Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rooftop Agriculture - Lots of room to grow food in the Urban Core.

Rooftop farming doesn't have to be complicated.

Small simple systems are available for growing vegetables and other food on any roof.

Of course, as with any endeavor there are both benefits and there can be problems.

Problems include the harshness of the roof environment.  Using the well worn phrase - 'The 5 Horrible H's of Florida Roofs';
  • Hurricanes
  • Horrible Heat
  • High Desiccating Winds
  • Humidity
  • Hard Freezes
you quickly learn rooftop garden can be cruel of plants.

However, depending on the time of year, rooftop gardening can be rewarding.  Autumn,  early winter, Spring and early summer offer opportunities for growing crops, especially on cooler roofs such as a white TPO.

Asphalt and asphalt shingles can contain toxins, so always make sure you have a liner (typical pond liner - HDPE or other membrane) between your growing box and the shingles.  The membrane will also protect the roof from roots and dampness.

Rooftop Agriculture - Winter Mix and Garlic Chives

November is a great time of year in Florida to grow rooftop veggies.  Many of the plants enjoy the cooler nights and soak up the sun's warmth during the day.

A good potting mix blend should consist of 1 part peat,  1 part sphagnum moss, 1 part perlite or vermiculite,  and 1 part potting soil.  Place the mixture into a seed starting plug tray, Jiffy Cups or create your own small potting containers our of water, flour and shredded newspapers.  Start your vegetables from seeds and when they are a couple inches tall, place them in your roof growing tray.

I'll soon be posting a list of places you can order roof growing trays.

As always, happy green roofing!


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