All You Need to Know About Rooftop Vegetable Garden

April 23, 2023 8:19 pm19 commentsViews: 73

Planning for a rooftop vegetable garden, but don’t know where to start? If this is the case with you, then you are in the right place. Here is an article with all you need to know about how to set up a rooftop vegetable garden?

The concept of rooftop gardening is not new. Roofs covered with soils and plants have been around for years. If you do not have enough space to grow vegetables in your backyard, you do not have to worry anymore.

You can use your terrace to grow fruits and vegetables. It will not only allow you to get natural, fresh, and healthy vegetables but will also add a decorative touch to your terrace. Moreover, they are also environmentally friendly. 

Rooftop Vegetable Garden Requirements

How to start a rooftop garden? If you live in a house with no yard, then rooftop gardens can allow you to grow flowers, vegetables, and edible plants. Rooftop gardens are the green spaces made on the roof of commercial, industrial, or residential structures. You can design them to grow vegetables, give shade, and provide play space. Here are the requirements for terrace vegetable gardens. 

Soil Requirements

You would need properly nourished and conditioned soil to grow healthy and strong vegetable plants. A well-nourished soil allows you to grow different types of vegetables like shallots, spinach, beans, carrots, and potatoes. 

Do not use chemically treated soil as it can seep into your food systems and can also destroy the beneficial worms, bacteria, and other microbes present in the soil. 

Purchase the soil from a good source. Many nurseries sell good quality, well-nourished soil, which is a perfect blend of vermicompost, soil, and compost coir.

You can also make the soil at home. All you need to do is purchase some ingredients, make the compost, and then mix the soil.  

Sun Requirement

The sun requirement depends on the type of plant; however, a rooftop garden requires around six to eight hours of sunlight every day. Check the sunlight patterns over one week to ensure that the sunlight of your rooftop vegetable garden is not obscured by another building.

Monitor the sun in the morning, noon, and evening. It will help you to get an idea of how the sun exposure changes throughout the day. 

Wind Exposure

The wind is stronger on the terrace garden as compared to the ground level, especially if your building is several stories high. Strong or too much wind can damage your plants. You need to install structural windbreakers if there are strong winds on your roof.

You can use a weather vane to monitor wind exposure. In addition to this, you can also use an anemometer or simply stand on the roof and experience the weather. Make sure to water the plants frequently as the wind can dry out the soil easily. 

Plant Seeds

Once your soil is ready to use, you can begin the process of planting the seeds. First of all, plant the seeds in a seedling tray and then transfer them to a container. You can also plant the seeds directly.

If you are planning to use a seedling tray, fill it with the high-quality potting mixture. Play the seeds around an inch deep and then sprinkle some water on them. Once the plant is around three to four inches in height or it has five to six leaves, you can transfer it to a pot. 

While transplanting the plant, avoid the exposure of the root to direct sunlight. It can lead the root to dry up or die. You can opt to transplant the plant in evening timings or perform the procedure of transplantation.

Water Requirements

You need to provide water access to the rooftop garden, whether from a faucet, bib hose, or watering cans. Make sure to provide proper water supply to the crops in the rooftop vegetable water garden. 

Moreover, the winds at the rooftop are strong, and they can dry out the soil. Therefore, you need to frequently water plants. 

Make sure to regularly water the vegetable plants even if they are drought resistant. There should be slight falls at the rooftop so that irrigation and rainwater can drain away easily.

While making rooftop gardens check the gradient of the terrace’s surface before locating the containers. Water seeps from the containers and pots, so it is important to have a proper drain at the terrace. 

The rooftop of your house should also have a secured waterproof membrane. Collect the rainwater in barrels and make sure that the structure of your rooftop is able to bear the added weight. 

Make Raised Beds

Making raised beds close to the walls is a good idea to make rooftop vegetable gardens. You can either use metal raised beds or wooden ones if your terrace supports. 

If you want, you can also make concrete raised beds of big size. They will allow you to how small trees and tall shrubs with regular maintenance, root trimming, and pruning to control the plants adequately. 

Before making the raised beds, make sure to use waterproofing membranes. Also, lay thick root barriers to block the roots and percent them to cause any damage to the terrace. 

You can also create a little bit of elevated raised beds from the roof’s surface. It will keep the raised beds to touch the surface. Moreover, it can also control the roots of the plants from penetrating.

Pest and Disease

In order to control diseases and pests in the rooftop garden, it is better to use Bio-fertilizers and Bio-control agents. You can also spray Neem oil in order to get rid of the sucking pests, which are the biggest issue in rooftop gardening. 

You can also make a solution at home by mixing neem oil and ten-gram soap mixture in ten liters of water. Spray the mixture over affected plants. Moreover, you can opt for spray that is made from chili, garlic, and ginger paste diluted in water. It is a highly effective method for pest control. 

Tips to Choose the Right Vegetables

Now you must be thinking about which plants you can grow in your terrace vegetable garden. Below mentioned are some tips to consider. 

  • The right vegetables for rooftop gardening are the ones that are durable and able to resist the wind and other inclement conditions.
  • Say no to plants with crisp stems.
  • The intense sunlight and wind can create stronger pants that are suitable for rooftop gardens. 
  • Well suited vegetables for rooftop vegetable gardens include carrots, turnips, and beets. They do not have thin central stems. Moreover, they have moderately low growth, which makes them the best choice. 
  • Thick roots help the plants to anchor into the ground, which provides resistance to the wind.
  • You can also grow greens like spinach and lettuce. They are also the right choice for rooftop vegetable gardens. Climbing beans that can withstand exposure to wind are also a good choice. 
  • In order to attain the best results, start growing the vegetables in flats or the same types of containers under nettings or screens. It will keep the soil from drying out. 
  • Use high-quality organic constitutes like compost. 
  • Spread mulch around the plants as it can help to retain the moisture. Initially, transplant the plant into a large container on slightly overcast or cloudy days to prevent heat shock and sun. 

Rooftop Vegetable Garden Design Tips

The best thing about rooftop vegetable gardens is that there is a lack of common pests like rabbits and deer on the rooftop. Here are some tips for rooftop vegetable gardens. 

  • You can use containers of all sizes and shapes in the rooftop garden. It would be better to use containers made of mud as they are environmentally friendly. 
  • Make sure to check the roof loading capacity before making the terrace vegetable garden. You need to include plant containers, plants, and equipment in the garden.
  • The best way to make rooftop vegetable gardens is to use raised beds and containers. You can make different garden designs by growing plants in containers. It is best to use containers as they are portable, light, affordable, and flexible. 
  • When making rooftop vegetable gardens, make sure to keep plants of all sizes. Including small trees, shrubs, and groundcovers help in making the garden attractive.
  • Fertilize the vegetables regularly using organic fertilizers. Do proper research to find out the right fertilizer for your vegetable garden. 
  • Water the garden regularly and deeply. Moreover, prune the plants in order to keep them in good shape and to support healthy growth.
  • Grow the plants in the southern or western face to provide them with the right amount of sunlight.
  • The shade is highly essential for the survival and healthy growth of the plants in rooftop vegetable gardens. Use two layers of shade nets for different types of seasons. 
  • Water the plants in the early morning or in the evening. During hot summers, make sure to water the plants twice. 

Final Words

A rooftop vegetable garden is a perfect idea to grow vegetables at home. It is the best way to get healthy and fresh vegetables. Moreover, it is also a good idea to add a decorative touch to your terrace. All you need to do is use high-quality soil, use the right fertilizers, and provide proper care to the plants. Do share your experience with us by dropping a comment. 


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