I love my garden.  Well, I did back at our old house.  It gave us a LOT of great strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, and it kept us busy all summer long.

Fast forward to our new house.  It is far superior to our old house in every way EXCEPT that our back yard is on a huge hill that slopes down into a forest.  Great for kids to play on, bad to grow a garden.  We have more rabbits, deer, bugs, coyotes, and salamanders than we can possibly keep out our garden if we put it on the ground.  The rabbits and deer ATE two apple trees we planted last fall.  Ate them down to the ground!

So we have a unique problem to solve, and we tried last year to grow tomatoes, peppers, and a few other items in plastic tubs on our 2nd story deck.  We filled them with topsoil, planted our stuff, and figured they would just come in.  They did not.  Nothing really grew and most everything ended up dying.  The holes we cut in the bottom of the tubs didn’t drain properly and everything ended up being too wet.

This year we figured we would come up with a plan.  I talked to Bob over at The Real Food Shoppe and he helped me work this out.  I needed to stop using dirt and start using Mel’s Mix instead.  Mel’s Mix is super easy to make.  1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Compost (get a few types if possible), and 1/3 Vermiculite.  Put it all on a tarp and mix it around until it’s uniform and then you are done!

We “upgraded” to Terracotta pots this year as I wasn’t ready to tackle the issue of building a garden on our ski-slope of a backyard.  We filled the pots with Mel’s Mix and potted our tomatoes, peppers, a lemon tree, and lettuces and we’re off!

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We learned a lot about Mel’s Mix and how to care for the plants.  You need to water a LOT, as Mel’s Mix won’t retain water as well as soil.  You will need to stick your finger into “The Mix” and see if it’s damp.  If it’s not, water it!  I also got pots that drain well so the plants won’t drown this year.

If you look at our plants, they already have tomatoes and peppers growing on them.  Once they get bigger we will tie them up to the railing and make them grow vertically.

I will post more when they get bigger and we have stuff to pick from them!