Creating a veggie garden on the rooftop has become one of the most common and adorable gardening delights for passionate gardeners. The prime reason for this is lack of space – the restricted spaces allowed for gardening in high rises and congested colonies could not set back the love for vegetable gardens but bring on the evolution of terrace gardens where most of the vegetables can be easily grown.
Terrace gardening dates back to the days of Babylon, but in the contemporary world organic terrace gardening needs proper training, systematic planning, materials, eco friendly containers, and the right seeds. You can now grow vegetables in containers and get the best benefits of organic produce that gets treated with natural pesticides and fertilisers. Here are few useful tips that you should consider while you plan to make a vegetable roof top garden.
Rooftop gardens can face legal objections often as nowadays high rises are owned by multiple families and all might not be in favour of your decision. First of all, check with the local ordinances, if it’s a rental property check with the rules and talk to your landlord, home owner association regulations should also be taken into consideration to get a clear pass. If any of the obstructions come up later, your time and money might go into a complete waste.
Take Help of an Architect
When you create a rooftop vegetable garden; it does have some imposing factors on the building structure as well. Since all of them will not be small vegetable shrubs but few can even grow large and bushy, you have to talk to the architect and be sure that the building is safe to build a weighty vegetable rooftop garden and how much weight the building can withstand.
Make sure your veggie garden on the terrace is not going too heavy even if your building is capable. Prefer light weight materials like fibreglass, plastic, foam planting containers etc. Use lightweight potting soil as typical gardening soil is very heavy. Do not use pavers. Styrofoam peanuts would be ideal for drainage instead of rocks or pottery shards.
Your vegetables would all go astray if you cannot control the wind. The terrace garden is bound to face a stronger wind than ordinary ones so incorporate windbreaks to control the wind. Nowadays, trellises, and latticed windbreak are popular. It’s better not to use solid windbreaks as you would not want to stop the wind completely.
Vegetable gardens need more water than flowering gardens, thus make this arrangement perfect on the roof top. In summers, the need would be higher so lugging heavy buckets of water is not really practical. Either choose an automatic watering system or storage system attached with long hoses.
Your roof top will be all open, but if there are installations that create shades on your vegetable garden then make sure that the vegetables need at least 6 hours of full sun and it is getting that actually.
Think about the Size
A well planned vegetable garden on roof top can be created on a plot of about 16×10 feet and should plant crops that are easy to grow. Since you are not getting the freedom of hardcore gardening into the deep rooted soil, make the choice of crops very wisely. This size of a roof top garden allows crops to be planted 11 rows wide, having row as 10 feet long. The rows should be from north and south so that the plants get the complete sun. Ideal crop for such roof top gardens are beans, lettuce, peppers, melons, broccoli, spinach, chillies, lemons etc.
There are many more points to be kept in mind while planning a rooftop garden for growing vegetables; like the storage, electrical connections, budget, tools, etc. The basic rules for gardening remain the same even if it is done on the rooftop. But proper protection to the roof base is essential when you are setting out thick layers of soil on it. You would definitely not want your building to get harmed in the process – therefore take necessary precautions.