Vegetable Roof Garden
A look at the life-cycle of a rooftop vegetable farm for a Canadian restaurant—complete with hydroponic planters, a hoop house—including the harvest of beautiful vegetables. See more rooftop gardens.
In the spring of 2010, Parks & Rec, a rooftop vegetable garden, was established on the roof of downtown Toronto restaurant Parts & Labour. It was designed and operated as a for-profit roof farm by the two of us, landscape architect Victoria Taylor, OALA, and trained chef and permaculturalist Katie Mathieu.
Click through the slide show to see the different planters and vegetables up close. And if you want to read more about the project, check out the Parks & Rec blog.
Related: If you're interested in more restaurants with gardens, read our guide, Farm to Table: Restaurants With Gardens.
The 1,800-square-foot farm, run free of chemicals, focused on growing produce for use by its primary client—the restaurant downstairs—and to study the feasibility of a for-profit, pop-up farm-restaurant relationship in an urban rooftop setting.
During the garden's two-year run, from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2011, we had lots of interaction and feedback from the restaurant and various other collaborators, and we both became acquainted with the challenges of this unique practice for landscape design and urban agriculture. We also learned a lot about how to build a rooftop garden for other businesses who might be interested in a similar venture for expansion, education, and public relations.
Left: Planters from the Rooftop Gardens Project.
Custom topsoil arrives for the roof in the spring of 2010.
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Lazy housewife pole beans (from seeds from Urban Harvest) grow in recycled ice-cream buckets, while lemon-pickling cucumbers grow in grain bags.
Baby greens! Wild arugula, salad mix, red oak leaf, and Lola Rosa darkness lettuce sprout in their planters.
Related: Our Greens Glossary is a guide to 14 types of spring greens.
Freshly harvested baby carrots: 'Long Red Surrey,' 'Purple Haze,' and 'Lunar White.'