Urban Edibles for Rooftop Gardens


Urban Edibles for Rooftop Gardens

February 12, 2010
Photo by: Courtesy Johnny's Selected Seeds

Even city gardeners are hungry for the taste of homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs. Thankfully anyone can have pick-able produce at their fingertips, even if all they have is a rooftop space, a balcony, a small backyard plot or a patio.

Choose plants with compact forms and avoid anything that forms extensive vining stems or oversized fruits. For a skyline garden also look for smaller-leaved plants and ones that are slow to bolt, to preempt the windy, hot conditions found up-top. One easy solution for urban (and also suburban) spaces is to grow edibles in pots, and the selection of vegetables now offered in "patio" or dwarf versions designed for containers is growing every year.

Shallow-rooted edibles like lettuce, radishes, peppers, herbs and cabbage only need a container about 8 inches deep. Veggies that need a bit more room (beets, carrots, onions, bush beans, eggplants) can still be perfectly at home in a 5-gallon container. Fruit trees can be grown in pots at least 3 feet deep, but make sure the containers are substantial enough to stay upright in a stiff wind. Strawberries and some vegetables like small-fruited patio tomatoes can even be grown in hanging baskets. If you have a perfect place for a green wall, try a mix of lettuces or herbs.