You would think that growing vegetables and flowers on a rooftop would present few challenges. Furry critters that plague ground-level gardens and farms are pretty much non-existent when you’re eight floors up. Let’s not forget that squirrels, mice, and rats run amok in New York City and that these creatures love the bounty of an urban garden, whether it be in an empty lot, a stoop, or a fire escape. In some boroughs, we even have raccoons. Yes. Raccoons. Big, lumbering raccoons that will make quick work of all your ears of corn the day before you harvest. Creatures of the feathered variety still target the young shoots and fruit on the roof, but are really of no consequence – not yet anyway.
At Intervale Green our main adversary is unpredictable, inconsistent, and invisible. It wreaks havoc across the roof, leaving plants and trellises uprooted. It is the wind. I was told that the wind would be a huge factor in the success of our farm and I immediately started tracking the wind direction and its effect on our plant beds. I figured I could build a few trellises in its path, train beans or cucumbers on them and they would alleviate the issue.
I greatly underestimated my opponent.
The wind knocked this trellis over three times and my bean trellis twice. I reinforced the trellises to the point that they resembled sturdy lean-tos, to no avail. The wind has overpowered at least a dozen pepper plants, ten tomato plants, and a few basil plants. I have a new plan that consists of anchoring the bamboo poles in small pots full of natural clay to give the trellis more support. We’ll see what happens.
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