Friday, April 26, 2013

Restaurant garden

I'm excited to be planting my first restaurant kitchen rooftop garden.  I'll also plant a nice sidewalk-level edible landscape, more for viewing purposes.

My predecessor created this rooftop garden a few summer's ago, but last year he moved on to a larger restaurant "farm" in Manhattan, leaving this roof fallow during the Summer of 2012.  I inherited some good soil, but mostly filled with deep-rooted chickweed, grass, and also a few little tree saplings.

After spending several hours shaking out the weeds, the area was ready.  Nothing too fancy, but the early phase of planting will be simple.  I'll later add some sub-irrigated planters (SIPS) and some warm-weather crops.

I'm using shallow food trays with train-holes.  These will mostly grow shallow-rooted salad greens, mint, and some other vegetables that I find suitable.  The initial planting was on April 11, and there have been a few other staggered plantings of lettuce, arugula, spinach, endive, chard and beets (for greens).  Germination was slow due to low temperatures, but this has also been a blessing in disguise because of the lack-of-rain.  We should have an irrigation system set up sometime in May, but until then I will have to rely on rain and infrequent hose waterings.


A few weeks after the initial plantings, we do have  a lot of sprouts.  Slow progress, but it's coming together.  Some planters have been dug up by squirrels, so I'll re-sow and sprinkle some blood meal to deter the squirrels. 

The sidewalk planters were built in late March.  Now they're thinly planted with simple things like Pansies and English Daisies, just so they have something while pea, fava bean, chard and nasturtium seeds are germinating.  The end result will have sorghum, okra, hibiscus, peppers, chard, and cascading nasturtiums and sweet potatoes.  It will be simpler than my vegetable gardens, but have enough complexity to spark interest from passersby, and set the tone of fresh produce for diners. 

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