Rooftop cultivation. How to start

This article is not about common gardens as we know them, but about a new trend that is emerging especially in large cities (something like the Brooklyn Grange ) and that is based on the use of unused spaces in the terraces for the production of organic crops. The possibilities offered by  rooftop cultivation are many, so … Why not take advantage of them? Here we tell you how.

 DO I NEED TO HAVE A SPECIAL TERRACE OR ROOF TO SET UP MY GARDEN?

For nothing, any terrace is valid for growing on rooftops , whatever the shape and size it may be. You just have to adapt to your possibilities. A cultivation table  (ideal for rooftop cultivation) or a set of pots (planter) with vegetable and vegetable crops can be a first base on which to grow and evolve (up to magnitudes such as those seen in crops rooftops of New York).

The maximum weight that the slab supports  is very important, since a wet substrate can weigh a lot and be an ordeal for your idea of rooftop cultivation . Regarding this, we have to say that we have seen great atrocities throughout our (short) lives, such as large plastic pools over half a meter high (500 kg per square meter) on building terraces. You have to find out well how much load your terrace supports depending on whether it is an old building or house or it is of recent construction. In any case and when in doubt, our advice is that you do not exceed 300 kg / m2.

WHAT CONTAINERS DO I NEED FOR ROOFTOP GROWING?

At this point you have many options to choose from. For example, if you think that your garden will last for many years and you are going to become the pioneer of rooftop cultivation in your city, you can have a kind of raised terrace , directly on the terrace. Of course, with its moisture protection layer and with materials that prevent the roots from destroying the soil.

Another system is to use grow tables, bought or homemade. For example, a home growing table can be a plastic box for storing clothes resting on a table, and making the relevant drainage holes. You will surely find something useful and reusable in your storage room, in case you don’t want to buy one at the store.

HOW IS THE SUBSTRATE INCORPORATED INTO THE CONTAINER IN ROOFTOP GROWING?

Substrates there are many, and here you have a great base from which to start . It is important that right in the lower layer , where you have the holes so that the water is not retained in the container, you have gravel or rock fragments with a diameter greater than that of the holes. In the second layer you can incorporate any of the substrates mentioned in the link in this paragraph or whatever you think is convenient, and in the third layer  you can have some type of organic matter that you have, such as compost or vermicompost ,  etc.

With respect to this last layer, either you can do it like this and let it flow at lower levels with the irrigation water, or mix it with the second layer. Either case is valid and will give great results.

The compost , for example, has a porosity of 90%, with a retention of water 50%, pH around the acid and a bulk density of 200-500 g / l.

If we compare it with normal earth, it  has a much higher apparent density (1,500 gr / l), a water retention of 10%, a porosity of 30%, and a Ph that varies depending on where we are, as well you will know.

It is very useful to know these parameters according to the substrate you choose, since as you have seen, weight is very important in rooftop cultivation.

To begin with, it is advisable to select simple, fast-growing plants. As we evolve and gain experience, later we can try other plants.

Therefore, the selection of aromatic seeds is the most feasible. Likewise, later you can combine them with a good association of plants together with horticultural and leafy vegetables.

AND HERE COMES THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Little by little we have been learning techniques and ways to cultivate and get the most out of our vegetable, fruit and vegetable garden. The best thing is that we make a compendium, as we have sometimes done, about the basics to manage and maintain your rooftop garden based on what we have told you before.

“What, how, when, who, where and why”

WHAT TO PLANT?

Anything that is seasonal. Fruits, vegetables, greens, etc. Although to answer this question you will have to ask yourself the question. What do you like the most of all the options out there? The same you only grow aromatic plants (and very well what you would do :)).

HOW TO PLANT?

In  our category of crops  you have a wide range of plants (and mushrooms) to choose from, with some advice on each one. Although if you are missing any, you just have to ask us and we will do it.

WHEN?

The answer to this question cannot be chosen by you, but you have to base yourself on a cultivation calendar. We have this calendar that may be useful for you. Take a look and tell us.

WHO?

You alone, you with your family, with friends, with a group of farmers, with neighbors. It all depends. For example, if you are on the roof of a building, you can agree with your neighbors when it comes to maintaining the orchards, so that you distribute the work and then, when the harvest comes, you do it equally. This way you make sure that all the neighbors participate actively.

WHERE?

Roof, terrace, balcony. The point is that you take advantage of the empty spaces or that you do not use and turn your city into a very Brooklyn grange.

WHY?

Because it is healthy and ecological, because it encourages cooperation, because it is entertaining, because in the end you save money, etc. In short, there are many things that a garden can bring you .

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

Ryan Heagle

Welcome to The GardenPure! My name is Ryan Heagle, and I’m the founder of The GardenPure, I spent the first part of my adult life teaching and then living in Australia in various business ventures, the first of which was a business devoted to the sale of house plants.  I am now a full time blogger. I am a self taught gardener.

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