Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Rooftop Garden; or, The Lone Pepper Pot

Have you ever met a chili pepper plant you didn't like?  I have three -- Fresno Chile, Chile D'Arbol and Shishito.  These three plants comprise the vastness of my new rooftop garden.

I recently posted links on my Facebook page regarding produce that I have delivered to my door because it is local, certified organic and it relieves me of the responsibility of weekly treks to the farmers market.  This post sparked a conversation from my Midwestern friend, Deb, regarding the winter weather and hopeful gardening.  As I live in a condo with no lawn and two balconies, I was soon dreaming about my own planter possibilities.  However, it did not take too long before I was reminded that my two balconies are on the north side of our home so mostly shaded throughout the day.  This is not good for plants which require direct sunlight for most of the day.  Dang.

Another conversation with my Denver friend, Rob, moved quickly from me expressing frustration with my gardening possibilities to the idea of planter gardening on the roof of my five story building.  A garden comprised of a layer of protective liner, dirt and rows of plants would have been the ideal.  However, for me, the red tape would be far too much to force my way through.  And, being a fan of instant gratification, I opted for the more simple container option.  I didn't ask for anyone's permission.  I went for it!  Ha!  Towanda!  Hence, the one pot with three variety pepper plants.  Yes!  It's a start, right?   I figure, this is a good way to gain exposure to the idea of rooftop gardening.  This one pot is something I can build upon.  I have dreams of tomatoes, radishes and garlic.  Maybe onions?  But this is where I have begun.

Whilst still contemplating the idea, I found myself pulling into my local Armstrong nursery.  There I found vast varieties of pepper plants, tomatoes, etc.  And, I decided upon my three.  I considered the tomatoes, but figured it might be best to start slowly.  I wouldn't want to overwhelm myself to the point of complete abandon of the entire idea.

For not much money at all, I brought home the three plants and a bit of potting soil and set to gardening on my kitchen floor.

I placed the plants into one large container and added enough soil to nourish them both now in their infancy and later when they are larger with more root space needs.

Then, I climbed the three stories (from our second floor unit) to the roof with my pot and camera in hand.  After forcing my way through the unfrequented door, I found a space that I hope will support my plants solar and wind protection needs.  After walking around and testing the breeze, I chose this space against the southern wall of the northern stair well.  Can you see it?  It's like a game of Where's Waldo?.  Here's a hint: it is not an air conditioning unit.  See it now?

You may notice, however, a certain tilt to the right (or East, in this case).  My concern for my plants is the on shore flow (ocean breeze).  The kind Armstrong lady who assisted me in realizing my gardening dream insisted that I wouldn't need to support my plants with a trelice like you would need for tomato plants.  Yet, my farmer instincts tell me that perhaps a tad of support from a stick and small amount of twine would be of harmless benefit.  I'll let you know what comes of this idea.

So, here we are.  Rooftop Container Gardening 101, Day 1.   Currently, Google Weather for my zip code says:
59°F | °C

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: W at 17 mph
Humidity: 55%

I sure hope my plants like this.

Thank you to Deb and to Rob for planting the seeds.  Ya'll come back and check on my garden real soon.  Ya hear?


  1. Lovely and inspiring. Chariots of Fire in every arena of life! :)

  2. That is so awesome! You're going to be offering produce to the whole complex come late July!
    You know, fresh herbs are easy too, and they'll grow in a window - all year long...
    I'll be checking back to see how these peppers prosper!

  3. i once tried to grow um.. idk how to say it in english but Yerba Buena... chamomile? im not sure but it was a failure haha.

    Perhaps when im back in the states you shall give me a taste of ur chili :) mmh i miss salsa [they dont have that here :( ]

  4. It is always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

    How about a box garden next?