Are you looking to begin growing your own food, but you don’t have the area in your lawn to spare? Maybe you have been growing vegetables for a while but space has become an issue and now you need to find a new place to continue your homegrown lifestyle. As urban agriculture has become more popular these past years, people have been trying to find new ways to have a garden without a lot of land. This has led to moving from the ground to the roof of a home or building. With rooftop gardening you have a means to bring nature to your urban lifestyle and benefit from fresh fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers. With the proper steps and considerations, you too can move your garden from the ground to the sky.
- Before We Get Started
Building a rooftop garden can lean towards the expensive side of projects for obvious reasons, and you need to be sure of a few key components before spending a lot of money.
A. Firstly, you should check to see the weight the roof can hold. This means all the plants, the soil when it is wet, and any structures you put in the garden, including persons. It might be suitable to reinforce the roof if you need it. Then again, if you are working on a larger building that is designed for rooftop storage or events, you probably aren’t in any danger.
B. Secondly, you should check the sun and wind conditions of your rooftop. Most fruits and vegetables need about six hours of direct sunlight for optimal photosynthesis. Furthermore, high wind areas can knock over plants, move soil, and damage structures, which can make it difficult to grow anything.
C. Thirdly, check the city codes and regulations when it comes to a rooftop garden or any rooftop structures. Some areas may restrict such gardens and you don’t want to invest so much money and time in this project if you are then forced to take it down.
D. Lastly, check that your rooftop has quality drainage, as this will be an absolute must when it comes to storing a garden on the roof. Adding gravel to your roof will encourage draining as well and it will look fantastic surrounding your planter boxes.
- Build Planters to Hold the Soil
After checking and reinforcing the roof, as well as making sure there is a quality draining system, building your soil boxes is next. The size will be based on what you can fit on your roof as well as your desired needs for your garden. An ideal depth would be about 6-8 inches, which would support a great deal of plants, but it is ultimately dependent on the amount of weight a roof can safely hold; you can make your planters as deep or shallow as they need to be. Furthermore, it is wise to use a treated wood and create the shape you like with it. Once it is secured, line the bottom with a weed block sheet that allows for water drainage but will hold the soil inside the planters.
- Laying the Gravel and Soil
Once you have your planters arranged, spreading gravel around the roof is important to draining the water. Next add a Green-Roof soil in the planters. This lightweight soil is specific to rooftop gardens and you will want to spread it at 75 lbs per square foot of the planters.
- Get Planting
Now that you have your roof reinforced, the drainage taken care of, and the planters filled with soil, it is time to begin planting your vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Remember to pick vegetables that grow best in the depth of your planters. Fruits and vegetables that would be great on your rooftop garden include cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, lettuce, strawberries, and much more.
Your fruits and vegetables will need water while basking in the sun on top of your roof, and getting water up there can be difficult if you are going to have to carry it by hand each time. As with everything else, what you can do is based on the structural integrity of your roof. That could mean either running a hose up to your garden each time or acquiring a misting irrigation system on your roof. However you can get the water up to your roof the easiest is the best way for you. No two rooftop gardens are the same and what you can do most efficiently with the tools you have is going to be your best option.
A rooftop garden is not only functional when you do not have a lot of room on the ground for a traditional garden, but it is also a unique look for your home or building. Rooftop gardens have become chic, not only because they are self sustainable, but because they also provide a bit of flair for your property. You may also want to use a lawn care specialist to help provide you with fertilizers, insecticides, and watering tips for your roof top garden. Professionals can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to the best knowledge on growing any plants during the right times and climate conditions. With bright colors on top of your home and vegetables being grown for the area, you can bet that people will notice your edible rooftop garden.