In recent days, rooftop gardens have gained a lot of popularity in urban areas. Due to limited spaces in these areas, many people opt to utilize their rooftops to plant different kinds of vegetables, especially when they do not have a backyard garden. One can choose to grow the vegetables on raised beds, or make use of containers. Raised gardens are ideal for spacious rooftops, while containers are suitable for limited spaces. Below are some of the rooftop garden vegetables that do well:
Lettuce is among the easiest vegetables to grow in your rooftop garden. They do not require much space to develop. Lettuces can be planted in containers, as they have shallow roots. They also do well in raised beds. The vegetables can be grown in the form of seeds or seedlings. They mature fast and are very easy to grow. For most lettuce varieties, harvesting starts at eight weeks, and they can be harvested repeatedly.
Lettuce is rich in fiber, vitamins, sodium, and potassium. If there is too much sunlight, it is advisable to provide shade to prevent the soil from drying out. For high production, use soil with compost and organic matter. Do not overwater the plants as they will die of root rot.
Beans are easy to grow. They do not need frequent application fertilizers as they are able to fix their own nitrogen. When weeding them, you should be careful not to disturb their root systems. You can grow beans along trellises (we like these) or near the walls of the garden. The use of trellises increases the vertical space. They tend to climb and produce high yields.
Use fertilizers rich in nitrogen for maximum yields. The vegetables are rich in proteins, and a variety of minerals and vitamins.
Peppers are rich in potassium, riboflavin, and a variety of vitamins. Banana peppers are best grown from seeds. The vegetables do well in less windy areas that are exposed to at least 6 hours of sunlight.
Banana peppers require regular watering. However, too much water may result in waterlogging, and eventually, the death of the plants. The vegetables have many health advantages, such as preventing illnesses like gout, arthritis, and cancer.
Carrots have high levels of fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, and a variety of vitamins. Carrots should be harvested when they are still small, for sweeter tastes. Keep the soil moist, too, as dry soils make them taste bitter. They require light, well-drained aerated soil to grow well.
Carrots need adequate, constant watering. However, do not overwater them as they will be waterlogged. When they are almost maturing, reduce the amount of water as it will make them develop cracks. Carrots require fertilizers with high levels of potassium and phosphorous. Depending on the growing conditions, types of carrots, and climate, carrots are ready for harvest 60-75 days after planting.
Radishes mature fast. They come in varieties of different shapes and colors. Most of the types are ready for harvest between 3-5 weeks after planting. Radishes require exposure to the sun, as lack of it leads to slow growth.
These vegetables thrive well in porous, well-drained soils. Watering should be regular to prevent cracking of the roots. When they are mature, do not take too long before harvesting them as they can turn woody, crack, or have a bitter taste.
Tomatoes require to be planted in deep soils, to allow a healthy root system. You should avoid overhead irrigation as wet tomato foliage is more susceptible to diseases. When planting them, ensure there is adequate spacing to avoid the spread of fungal infections from one plant to the other.
The best time to harvest tomatoes is when you do not struggle to pluck them from their branches. The vegetables are rich in niacin, potassium, iron, and a variety of vitamins required in the body.
They do well in areas with full sunlight, hence a good option for your rooftop garden. However, peas should be planted in early spring or late summer as hot weather tends to reduce their production.
When they mature, erect twigs on the length of every plant, which will act as climbing support. They need frequent watering, especially during the flowering stage for maximum yields.
In beets, you can harvest the root or the leafy vegetables. The roots are rich in vitamin c, potassium, and iron. The leafy parts also contain zinc and magnesium. Beets are ready for harvest between 45-6 5 days after planting. Ensure you water them regularly.
If they lack water, the beetroots will become tough and hardy. Keep them free of weeds to avoid competition for water and nutrients. These vegetables thrive well in loamy acidic soil. Beets are not susceptible to diseases and pests; hence, they are easy to manage. They are used for making salads and desserts.
What to consider before planting the vegetables:
1. Weather conditions in your area
Although vegetables require sun in order to grow, too much of it will cause sunburn. The vegetables will also need to be watered frequently, as a result of water loss. Shades can be erected in the garden to reduce the effect of the sun on the crops.
Generally, your rooftop vegetable garden is exposed to strong winds. Choose vegetables that can tolerate the conditions. Low growing vegetables such as carrots and lettuce are a good option. For the climbing vegetables, it is advisable to select the dwarf variety, as very ling ones can break easily. Trellises are an excellent option to reduce the speed of the wind in the garden.
2. Maintenance levels
Some vegetables require frequent watering, application of pesticides, and fertilizers. Before planting them, research on the maintenance practices they need. Non-exotic plants are usually less prone to diseases compared to exotic ones.
3. Water availability
You will need to water your rooftop vegetable garden frequently; else, the crops are going to die. Therefore, you should have a reliable source of water. You can erect storage tanks and adopt a drip irrigation system.
Advantages of growing vegetables in your rooftop garden
A rooftop garden has so many benefits. They include:
- You are assured of healthy vegetables. Growing your own vegetables allows you to control what ends up in your table. You dictate the types of chemicals and fertilizers to use.
- You save money and time for going to buy vegetables in the grocery.
- Fresh vegetables have high levels of vitamins. You can pick them and cook immediately. Vegetables from the grocery are usually picked earlier, and then stored. They end up losing their freshness.
- It is a good form of exercise. Gardening offers good physical and mental activity, with the reward of getting fresh vegetables at long last.
- A garden adds to the beauty of your building.
Planting a vegetable rooftop garden have so many advantages. If you do not have a backyard garden, your roof will provide an excellent platform to grow your favorite vegetables. Having your garden comes with satisfaction if you have some free time. Whether you have a large rooftop or a small one, a vegetable rooftop garden is worth trying out.