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What makes a vegetable garden a Planty Garden?

I'll take you through 10 things you shouldn't do - and a few that you definitely should - to get a fun, easy vegetable garden with great results: a real Planty Garden.

When I started back in 2008, my website got a lot of attention. In spite of the weird banner and ugly colors 😉
My very first website - yes it's in Dutch
Lots of people then did what I did: they built a garden box, tossed in some soil, and called it a Planty Garden. 

I thought that was fine. Until I got emails from people who weren't getting good results.

I couldn't understand it at first. Why did I, a 14-year-old kid, succeed and others didn't?
Jelle in zijn eerste Makkelijke Moestuin
Yup, that's me in my vegetable garden in 2008

What makes or breaks a vegetable garden?

I've learned a few things since then.

When I asked people what went wrong, it always had to do with one of these 10 things: 
  1. Using anything other than the MM-Mix.
  2. Not adding nutrients.
  3. Watering too little, or using water that's too cold or too warm.
  4. No proper drainage.
  5. Sowing too close together.
  6. Not enough sun or too much shade - sometimes from another plant.
  7. Using mismatched vegetable varieties or bad seeds.
  8. Harvesting too little, too late, or too early.
  9. Sowing in the wrong season.
  10. Pests, diseases, or bad weather: too cold, too warm, too wet, too dry.
Except for #10, you can group them under 1 heading: not following the Planty Gardening method 100%. 

What is and isn't a Planty Garden?

Now I'm really strict about what a Planty Garden is.

  • no square patches of 30x30 cm? 
  • no grid? 
  • sowing in rows?
Then it's not a Planty Garden.

Broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, or watermelon? Sorry, gotta grow those without me.

But most important is the soil mix: a Planty Garden always uses MM-Mix. 

Why is the MM-Mix so important?

I can give you a bunch of reasons: the soil mix works with all your plants, is super easy to work with, and you don't have to water nearly as much as with regular soil, potting soil, or other soil mixes.

And above all else:

With a Planty Garden, you grow a lot of vegetables in a small area. You need a soil mix that's made specifically for that. 
Planten staan in een Makkelijke Moestuinbak dicht op elkaar
Vegetables grow in close quarters in a Planty Garden
A plant draws moisture and nutrients up from the soil with its roots. If there's not enough, your is plant is forced to grow long roots to search for food. This takes a lot of energy, so the plants stay small. Big root balls, tiny plants.

The loaminess - the airiness and looseness - of the soil matters too. Plants just don't do as well in hard, compacted soil.

Since your Planty Garden box is 20 cm deep - and is crammed full of vegetables - the soil mix must be the best. Full of natural nutrients, airy, moisture-retaining, and nice to sift through your fingers. That's the MM-Mix.

No big root balls here

Your Planty Garden vegetables don't need to produce huge root balls to get the nutrients they need. Even now when I remove a huge plant, I'm still surprised to find just a small cluster of roots at the bottom.
A big tomato plant fits in one square patch
It makes sense though. In the MM-Mix, your plants have everything they need: nutrients, moisture, and air. The roots don't have to travel far to get what they need.

That's why large plants like zucchini, tomatoes, and even sunflowers only need a 30x30x20 cm patch to grow, and the roots stay neatly in their own little plot.

That's the magic of the Planty Garden. You harvest a ton from a small space, and even large plants have enough room to grow.
Even huge sunflowers has enough space

Better than other garden soil mixes?

Yes, it is. And yes, I can say that with total confidence. Here's an example. Janine sent me this photo that shows the difference between Deka potting soil and the MM-Mix:
Tomaten: links in Deka potgrond, rechts in Makkelijke Moestuinmix
Tomatoes in Deka potting soil on the left, MM-Mix on the right

Cheaper than the rest

The MM-Mix is not only better, but it's also cheaper.
Makkelijke Moestuinmix hoef je niet te vervangen, alleen maar aan te vullen
You don't have to swap out old mix: MM-Mix stays good forever
At first glance, our soil mix may seem a little pricey. But unlike others, you can leave it in your garden box year after year.

After you've harvested, you just need to add some plant food to give the mix a nutrient boost. If the volume gets low, you can top it off with some fresh mix. You'll do that 1x per year.

We make the mix from the best raw materials we can get. They're better quality and more expensive than what other companies use. That's what makes a Planty Garden so successful and why you harvest much more than gardens that use other soil. Talk about value 😉
Oogsten uit de Makkelijke Moestuin
Dinnertime harvest

Where can you get your hands on some?

There are 2 options:

  1. Order the bags in the shop and have them delivered to your door.
  2. Pick up the bags from a reseller near you in the Netherlands or Belgium. You'll find the link in the header of our Dutch site. (To go there, go first to the footer and change the language in 'Nederlands')

So? What is a real Planty Garden?

Een echte Makkelijke Moestuin, 1 maand na het inzaaien
A real Planty Garden 1 month after sowing
To get that, you need this:

  • a sturdy garden box with a clear grid that divides it into 30x30 cm square patches 
  • the MM-Mix
  • seeds that work with square patches and container sowing
You'll find everything you need in the shop:
If you stick to the Planty Garden method, you pretty much can't go wrong.

Especially if you use the app to coach you along the way.

Have fun with your real Planty Garden!

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