Monday, July 5, 2010

Rooftop Garden

We have no full sun real estate in our yard.  My dreams of an amazing vegetable garden on ground level were pretty much not happening.  Instead, I decided to use our completely empty deck above the garage for a container garden space. 
After some internet research, I figured out what supplies I would need, and set to work hauling it all up our stairs.  Potting mix (two kinds, no idea why), compost, and perlite for improved drainage.
I scored three 18 gal Roughneck containers at Target for $6 a piece, and drilled a ton of holes in the bottoms.
I used some fiberglass window screening in the bottoms to help hold in the potting mix.
To prop up the containers to allow for drainage, I used some old pieces of pallet we had hanging out by the patio.
I also found a plastic party tub at Target for $5 that I thought would be perfect for a large tomato plant.  I mixed the potting mix, compost and perlite one container at a time. 
Most potting mixes have some perlite already in it, but I decided it was worthwhile to add more.  It is rather dusty, so don't breathe it in!  It creates a well-drained soil for your plants. 
I had two plants in each container, but quickly realized that was not going to be enough room.  Originially, I had a cucumber and cherry tomato plant together:
A squash and zucchini plant together:
And a red bell pepper and eggplant together:
Right away, I knew it would all get way too big.  I picked up a bigger 30 gallon container for the two squash plants, and gave the eggplant and cucumber their own containers. 
The pepper and cherry tomato plant live in harmony in one 18 gallon container.  Everything was much happier!
These photos were taken the first week of June.  Watering twice a day and fertilizing once since then has made these plants explode!  Here is the squash and zucchini now...
Holy balls!  I've got several baby squash and zucchini started, it's pretty funny how I'm so surprised when I see them growing.  That is what's supposed to happen, of course!
I guess the bees have done their fair share of polinating. Good job, guys!


  1. What a creative way to grow a garden!

  2. Looks great! I had four tomato plants on our front deck last year, but decided not to do anything this year. You've inspired me to diversify and expand my garden next year. :) The tubs are clever cause pots are small and heavy!

  3. Wow .. great use of space. Bet you can't wait to pick something and eat it!!!!

    I only grow tomatoes ... but the first one is always the best!

  4. What a clever solution--and you will be rewarded in no time with fabulous food. Just a could put the lids underneath, making the wood supports slightly smaller to fit inside the lids, to prevent the water from draining all over the roof. Keeps mineral stains off the roofing fabric. I see expansion in your future--bet you have carrots and potatoes next year!

  5. Hey Sara,

    I LOVE that you used those tubs! What a cool idea, not to mention a great splash of color.

    Oh, and I'm always shocked when I see tomatoes on the tomato plants too.

  6. Nicely done! I'm so wanting to grow some squash and zucchini next year. I'm sure you already know about square foot gardening, but if not it's a great way to reference how much space you need for each plant in an easy to follow grid (for a novice like me anyway). So for instance, tomatoes need one square foot each where as you can plant 16 onions in one square foot. As for this fertilizing thing...I'm going to have to look into that--some of my plants growth seem stunted and possibly that's why!

  7. Wonderfull idea!! You have such a great sapce up there

  8. Great job. One of my goals for a freestanding home is to have a roof garden. Nice to see one in action.

  9. What a great idea! Way to fully utilize all your outdoor spaces.

  10. What a great idea! I love that you used the roof space, how creative. The tubs are a great idea, those pots never seem to be big enough and are a pain to carry. Bet your excited for your plants to start yielding some yummy veggies!

  11. I love container gardens. I have one on my sunny deck every year. I never thought to use storage bins... smart and resourceful! I also love growing fresh herbs.

  12. I had our Loofah plants on our rooftop deck and the sun burned them up! I had to move them to the front porch. How many hours a day does your deck get sun?

  13. Oona - The deck gets sun from about 10 am until 5pm. It's perfect for vegetables!

  14. WOW! They look fabulous! Love how zucchini plants go mad!

  15. What a great idea and great place to have a garden! We currently have some small plants (tomatoes/peppers/herbs) in containers on our back deck. And a huge pumpkin plant taking over the backyard!

  16. This is the best way to use this space! Great idea! I haven't been over in a while so I need to read back a bit.

  17. hi sara! LOVE this! sooo cool!
    i found you through searching about companion planting cukes and maters....did you leave those two together? did they do ok? i have a bush cucumber and tomato plant together in a large container and wondering how they are gonna do? my 1st attempt at veggie gardening...


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