Monday, July 30, 2007

The Rooftop Garden

As I mentioned in earlier posts, an organization in Boston creates urban farms, where the produce is used in soup kitchens and to help out families. They are experts at managing a lot of low-maintenance small plots. I approached them about getting some space to begin a cooperative for African women in Boston, and they were kind enough to let me start using part of their rooftop garden very late in the growing season, and also before I had shown any evidence of knowing what I was doing (I still haven't). In South Africa I imagine it would be very near impossible to use communal land to grow produce, so I'm really amazed at this possibility here in Boston.

Pictured here is the larger garden, and one of my small squares (I have 3, but they do not all have plants in them because I began so late). In them are Arugula, summer greens, basil, tomatoes and cabbage. I grew these at the suggestion of the head urban gardener. Being on a roof means that the plants are not protected against the heat, and plants can dry out quickly. Nevertheless, my plants are doing well.

If you have any suggestions for plants that would grow late in the season in the Northeastern United States, please let me know.

Also pictured are the tomatoes that live on our fire escape. They are growing phenomenally well and are laden with tomatoes. We bought 2 tomato plants from Home Depot (now we would go to Busa farms, where we bought our peppers and have our CSA) and put them straight into a container. Their pots were biodegradable and so the roots gradually work through the pots. The container is a storange container, about 9 inches deep, 1.5 feet wide, and 2.5 feet long. We drilled a lot of holes in the bottom to allow good drainage and put in some potting soil.

To come: Finding your local farm and getting a seasonal share to provide you with healthy veggies for the winter.

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