A Thought, A Seed, A Garden

Posted: July 6, 2009 in Uncategorized
 It really started years ago when we had a friend in Haiti who did rooftop gardens using old tires.  Although we never actually had him do one for us, I now and then would think about having a rooftop garden.  Last year we decided to give it a try and we found dozens of old tires, which we put on the roof of the boys’ house and then we went and bought sacks of compost.  And we had our first rooftop garden.  It wasn’t much but it was something, it was a beginning.
The plan has always been to get serious and really put a good size garden on the roof.  So a few months ago Tim Pearson, from Tampa, talked to me about a rooftop garden and I told him to research it, design it and send me the information.  And he did just that.
The group from Indiana came and several of them were given the job of fabricating and attaching to the roof a 30′ by 30′ frame made out steel.  And they did the job, in spite of working under the hot Haitian sun and working with our welding machine that died before the job was finished and then with a rental machine that had only one setting: very hot.  By the time that they left, the frame for the shade cloth was in place and had even been primed and painted.
And then came the group from Texas and Tim Pearson from Florida.  They arrived and to their delight they found the frame done and as well waiting for them were 231 5 gallon buckets, pvc pipe and a couple piles of dirt and sacks of compost. The first thing that they did was to attach the shade cloth that they brought in suitcase onto the frame.  And then on the same day, they put together and filled with dirt 231 buckets.  They with each bucket cut the inside of the cover off to make a false bottom inside the bucket.  About one gallon of water sits below the false bottom and on top of it is about 4 gallons of dirt.  The water rises up and keeps the dirt moist through a three-inch pvc pipe.
The next day, the group planted among other things: sweet corn, sweet and hot peppers, radishes, beans, tomatoes, squash, water melon, cabbage, and to my dismay, someone planted onions.  And to my amazement it was on the fourth day that some of the buckets starting showing green.  Soon I expect that the top of the roof will be turned into a lush beautiful garden.
It began with a thought and now we have another thought.  We plan on growing more vegetables with aquaponics by using the water in the tilapia pool.  Tim, who left today, will draw up the plans and send them to me.  If all goes as we hope, he in September will lead a group from his church to build the aquaponic garden.

Getting the pieces ready

Putting together the buckets

Filling the buckets

After 6 days

Inside of a bucket

Now if you have any tips, suggestions, or hints to help this rooftop garden project be a success, please send them along.

John McHoul


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