Hi, I'm Jelle
Yep, that's me 🙂 . (And it's pronounced "Yell-uh" if you were wondering.)
I'm a designer and I run my own company. I play guitar and like sports. And I have an awesome vegetable garden.
Almost everyone who hears that last part laughs.
"You? A vegetable garden? What's that about?"
I get it. Because when you think of growing veg, you think of hours of weeding, digging, and watering. Messy wilted lettuce and bug-eaten beans. Hard work and not a lot to show for it.
Yeah, I'm not into that. I get tired just thinking about it.
My vegetable garden is different.
My garden is nothing like that. It's easy to manage and fun to do. It takes less time for me to take care of my plants than it does to wash the dishes.
And if you're thinking "Well, Jelle, you must be some kind of plant whisperer" - forget it. No green thumbs here. Before I started growing plants this way, I couldn't even keep a houseplant alive.
The best proof that Planty Gardening works is me. If I can grow my own food, so can you.
One Handy Rule
So, what I'm actually good at is making things easy.
I'm a big fan of the 80/20 rule: if you master the basics well, you can get 80% success with 20% of the effort. That's how I learned to play guitar, draw, and design.
And the same goes for growing your own food - you get better results for less effort. If you use the right system.
How'd it all start?
I started Planty in my hometown outside of Groningen, in the Netherlands. It was 2007. I was 14. And lazy😉.
I loved plants, but a vegetable garden? Nah, too much work. I had tried it as a little kid and that experience was... not great.
But then I came across Square Foot Gardening. I thought I'd give it a try. Its founder (Mel Bartholomew) says that growing your own food can be simple. He was right.
I made my first garden beds and sowed some veggie seeds.
It worked. I was shocked it was so easy.
But when I looked around, people were still digging up their gardens like crazy. They didn't seem to know it could be so much easier.
So, I made a website. I called it The Easy Vegetable Garden (De Makkelijke Moestuin in Dutch). It laid out a simple growing system with easy steps.
Long story short: the website became a hit, the Dutch media pounced, and lots of people made their own little vegetable gardens with my step-by-step system.
Suddenly I was seen as some sort of gardening genius. But I hardly knew anything about plants, I was just having fun.
Still, it worked. My plants grew and grew. And I ate plenty straight from the garden.
Years go by
I kept sharing my experience on the website.
Of course, I made mistakes. But every year I learned more about what worked (and what didn't).
I wrote books. At first for adults and then also for kids. People are still buying them, so we keep making them. I just came out with a new one in 2021.
One thing led to the next
Readers asked me if I could send them the things I'd been writing about: special soil mix, planters, and good seeds. So I started to do that too, together with my mom, my best friend, and my brother.
But since I still don't consider myself a real gardener, you might be wondering why I'm doing this.
What do I want to do with Planty Gardening?
At first, I thought it would be fun to make a website. And I thought it was pretty cool to show that even with 0 expertise, it is possible to be good at growing.
Somebody with years of specialized training would of course have a great garden. But as a beginner, you don't expect to be able to pull it off.
But if you see a total amateur -me- kicking butt at gardening, it's easier to feel like you can do it too. Believe me, it's not out of reach.
If I can do it, you can do it.
Since 2007, this pet project has become a passion. Now, I'm a man on a mission:
I want to help as many people as possible grow their own food sucessfully in an environmentally friendly, easy way.
It's this simple: If you want to 'grow your own', I want you to help you succeed. From start to finish, seed to harvest.
So you can enjoy your very own vegetable garden, like I did.
Not just this season, but for years to come.