In the concrete jungle, it can be difficult to find any sign of green. With so many man-made structures crowding out any potential farmlands, urban gardening can seem like an oxymoron. However, to feed a constantly growing population, gardeners are taking to the rooftops to find a new place to grow food.
There is a growing movement towards making use of urban rooftops to support the needs of the world’s population of 7.5 billion people. According to a renowned Waterplex article, urban agriculture could potentially end world hunger and even reduce overall global pollution.(1) With these potential benefits, it may be time to consider building your own rooftop garden.
Creating a rooftop garden can have a variety of benefits for yourself as well as your community. While there have always been many anecdotes regarding the therapeutic nature of gardening, studies show that gardening can reduce depression and anxiety while also improving the overall quality of life and life satisfaction.(2) If you share your rooftop with others, creating a rooftop garden can also help create a community space that allows people to feel involved with their neighbors.
On a larger scale, rooftop gardens have a number of benefits for the planet. By having plants on your roof, you can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and therefore reduce water pollution. Green roofs can also reduce your carbon footprint by cutting the amount of energy you need to heat or cool your house or apartment building. The extra layer of plants on the roof has an insulating effect. Additionally, increasing the space available to grow edible plants will of course help solve our current struggle to feed the world’s massive population.
♦ Building Your Own Rooftop Garden
While it can seem daunting to take to the rooftop to create your own garden, growing a rooftop garden is something you can do yourself. Before you begin, it is important to first assess your roof. Will it support the heavy load that a garden will create? Does it get enough sun to support the plants you want to grow? The location and loading capacity of your roof may limit the growth potential of your plants, but will unlikely make a rooftop garden impossible.
One of the easiest places to start is with a container garden. While not every plant will thrive in a container, many edibles like tomatoes and lettuces will do well. Starting out with a container garden allows you to begin growing quickly without giving too much thought to the structure of your garden. However, for a more permanent rooftop garden, you may wish to build raised planters. This could increase your growth potential by creating more growing space. However, you will want to be careful to choose plants with shallow roots to ensure the integrity of your roof.
♦ Green Roof Care
Once you have created your own urban garden, it is important to care for it. Proper irrigation, mulching, and fertilizing will help keep your green roof alive and thriving. You will probably want to prioritize edible plants that are relatively easy to grow so you can limit the amount of work needed to put into your rooftop garden. It is also essential to check the integrity of the roof on a regular basis to make sure your garden does not do any damage to the home.
With increasing demands on the agricultural industry, people are looking to the rooftops for the next solution to world hunger as well as energy consumption and stormwater management. With the many benefits it can have on your own mental health, as well as the planet, it may be time to consider creating your own rooftop garden. With some creativity and thorough planning, you too can create an urban garden to give back to your community and the planet. ♥