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Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 | 1 comment

Before and After: A Sustainable Garden Thrives in Del Ray

Before and After: A Sustainable Garden Thrives in Del Ray

Mellenie Runion’s backyard garden is at its prime — it’s held up well during the record-breaking summer heat — and has produced plentiful bounty to feed her household and sustain her business, Truly-Life, which sells home-grown eco-friendly products.


But she’s come a long way. Back in March, this is how Mellenie’s garden looked. Prep started with loosening the soil and adding compost and “home-grown” fertilizer in the form of rabbit pellets (the only manure that is safe to use immediately without composting).

prepping the soil

Mellenie hosted garden tours this past weekend, despite an afternoon of on again-off again rain showers. In fact we had to take refuge inside for a bit, while Mellenie described her garden’s progress and plans for the future.


Perhaps these future plans will include returning the 1930s chicken coop, currently used as a shed, to its original purpose. That’s on hold for now as city ordinances do not allow urban chicken farms.



On the tour, info sheets around the house and garden describe how Mellenie and Andy are constantly working to improve the soil and increase the annual harvest.


This includes recycling, adding organic nutrients to the soil, and composting. This compost bin in the back corner was made from old fence posts. The animals usually stay out, but every once in a while, someone stops by for a snack.


Sustainability is also critical — a water trench allows the soil to slowly absorb excess water, all new plants must either be edible or support the business, and weeds are pulled by hand and fed to the rabbits (that live indoors) as treats.


You can see by the plentiful crops, being eco-friendly pays off. There are thai peppers…






And some amazing loofah.


Hard to imagine these giant loofah started out as seeds back in March.

seed starting

Before long, they will dry out and turn into bath sponges, one of the items Mellenie sells in her business.

home grown loofah

Every gardener needs a place to relax and enjoy a good book. This hammock tucked in the back corner, is just that kind of place.


And in celebration of this year’s successful garden, everyone who attended the tour left with a special gift — a homemade soap and loofah, of course!


Mellenie will host another tour on Sunday, September 9. If you are interested in starting a garden, have questions about plants and landscaping, or just want to see her eco-friendly urban oasis in person, contact Mellenie to sign up for the tour.

1 Comment

  1. I would love some more info about that chook coop… It looks like what we need for our backyard flock!

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