Friday, January 28, 2011

Wheat Grass Green Roof Modules and Feeding the Cities From Rooftop Gardens

Rooftop permaculture holds the key to feeding the cities.

Here are a couple lightweight rooftop vegetable growing panels.

Easy to grasp and pick up, 52mm thick and they clip together allowing for many designs and layout configurations.

The wheat grass will be thick in a couple days.

MV Wheat Grass Green Roof Modules

MV Wheat Grass Green Roof Modules

The next photo is of the MV rooftop veggie growing area.

Rooftop permaculture - Veggies grow better on the green roof!

Not surprisingly, the rooftop veggies look better than those growing on the ground in the garden.

Garden soils here in Florida are widely inflicted with nematodes.

Nematodes burrow their way into a plant root, causing the root to swell into nodules and damaging the plant's vascular system - resulting in stunted plant growth and limiting produce production.

However the rooftop garden tends to stay nematode free.  Solarized by the sun's rays, rooftop garden soil tends to stay free of many of the common plant issues found in ground level soil.

We are working on a rather large rooftop permaculture and biodiversity project on a LEED Platinum building.  Photos and data to follow!  In the meantime, check out the Breaking Ground Contracting's Education Blog by Catherine Burkee here -

Industrial Agriculture is one of the most intense forms of land use.  Machinery chops the soil and vegetation covering the ground, pulling up and discarding all native plant DNA.  The soil is graded and tilled, plowed and fertilized.  All traces of the original soil structure disappears.   Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are soaked into the ground.

But  it doesn't have to be this way.

We can reforest the farmlands, restore wetlands, recreate habitat and replant what we've destroyed.

We can use the millions of urban rooftop acres for green roof gardens.  Rooftop permaculture.  Feed the hungry.  Feed the cities. Provide habitat. Reduce heat island effect. Clean stormwater. Sequester Carbon and pump fresh oxygen into a stale atmosphere.

But we need to be smart about how we accomplish this.

Today on Twitter I read the pundits as they laughed about how Toronto was backing down from green roof legislation.  The industrial lobby may have successfully convinced the city that green roofs are not cost-effective alternatives when compared to white TPO or single-ply reflective roofing materials.

So there will be two types of green roof initiatives in the future.  One will grow stale and eventually disappear, relying on expensive, heavy planting systems and monocultures of non-native highly temperamental landscape plants.  

The other will become dynamically organic in growth, seek out eco-friendly components and methods using ultra-light weight (less than 10 pounds per square foot) systems with nature-based or highly efficient recycled rainwater & micro-irrigation systems.  Native plants for biodiversity contributions and ethnobotanicals such as food, fiber and medicine plants will flourish.

Expanded shale with it's huge carbon footprint will no longer be used for planting media.  On site composting of organic material for the green roof will become the norm.  Drainage technology advances will allow for this accommodation.  Moreover, composting and reuse of organic matter conserves a rather large water footprint.

Mega-heavy, expensive green roofs will give way to the small commercial building and residential rooftop garden.  Governmental efforts in the green roof arena will be overtaken by grassroots local initiatives and small rooftop gardens will appear throughout the neighborhoods, especially as food prices rise and the dangers of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers become known.

The potential is exciting.

We can feed the cities.

We can reforest our agriculture lands.

We can envision the urban core ripe with organically grown, open-pollinated rooftop gardens, supporting bees, insects, birds and wildlife.

Millions of acres of green roofs.

It begins with a rooftop wheat grass tray and small veggie garden.

1 comment:

Double Glazing said...

The rooftop garden is a good idea to avoid parasites from destroying the plants. When the plants are full grown it can also provide shades that produces cooling to the house.