Highlighting the development and growth of a 3,000 sq. ft. rooftop production garden in the Historic Walker's Point neighborhood of Milwaukee, WI, this blog offers tools and resources on sustainable urban agriculture. We welcome questions, comments and suggestions as we embark on the largest rooftop production garden in the Cream City.
Facing East (can you spot the Hoan Bridge in the distance?)
View of Downtown (facing North/NE)
Last week I stopped by the Milwaukee Fix building to see a construction update and get some sunny shots from the rooftop view. We are EIGHT WEEKS away from the move and I, for one, can barely wait! I’m already beginning my “shadow research” to see where sunlight falls on the rooftop. But remember, it is still winter (or should I say finally winter!) so the shadows are much longer now than they will be in June-August, but it is good to note, as we will eventually be trying for some year-round production.
While on the roof, I spoke briefly with one of the construction crew working to put pavers on the rooftop. He explained they have put a double layer of the drainage material (seen below) to help capture and release rainwater as it falls on the rooftop. The risk-benefit balance of growing food on a rooftop is that roofs are primarily made to drain water, that is you want the water off the roof as quickly as possible (so it doesn’t leak into the building). But plants and farmers want to retain water, that is keep it around for as long as possible so the roots can drink when thirsty (and so you can enjoy salad when you’re hungry!). Details are still being worked out, but there will be a different drainage system around the production beds (west end of the rooftop) that will try to retain water a little better than the other rooftop areas.
As I described in the Construction Update post on December 11th, the rooftop will also be home to a small yoga/movement studio. The below picture shows the permeable pavers that will let water go through the floor to drain into the cistern under the building while also offering a comfortable support for dancing, stretching, or meditation.
We still have a lot of work to do for the planning and design of the rooftop plants, so stay tuned for dates/times of our community planning sessions!