Grow Green

Mel’s Mix Soil for Square Foot Gardening

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 in Blog, Square Foot Gardening

You’ve started your raised square foot garden boxes, it’s time to fill them with Mel’s Mix soil.  It would be great if we could run to the local big box or garden center to pick up pre-made Mel’s Mix, for today we can’t, so we’ll show you how to make your own!

Remember the raised box needs only to be 6″ deep and the formula below will fill a 4′ x 4′ box.  This is the perfect mixture of nutrient dense organic matter, it will retain water and is light and airy for the roots.  Because we are adding compost matter to peat moss, you’ll find this is a weedless mixture for your square foot garden.  The 5 types of compost add a diverse amount of nutrients and because compost heats up in the process of composting, weed seed are killed off and won’t germinate.

Supplies needed to make Mel’s Mix soil for your square foot garden are compost, vermiculite and peat moss. You’ll use a 1/3 of each to make the perfect soil for your garden.

2 – 4 cubic foot bags of course vermiculite = 8 cubic feet

1 – 3.9 cubic feet of peat moss  Keep in mind 3.9 cubic feet compact = 8 cubic feet loose, 2.2 cubic feet compact = 4 cubic feet of loose peat moss

8 cubic feet of compost. Compost is a mixture of 5 different types of compost, for example, mushroom, sheep, cow, horse, poultry, vermicomposting,  compost from home compost. This is the key to nutrients, using a blend of 5 different composts. Make the compost mixture on the tarp first.  Save the bags from compost to hold your mixture or keep a bin for your compost mixture.



Mels Mix


After your 5 types of compost are mixed, you’ll add 1/3 of each material and blend on the tarp.  When making this by myself, I only made half at a time which made it simpler for me to blend on the tarp.  If you have 2 people working the tarp you can make the entire mixture at once.

Add the mixture to the garden box 1/3 at a time, water in, add the second 3rd of mixture, water in and finally add the last 1/3 and water in.

Add the square foot garden grid and you are ready to plant!

Sq Ft Garden Boxes


Happy gardening!


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5 Easy to Grow Superfoods

Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Blog, Eat Green, Grow Green, Square Foot Gardening, Vegetable Gardening

5 Easy to Grow SUPERFOODS


Have you wanted to start a garden, but you’re not sure what plants to start with?   With the right growing foundation,  anyone can have success with these 5 easy to grow superfoods! If you are new to gardening, you can easily grow these 5 SUPERFOODS with harvests from Spring to Fall and the Winter Squash will keep for several months after harvest in the perfect conditions. Leafy greens are easy to grow and a powerhouse superfood full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.

  1. Spinach:  This is a cool weather plant and one of the first to add to the garden. High in Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K,  Vitamin A and a great source for iron.
  2. Kale: This green powerhouse superfood is easy to grow and is a great cool weather option extending through the Summer and Fall.  Kale is high in Potassium,  Vitamin A, C and B-6 and a great leafy green source of protein.
  3. Swiss Chard: A great source for magnesium, Vitamin A and C.  Beautiful color and so easy to grow.
  4. Winter Squash:  This one requires a bit more space, but worth growing due to the lasting storage.  High in fiber,  potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and B-6. Butternut, Acorn or Spaghetti Squash are the easiest to grow and bumper crops will keep giving back over the winter months.
  5. Romain Lettuce:  Seasonal superstar for spring and fall crops, high in Vitamin K, A and Folate

If you aren’t into growing these 5 easy to grow superfoods, definitely find a local organic source, like a local farmer’s market to add these to your diet for nutrition and to meet the daily requirements of fruits and veggies servings.

See you in the garden,


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June in the Garden

Posted on Jun 18, 2014 in Blog, Grow Green, Square Foot Gardening, Vegetable Gardening

It’s early June in the garden, with traveling, it’s exciting to come home and see what’s popping in the perennial garden and what’s ready to harvest in the veggie garden!

Of course, there were lots of weeds!  Weeding is therapy, right?

This is the first year I’ve had success growing spinach and it just went crazy and bolted while I was traveling.  Bummer, I missed the harvest and treat of growing my own.  I invited several friends to stop by and pick their own so it didn’t go to waste.  Sharing, hands down, is one of my favorite things about gardening.

The broccoli bloomed and I miss the harvest, but check out the lettuce!

Aeroponic Tower Garden Lettuce

Edible front yard garden. Needs a little weeding, ya think?


Green beans.

Corn.  This is my first year at attempting corn.  My neighbor was taught by his father who is 93 and still gardening.  Apparently, starting in milk cartons early is the way to go with the short growing season in Colorado.  I’m not having much success.


Onion blooms.

Moon and stars watermelon.

Perennial blooms in the June garden.

Allium past blooms, but still adding texture and color to the garden.





Chocolate Flower.  Smells best in the morning and like Hershey’s Chocolate.

 Jupiter’s Beard


 Oriental Poppy. The poppies are my favorite!


What’s in bloom in your garden?

Meet me in the garden,




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May Snow

Posted on May 11, 2014 in Blog, Garden Design, Grow Green

Typically on Mother’s Day weekend my time is spent in the garden.  This year Mother Nature had another idea bringing Colorado May snow!   This weekend was spent covering plants, knocking snow off trees and shrubs and taking pictures of the snow covered Spring plants.  It wasn’t what I had planned for a weekend in the garden, but anytime in the garden is perfect for me.


 Meet me in the garden,


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Jersey Tomatoes

Posted on Apr 26, 2014 in Blog, Eat Green, Grow Green, Square Foot Gardening, Tower Garden

Celebrating 20 years in Colorado this year, there are 2 thing I miss about my home state New Jersey: the Jersey Shore and Jersey Tomatoes!

Colorado’s our best kept secret is our beautiful weather, especially in the winter. Jersey, on the other hand, when you fly into Newark, the armpit of the state, the last thing you think about is the best kept secret, a delicious Jersey tomato {or the beach}.

New Jersey is known as the “Garden State”. There must be something in the soil that makes tomatoes so juicy and delicious!

I have fond memories of driving the tree canopy, back winding roads and stopping at a local farm stand for a brown paper bag of tomatoes. I’d eat them like an apple! So delicious! It’s like eating a Colorado Palisade Peach with all the juicy yumminess dripping down your arm.

On a quest to grow my own Jersey like tomatoes in Colorado, I started a raised garden. Let’s just say my “ignorance on fire” created huge success! {We’ll not total “ignorance on fire”, I don’t have a landscape background, so I do know how to grow plants, but I was’t as knowledgeable with vegetable growing}.

Maybe you don’t have the experience of a yummy Jersey tomato, but most can relate to a home grow tomato from our own garden or one shared from a friend. They are just simply delicious and can’t compare to a store bought tomato. This goes for anything you can grow local in your own back yard. It just tastes better!

This is what I have learned, as I grew out of my “throw it in the ground and let it grow” concept, not everyone has success with this way of growing and not everyone has the space time or green thumb. As I dove into learning more about growing vegetables, I have learned we need to care about our natural resources and environment as well as understanding the right conditions for growing vegetables. There are two systems I found that require no digging, no bending, no weeding, and no kidding! These systems are environmentally friendly too!!

My passion is to help others grow their own food and experience the yummy flavor and high nutrient density foods and have success like I have. You can do it, it’s easy!

One system is called Square Food Gardening, developed by Mel Bartholomew and the other is Tower Gardens designed by Tim Blank. Both systems are designed on a small foot print, high yield and nutrient dense food designed for the new and experienced gardener! Both these systems really take the guesswork out of gardening and create success for the gardener.

With my system, when I started gardening, I had success, not every gardener experiences this level of success. If you take the time and energy to build a garden, find a system to create success!!

If you’d like for information about gardening and growing your own produce this summer, sign up for my newsletter for “Green Tips” to your inbox and sign up for one of our classes on Meetup, you can find us at Live Life Whole Gardeners.

The Green Coach,


Live Life Whole Gardeners

Denver, CO
41 Gardeners

Sharing tips on gardening, perennial, xeriscape, plot, container, raised and verticle, urban, organic, non- GMO, veggie gardening and square foot gardening. Anything on garden…

Check out this Meetup Group →

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Tower Garden Safety

Posted on Apr 5, 2014 in Blog, Eat Green, Grow Green, Tower Garden, Vegetable Gardening

Safety?  In the garden? When growing a Tower Garden, keep safety in mind.  The Tower Garden grows with electricity and electricity and water are not a a good mix!! Be sure to have the proper safety measures in place when setting up your Tower Garden.  Have a ground fault electrical plug and keep the extension cord wires off the ground.  I came across this camping idea which is a perfect solution for the Tower Garden.


Photo Credit:  Farm Journal

Supplies Needed:

1 bucket (I picked up a 5 gallon bucket from the big box store)

1 drill bit

1 U clamp (optional)

I decided on a 5 gallon bucket because it’s more sturdy than a sand bucket and I think it will handle the sun better too! This is an easy project to create safety around your Tower Garden!

Meet me in the garden,





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