Many Australians have discovered the rewards of vegetable gardening, including those of us who choose to do it on the roof. Food production is a great way to get even more value from a green roof.
Producing food on a green roof takes good design, and some of your time. Good design is important because green roofs can be tough places for herbs, vegetables and fruit to grow. Even at ground level, they tend to be thirsty (for water) and hungry (for nutrients). On the roof, solutions can be as simple as selecting the best substrate mix and depth, or as sophisticated as an aquaponics system (the subject of a previous post).
Of course, it is also important to select appropriate plants. Plants will vary in their ability to cope with the high winds and other stresses on a roof. The most suitable foods for growing on roofs are herbs such as basil, parsley and chives, because they are relatively resilient. Even so, given the right conditions and care, a range of vegetables and fruit can also be produced.
Once it’s up, the garden will need weekly attention to stay productive. For many gardeners, this is the fun part! The main tasks are watering, harvesting and, occasionally, applying fertilizers and re-planting.
While you should keep your plants productive and healthy, it is very important that you keep the environment healthy, too. This means doing what you can to use water sustainably. This could mean using rainwater harvesting methods, or simply avoiding watering in the heat of the day and adhering to local water use guidelines. Fertilizers should also be used sparingly, so that no polluted runoff leaves the green roof. This helps to protect local rivers and creeks.
Contact us email@example.com if you would like to read our fact sheet on this topic. We also offer workshops and expert talks.
Paul Richards, Do it on the Roof