Even Urban Dwellers Can Have a Crisis Garden

I’ll admit it: When it comes to gardening, I’m spoiled. I have plenty of land on which to sow and harvest, along with the space for a rain barrel and a compost heap. But for a great number of people all over the entire world, I realize that this is simply not the case. So if you’re gardening space consists of a small balcony, porch step, or cement patio, then you are not alone. In fact, I’d venture to say that you’re far from it, and that people like me with large plots of land, are actually a growing minority.

But just because you do not have an expansive backyard does not mean that you can’t grow your own food. Far from it! In fact, container gardening and rooftop gardening are becoming increasingly popular, because the truth of the matter is that even if you live in an urban setting, you should be exercising your right to grow your own food and maintain a crisis garden.

Along these lines, I found a terrific article this week that left me feeling downright inspired. Check it out. These folks are building a rooftop garden in Queens, and it is covered in the New York Times:

“Six Stories Above Queens; A Fine Little Spot for Some Farming”

Now before you rush to the roof of your apartment and lay down some topsoil, there are a few things you should be aware of. Rooftop gardens present some pretty specific conditions, so here are some precautions for you take note of. So read them, then rush to the roof of your apartment to lay down some topsoil!

(1)   Plant veggies and fruits that do well in full sun. Since your rooftop is above trees that provide shade, it is unlikely that your crops will get any shade, and it’s normally several degrees hotter on a roof than on the ground. Veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, corn, beets, summer squash, and pumpkins are all warm weather crops that will do well in full sun. Make sure to allow room for things such as trellises, stakes, and supports.

(2)   Again, because your garden will be in full sun, you’ll need to water your plants frequently and adequately. Make sure you have a reliable water source on your rooftop. You don’t want to have to lug a watering can back and forth from your kitchen 100 times a day.

(3)   All of the crops listed above may be grown in containers. However, if you plan to plant directly on your rooftop, make sure you put down some kind of water proof liner. You’ll definitely want to protect the roof from all the soil and water you’ll be using.

(4)   Use extremely good quality, organic soil and compost matter, and lots of it. You’ll need a depth of at least 8-9 inches whether you are planting in containers or directly on your roof.

(5)   A small container garden is probably no biggie. But if you plan to go big, (like the folks in this article,) you probably want to check it out first with your HOA or landlord. Ensure that the roof is strong enough for the size of garden that you are envisioning. Better safe than sorry!

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2 comments so far

  1. […] May we discussed how even urban dwellers can create a spot for a crisis garden by using a rooftop space. But what if you don’t even have a  rooftop? What if you don’t […]

  2. […] you have only a rooftop to work with, you can create an urban crisis garden. If you are limited to a small porch, balcony, or patio, you’ll find that many vegetables, […]


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