plants

On May 1 my home grown tomato plants in trays with a layer of compost. And trays with small summer flowers (Tagetes, Salvias, Snapdragon).


Front garden, May 1, 2019

The front garden is towards south. On this photo a part of the front garden at May 1, 2019. All bulb plants have finished blooming. Bulb plants will be taken out and summer flower plants will be put in the soil after May 15.

The bamboo plant sticks in the soil prevent my neighbours cats from digging (and pooping) much in the garden soil.


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:
    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,

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