Ready, Set, Grow: My Urban Rooftop Gardening Story

You have probably noticed that I broadcast something (pics, recipes, and more) from my garden just about every day. As summer 2016 draws to a close, I wanted to say a little bit more about this project because it is so meaningful to me.

People often ask me how I started the rooftop garden, or how I became an “expert gardener.” (I find this especially funny because I’m not sure what I’m doing most of the time!) 

It all started three years ago, when I moved to a building with a huge roof deck and then watched Growing Cities, an urban gardening documentary that fueled my inspiration.I petitioned several times before earning tentative approval from my building’s property managers.

The garden wasn’t much of anything at first. I went to the dollar store and bought some pots and soil in which I planted a few types of herbs from seed. So that was it. The “garden” started small, just herbs in pots, really. But I used them every day, wrote recipes incorporating the herbs, and froze and dried a bunch to use through the winter. To most people it didn’t seem like much, but to me, it was a garden…and it was absolutely wonderful!

The second season, I planted my seeds for herbs again, and I additionally tried growing some tomato and cucumber in the pots. The plants were small but they did produce some delicious fruit! People were starting to notice what I was doing, and I was just happy to chat with neighbors and share some of the herbs with them, too.

Now we are up to the present – 2016 is the rooftop garden’s third year. This past March, I worked with my property management team to greatly expand the garden. We don’t need potted plants anymore. Landscapers helped us design our present community rooftop garden, an entirely new gated area with tons of beautiful space and planting beds.

I’m an urban rooftop gardener. It’s official –I even joined the New York City Community Garden Coalition. I consider my experience and knowledge to be novice-level, but I am learning quickly!  I read lots of advice online and ask questions whenever I can.  I also use and highly recommend the free garden design resources offered online by Better Homes and Gardens.

My success with growing can mostly be attributed to the fact that I enjoy being in the garden so much and also because I embrace the trial and error process.

The most important thing that I have learned:

Community gardening is more about growing relationships than growing plants. I’m talking about growing relationships with our neighbors, and the relationships between people and the food we plant, nurture, harvest and enjoy together.  


I am so happy to share this with everyone!

This project is so special to me, and I finally got the time to post photos…just so you all know what I grew last summer.

I am doing fall planting now, so more news and pics to come very soon!

One more thing : I give tours all the time, so if you are interested in coming by please do not hesitate to contact me to arrange a visit!

See you soon!


Sept 2016 – marigolds help attract bees
radishes are mature in 3 weeks when grown from seed


habanero pepper
the tomato corner
look at that swiss chard!
cucumber vines sprawling
lots of peppers!
cucumbers on the vine


view of the garden in early summer


cherry tomato
swiss chard

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