Monday, November 17, 2008

Before the Snow Falls + Greens for Winter?

We're literally wrapping up the rooftop garden for winter. Art used foam core and a tarp (shown in process here) to keep moisture out of our SIPs during the winter months. In the spring we may be able to use clear plastic to turn this little run into a greenhouse.

What's inside?

Planters we drained and removed the plastic tops from over the past six weeks so they could dry out a bit. This spring, we'll remove the crusty old fertilizer ring and dump the planting mix into a larger container, pulling out the plant roots before using the soil to replant our SIPs.

Will there be greens?
In early October we planted the seeds below so they could get started before coming inside to grow on our second floor. It's unheated but the temps say in the 40s due to some heat escaping from the first floor. (Check out the broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the background--they're our last two plants on the roof and still thriving as of today.)

In the foreground, seeds starts for the fresh greens we hope will continue to feed us this winter.

Here's how we got the planters from roof down to second floor
Art loads a planter into the plastic milk carton (slash urban basketball hoop)
and attaches to the pulley...

...while I wait for it to drop.

The approach seems obvious now, but we spent some real time pondering the best way to lower the planters, which (drained of water but containing damp soil) weigh about 30 pounds each.

This is a sweet solution.

It lands on this old wheeled plastic cart...

...which I push into the south-facing room to offload.

Here's what's growing now
Renne's Garden stirfry mix, Lacinato kale, Swiss chard, and Russian red kale.
In the background, Bob Hyland's pop bottle planters seeded with everything just mentioned
plus arugula.

Here's a closer look at the pop-bottle planters. And here's how you make them yourself.

We're uncertain if the blast of southern light will be enough to keep our greens growing or if we'll need to add lighting. Stay tuned for more on the winter growing experiment.

And remember, summer tomatoes are just eight months away...


Russ C said...

Excellent post! I know your little greenhouse could help you get a jump start next year. My little low tunnel had temps in the 50's over the weekend, about 10-15 degree warmer than the air.

Do you need anymore pop bottles? My brother gave me a bunch and you can have them if you need them.

H2 said...

Thanks, Russ. Maybe we can have a little class on pop bottle planting next spring at the new community garden over near Bruce's.

I hope he'll post on the garden soon--the city just started digging for curbs, etc.