Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roof farm

I had been looking at the skeletons of the tomato plants for weeks and weeks and went up to the roof yesterday to do something about them. Clad in flip flops, jeans,  two sweaters and a woolly hat, I snipped and clipped and yanked and burrowed, and stuffed them into the flapping plastic bags held on my wrist against blowing way over the roof tops. Next door, on Raccoon House, a man with a dust mask went mysteriously up and down the fire escape, with a big broom. I think he is sweeping away the raccoon.

I lowered a big bag of trash down to the terrace along with the cages. 

As I bent over, gathering the greens growing in two pots, a shadow glided by and I looked up in time to see the spread dappled wings of a raptor as it flew no more than a foot higher than the bubbled tar roof of Raccoon House. A squirrel scampered away in the gutter. This same bird startled Estorbo the other day, who was also watching the squirrel, and who had just jumped up for a closer look. The three animals must have been equally surprised.  It is too big for a kestrel, too small for a red tailed hawk. Possibly it is the latter, but a juvenile.

This is a doctors' residence across the way, owned by the LICH. This apartment has been burned out since late spring, I think. We did not see it happen, but noticed the tarpaulin over the blasted windows. Now it flaps open to the elements. Bizarre. They are not big on upkeep.

The spicy microgreen mix left in one trough was fat and lush. So I planted some more. We will see what happens.

The mesclun mixwas a little ragged but still gave enough for a supper salad, along with two nice radishes.

Cold. Time to go in. Feet not responding.

Floated the leaves in a bowl of water, but no worms this time.

The leaves tasted very good, some of the mustard greens sending wasabi-like heat up through the nose.


  1. You should get/make a coldframe for your rooftop, you would love it. Low-tech but extremely useful.

  2. Mmm-yum! I finally pulled my rocket (arugla) a couple of weeks ago as it had run to seed and gone very straggly.What remains was hammered in Friday/Saturday's rain.
    I think it's the cold weather that makes the leaves "go wasabi."

  3. What happens in high winds? I would worry about the pots falling off the roof. Salad leaves look lush. Sarah Raven's website sells seeds for salad leaves which withstand winter, I'm going to check it out.x

  4. Ha, I think I am too much of dilettante :-) Also, see Belinda's comment.

    MIT - I am happy that you can grow rocket - I would have thought too much humidity!

    Belinda, they look flimsy but are quite solid with soil in them. Wind is a problem if they are top-heavy, with tomato tepees. But so far they've weathered two tornadoes, windstorms and a hailstorm. Touch wood. Er..plastic.

  5. yes, humidity knocks most leafy things. If I get them started early enough they are terrific in winter.(my winter, that is.)


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