In the May edition of Chicago Magazine, there's a nice article on urban gardening, "Salad Days". I want to publicly thank author Karin Sullivan for including my rooftop garden in her story. When we met last year and she told me she was thinking of writing a short piece on growing food in city gardens--and wanted to showcase one of our rooftop gardens--I was pretty excited about the prospect of other people learning about what we're doing.
I have to say that I’ve learned a lot from Bruce and Heidi (my fellow Green Roof Growers) over the past year. Their roof gardens are much more involved – and larger – than mine but I think Karin wanted to show that someone with very little knowledge (like me!) could have success in a very limited time. I hope that came through in the article.
Whenever they see the garden, people seem to ask me the same questions. Here are answers to the most common ones:
I grow in Earthboxes; a basic one costs about $30 on the EB website.Our site has a lot of information that can get you started. I’ll also be posting some updates to this year’s garden as time goes on. If you need anything else or have any ideas, please feel free to post a reply to one of the posts here. Thanks for stopping by.I used Miracle Grow organic potting mix with Foxfarm’s organic fertilizer last year and am re-using the same potting mix in this year’s garden.
Last year, I used starter plants purchased at both Gethsemane and Home Depot. This year, all of the starts are grown from seed (thanks much Bruce).
The Earthboxes (as well as all sub-irrigated planters – aka SIPs) will use less water than conventional gardening since nothing is wasted."Our maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden- with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort."One of the major upgrades I’m adding this year is an automatic watering system so I can go out of town without worrying that my plants will suffer.
My rooftop was built for decking and can carry the weight of the boxes (about 50 lb each). Before you put anything on any roof, please consult with a structural engineer or other building professional to confirm that your structure can handle it.
[I changed the posting date from April 14th to May 6th so it stays "stuck" at the top of the site for a while. - B.]