If you have spent any time reading about the benefits of raised bed gardens, or the square foot gardening method you might have heard of Mel Bartholomew. He invented the timeless square foot gardening method and also has a great soil mixture that he has perfected over the years called "Mel's Mix".

Benefits of Mel's Mix Soil:

  • Planting & Germination - Because Mel's Mix uses Vermiculite the soil is lighter than regular dirt and does not get compressed from being walked on. This allows plants to grow from seed and push through easier.
  • Weeds - Make sure to use good compost you either create yourself or purchase from a good supplier. Since normal dirt is not used, you should have very little if any weeds and removing them will be easy thanks to the lightness of the soil.
  • Root System - Roots are able to spread easily just like seedlings allowing for healthy strong root systems. You can shake out the old soil and remove dead plants to reuse the mix again.
  • Drainage - Because of the consistency of the soil Mel's Mix makes it very difficult to overwater. Excess water will drain out, so you can either water by hand or through irrigation.

Mel's Mix Garden Soil Mixture:

  • 1/3 Vermiculite
  • 1/3 Peat Moss
  • 1/3 Compost (multiple compost sources are better)


Simply mix all 3 ingredients together in a bucket or wheel barrow. Fill your raised bed or pots with this mix and watch your plants flourish!