Rooftop Vegetable Gardening Guide

Vegetable Organic Farming Survival

Rooftop gardening is similar to other types of container gardening with some notable exceptions. The first is the wind conditions that are inherent to such locations. Unlike ground-level spots like patios, rooftops see considerable gusts that can cause damage to all but the most sturdy growers. Higher rooftops will see considerably more wind than lower locations. When scouting your rooftop for the best place for your garden, avoid spots that are exposed to the direct wind in open expansive areas. The most ideal locations will be in close proximity to some type of shelter or wind block.

Apartment Gardening

Rooftop Gardening Guide
Rooftop GardensRooftop gardens are likely to be exposed to more intense sunlight than those at ground level. Such light is less likely to be filtered by trees or other covering, potentially generating heat levels that can be dangerous to growing plants. If this proves to be the case, it may be wise to invest in a thin shade cloth or netting to provide some protection to your crops. The surface of the rooftop also becomes especially important as dark materials will absorb most sunlight and create a very hot, arid environment.


Rooftop GardenHot, sunny conditions on rooftops can quickly cause plants to dry out. There are several means to address this. Perhaps the most important point to promote good water retention is through the soil. Rooftop gardens should be grown in a lightweight medium that has good water retention. To improve water retention, soil can be amended with a small amount of vermiculite. Self-watering containers are another means to keep your plants moist. Such containers typically need less attention than traditional watering, and provide a source of water that simulates patterns in nature. To protect from moisture loss at the surface of the soil, a layer of mulch can be evenly spread over the surface of the soil.


Selecting Vegetables for Rooftop Gardening
Rooftop TomatoesIdeal crops for rooftop gardening should be durable, and capable of resisting wind and other potentially inclement conditions. Plants with thin, 'crisp' stems should be avoided. Root vegetables, including carrots, beets, turnips, and rutebegas, are well-suited due to the absence of a thin central stem and their relatively low growth. A thick root also helps to anchor the plants into the ground, providing resistance to wind. Low growing greens, including lettuce and spinach, are also well-suited to rooftop growing, as are some varieties of climbing beans which can withstand consistent exposure to wind.


Gardening on a RooftopFor best results, vegetables grown on rooftops should be started in flats or similar containers under screens or netting that will prevent soil from drying out. Amend growing medium with plenty of water high-quality organic constituents, such as compost; and spread a thin layer of mulch around plants upon transplanting. These measure will help to retain moisture. Ideally, starts should be transplanted into larger containers on cloudy or slightly overcast days to prevent sun and heat shock.


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