The Pro Farmer

Elevate Your Living: The Benefits and Challenges of Rooftop Gardening

A roof garden allows the creation of a garden for the ingredients that are used daily in the home kitchen – vegetables, fruits and herbs.

In this way, you can eat healthy and fresh food, along with experimenting with working the soil and enjoying the garden.

Of course, you can also grow an ornamental garden on the roof, with flowers, ornamental plants and even grass, which provides a place to “escape” from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax.

But establishing a garden on a roof is not a simple act.

The roof must withstand the loads of the irrigated or rain-saturated growing tanks and the vegetation growing in them.

Also, take care of drainage and sealing and optimal conditions for plants (habitat, irrigation, fertilization, etc.).

Establishing a garden on a roof is not a simple act.

The roof must withstand the loads of the irrigated or rain-saturated growing tanks and the vegetation growing in them.

Also, take care of drainage and sealing and optimal conditions for plants (habitat, irrigation, fertilization, etc.).

So why even set up a garden on the roof?

Covering the city roofs with plants not only enriches the urban environment with flora, but also with biological diversity: birds, butterflies, reptiles that find the green roof a supportive environment for their existence and reproduction.

Of course, plants contribute to enriching the air with essential oxygen for humans and animals and to absorb urban soot, pollutants from the air, carbon oxides and other substances emitted by humans and animals.

A roof garden helps to insulate the building and lower the average temperature by several degrees.

So, what should be checked before setting up a garden on the roof or on the balcony?

Engineering feasibility – make sure that the roof or balcony can support the garden.

Earth and water weigh quite a bit.

The Ministry of Agriculture states that there are special lightweight growing medium containers on the market for this purpose.
Drainage of irrigation and rain water – where is the water transferred, how to irrigate using the water from the air conditioner, and how not to create leakage to the ceiling of the apartment on the top floor.
Choosing the shape of the garden – whether to create a garden directly on the floor or in built-in containers, or even in built-up beds.
The choice of plants – not all plants are suitable for all roofs – naturally the winds are stronger on roofs, the direction of the roof is also relevant whether it faces west or south, also its geographical location in the country – is it close to the sea or in a desert area.

The familiar varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons and other herbs are usually grown under optimal conditions inside closed net houses.

As soon as they are planted on the roof, they are exposed to strong winds and extreme temperatures.

However, don’t be tempted to put a mesh house on roofs without permission.

Placing an unstable net house can also endanger the public if it flies off the roof in extreme weather conditions.
The size of the roof does not matter.

What determines the suitability of the roof for the garden is the level of load on the roof and the weight that is added to it.

For this purpose, it is mandatory to consult with a qualified building engineer during the garden planning phase.
The crops must be adapted to the area of each specific roof.

Not all types of vegetables can be grown everywhere.

It is recommended to choose them according to the conditions dictated by the terrain and according to the exposure to the sun and the wind in that place.
The growing containers and the growing medium must be adapted to the plants that want to grow there.

There are plants with great root depth such as: corn, peas, radishes and onions and therefore need a deep growing medium.
The growing medium in which the plant is planted should be light and ventilated.
The growing medium should be washed out of the salts.

You should purchase an electrical conductivity meter at gardening and agricultural equipment stores or online stores and measure the drain water from the bottom of the large vessel.

If it is found that the electrical conductivity is high, the substrate should be washed with normal tap water.
The growing medium should be free of disease agents and weed seeds.

To ensure this, you should buy the seedlings from an authorized manufacturer.

You shouldn’t take used substrate or buy plants and seeds from unauthorized stores.

You should not use a potting medium after the plant that was in it has died! Most likely the plant died as a result of a disease and the disease will pass with the used substrate to the new seedlings.
The height of the substrate in the pot should allow drainage of the irrigation water and ventilation of the roots.

This means that not all of the spaces in the substrate should be saturated with water at the end of the irrigation, but at the end of the drainage after the irrigation part of the substrate is not saturated.
It is necessary to find out what the water consumption of the plant is.

The water holding capacity of the vessel will determine the frequency of watering.

If the plant needs, for example, 10 liters a day, and the water capacity of the vessel is 5 liters, then it should be watered twice and not in one watering of 10 liters.
In each irrigation there should be an excess of between 25% and 50% of drain water to prevent the accumulation of salts.

These excesses should come out of the bottom of the vessel.
You should purchase an acidity meter (pH meter) in gardening stores and measure the acidity level in the water from the damage and make sure that the acidity level does not fall below 5 or according to the sensitivity of the plant.
You should avoid fertilizer containing urea or ammonium sulfate as the sole source of nitrogen.
To prevent heat damage, you should prefer dishes with light colors and / or with good insulation. Irrigation pipes must be protected from direct sunlight, and watered frequently.
You should not plant the seedlings densely.

Especially when it comes to spices that have a tendency to spread and interfere with each other’s growth.
In order to ensure the growth of spice plants, the flowering should be cut at the beginning.

It is very advisable to harvest from time to time up to half the height of the plant even if the spice is needed to create compact growth with many short branches and not growth with long branches that tend to droop down.

What is harvested can be dried by hanging associations on the kitchen balcony.
after a Sharp pruning, avoid excessive watering.


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