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On this cool, breezy Tuesday evening, Slow Food Chicago held a dinner featuring Seedling Farm fruits. When Helen and Micheal Cameron, Uncommon Ground owners bought the property in 2007, they saved the historic building dating from 1908 saved from demolition. Since the Camerons are serious promoters of local, seasonal, family-farmed, and organic food when possible as well as local products, providers and workers, their menus reflect those principles. Chef Brian Millman and his crew prepared a first course of a flavorful summer salad of roasted beets, plums, toasted walnuts, and goat cheese with mixed greens and a champagne vinaigrette. The dinner, finished off with a peach and blueberry napoleon with melon gelato, satisfied in hitting many summer notes. With regard to the plants and their containers for your rooftop garden, the choice is not nearly so narrow as you might think, given the exposed site.
For the heavier garden containers, remember to spread the load and give them a small deck of their own if the roof is not already covered in this way. If your rooftop garden is strong enough to take a raised bed, you are in luck, for most plants will be happier with their roots less confined and the compost will not dry out so quickly, especially if you line the beds with plastic sheeting or a coat of bituminous paint. All the usual methods of making a raised bed can be used, but remember that if one side of the bed is against an existing structural wall, you must install a serious vertical damp-proof course if you are not to cause real problems. Ideas for roof gardening could include lightweight raised beds, albeit a little primitive, but they can be made quite cheaply by using chicken-wire, strengthened in some way by timber battens or strong galvanised wire, which you then line with plastic and fill with compost and drainage material in the usual way. Ivy of course, Vinca, Cerastium tomentosum, Aubrieta, Alyssum and all the other bushy, spreading little plants would do the trick. Whatever kind of raised bed you decide upon, they will all need a good layer of drainage material at the bottom and some weep-holes as well, although these will not be necessary for a bed made of peat blocks. It is amazing how many plants will thrive on a rooftop garden if you site them sensibly and give them a little care and attention. Hollies, cotoneasters, viburnum tinus, the taller euonymus, yew and pittosporums are all tolerant of the winds and, although Privet is not always regarded as being especially wind resistant, I have used it on some very exposed roofs with good results. Within these outer windbreaks, a vast range of plants will thrive, and many will particularly enjoy the good drainage that raised beds and containers provide. Roof gardening can be very rewarding – many fruit and vegetables are as charming as they are useful, whilst the herbs are both, and fragrant as well.
These days, you can buy fruit-trees grown on dwarfing-rootstocks, and these are the ones to go for. Furthermore, if you are interested in extending your home and potentially bringing some of your garden indoors, you could consider adding a conservatory to your property. The modern design is inspired by Asia and the architectural style, but with the recognition of the tropical environment. Photos from a trip to Egypt Last April I was traveling in Egypt, one of those must-see destinations for any traveller thanks to its great archaeological wealth. Chasing the ice: glaciers seen like never before James Balog is a recognized and award-winning photographer, lover and the mountain with studies in geography and geomorphology. 50 photos of New York City in HDR There are cities that do not need presentation. This is a luxury hotel in the Riviera Maya next to a beach that seems to pool (in Maroma Beach) Some time ago we detallabamos in Tips how to choose a hotel in the Mayan Riviera. Coca Castle Other unique, Coca Castle is a fortress located in Coca, Segovia, Castile and Leon community. Tahiti (Polynesia) In the largest island in French Polynesia there are plenty of options to choose from. Educate cat and they understand – 40 pictures of cute cats Cat behavior is enviably noble. A medieval jewel in France (city of Auxerre) Very close to Paris , you will find cities and towns with a particular beauty, they deserve to make an extra stop on the roadmap. Photos of Frankfurt am Main City This is a photo of Frankfurt am Main City, it is a one of the most beautiful cites in Germany Country. How Does Shutter Speed Work In this article we will discuss the second element for controlling the exposure of a photograph, the shutter speed. Top stock pictures of Havana Havana is a beautiful place and capital of Cuba. Isle of Skye island in Inner Hebrides of Scotland Isle of Skye is the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Best pictures of Baku City This is a photo of Baku City, it is a one of the most great cites in Europe.
When the desert is covered in snow A sea of sand dunes covered with snow, or an arid zone where snow an unexpected day covers a landscape so it seems magical.
Elevated Courtyard — This second-story garden helped children grow 1,000 pounds of vegetables last year.
The Gary Comer Youth Center Roof Garden is an after-school learning space for youth and seniors in a neighborhood with little access to safe outdoor environments. Located in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood, the Gary Comer Youth Center offers a safe, welcoming after-school space for indoor activity.
The landscape architect worked closely with the architect and donor to develop a vision for a green roof to include a flower and working vegetable garden, and suggested that the center employ a full-time garden manager to enhance educational program development and manage maintenance. Garden Stripes — Linear strips of recycled tire pavers are the framework for the garden and delineate the geometry of the corridor’s viewing windows.

While reducing climate control costs and providing an outdoor classroom, the green roof is able to withstand enthusiastic children digging for potatoes and carrots with garden tools. Located on the second floor over the center’s gymnasium, the garden is surrounded by the circulation corridor and classrooms of the third floor. The evening started on the 2,500-square foot rooftop garden, where we sipped on summer mixed berry shooters dotted with goat cheese cream and fresh herbs and refreshing “Agua Fresco Local Koval,” a mix of cucumber agua fresco with tarragon from the garden, Koval Rye Chicago, Koval Ginger Liqueur, and maraschino-style ground cherry as we wandered about the cedar boxes of produce that are used for the restaurants two locations (also at 3800 N. They proceeded to have the building extensively rehabbed, including digging the basement an extra five feet and adding steel beams to support the extra weight of the planned rooftop garden that eventually included four tons of dry weight soil—six tons when wet. As we moved downstairs and inside the building’s dark wood-paneled main room, we continued to enjoy the bounty of summer that highlighted fruits from Seedling Farm in South Haven, Michigan.
This salad was followed by an apricot and mustard glazed pork loin accompanied by a crispy potato cake, sauteed swiss chard and a slather of plum apple sauce.
When Slow Food Chicago organizes a dinner with Uncommon Ground, I jump at the chance if I can. Take expert advice, but in many cases you can give the wall two or three coats of an exterior wall-proofing substance such as Aquaseal or Synthaproof and then line the bed with plastic sheeting. The effect should be something like a natural mound rather than a bed, and would fit quite well into an informal scheme. The blocks are light to handle when dry, but once they are on the roof they must be soaked before use.
Weep-holes are placed at the bottom of the retaining walls to allow surplus water to drain away.
These should be perforated at the top and sides to allow the water to enter the pipes and to be carried out through the sides of the bed at a point which will drain to the nearest outlet or down-pipe. The outer ring of planting will have to be able to stand up to the wind and many of our native plants will do this.
Tough climbers include the Ivies, Clematis montana and its varieties, Honeysuckles, Jasminum officinale, the dreaded Russian Vine and the delicate looking Passion Flower will all do well in rooftop garden situations.
You will be able to find plants for both shaded and sunny positions, as well as those that will be happy in either. Potatoes, strawberries, alpine strawberries and many herbs, especially parsley and the thymes, can be grown in barrels of wood, plastic or clay, which have had planting holes provided all over their sides. It is even possible to buy trees where two or three varieties have been grafted on to a single trunk. While the peat-based composts are light to handle and excellent for many plants, they do not have much holding power for large plants, which need something a bit more solid to help them withstand the winds which may whip up around your rooftop garden. Rooftop gardens offer numerous opportunities to replenish much of what has been destroyed.Today Joe and Patti visit Chicago’s famous City Hall rooftop garden. There was a lot of space on the site is free, so we create a garden on the roof to capture rainwater from the surface. Last year alone, it produced over 1,000 pounds of organic food used by students, local restaurants and the center’s cafe. Its 8,160-square-foot green roof is a model for using traditionally underutilized space for urban agriculture and exceptional in its balance of an aesthetic vision with practical needs.
The result is a garden used in extremely creative ways for horticultural learning, environmental awareness, and food production.
Soils 18–24 inches deep allow for viable food production, including cabbage, sunflowers, carrots, lettuce and strawberries. Floor-to-ceiling windows transform this working garden into a highly graphic viewing garden as students move from one classroom to another. The pork served was from Slagel Family Farm, where earlier in the week the entire kitchen staff visited to watch and learn how an entire pig is processed. The menu always boasts a creative blending of seasonal ingredients that pleases the palate and the evening’s informal agenda includes some sort of educational aspects.
This site is where I record my explorations around Chicago and other places I travel to in search of good and interesting things.
If your roof is concrete, you could consider covering it with gravel which would complete the rustic effect, but you would have to fit some metal gauze over the drain-traps and down-pipes to prevent the gravel being washed into them. They can be laid like bricks or stone, and the walls should slope slightly backwards with soil sprinkled between each layer and plants inserted as you build. This is particularly necessary in the wet, windy months, when the plants could drown if not given effective drainage. These pipes should be covered by a good layer of drainage material which can be crocks, bits of old bricks, stones, pebbles, gravel or fired-clay granules, such as Hortag. I have grown the eucalypts, fatsias, mahonias, ligustrums, choisyas, yuccas, cordylines, skimmias, roses, rhododendrons, hebes, hydrangeas, a variety of silver darlings and a host of others, as well as fruit, vegetables, herbs, bulbs and bedding plants of all kinds on a rooftop garden with much success. Whatever garden container and soil you choose, try to fit some kind of drip tray underneath the container, as this will help to prevent the roof becoming stained and slippy, which can easily happen as a result of the constant watering and feeding that the plants will need on your rooftop garden.
Although a welcome respite among concrete and steel, rooftop gardens offer so much more and it is one of the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint.Air quality is positively affectedAtop the eleven-story structure and amidst the 20,000 square foot garden, Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner, Department of the Environment for the City of Chicago discusses Mayor Daly’s vision with Joe.
Sleek and graphic, it turns the typical working vegetable garden into a place of beauty and respite. The garden provides the crowning touch to an award-winning building recognized for its bold architecture. Sharp differences between ground temperatures and those on the roof mean that the rooftop is in a different climate zone and can be utilized throughout the winter.

Plastic lumber made from recycled milk containers forms pathways within the garden that align with the courtyard garden’s window frames. You get to learn more about the food you eat and the people behind it, making your meal more interesting—and memorable.
Not only do I find it fun to check out food shops, markets, artisans, and restaurants to bring pleasure to everyday eating, but I also like to find things that enhance everyday living.
Long concerned about the environment and inspired by a trip to Germany, Mayor Richard Daley championed an example he wanted emulated throughout the city.
House is a great example of modern architecture and sustainable use of the site as best as possible . Metal circles scattered throughout the garden serve as elements of artistic expression even as they function as skylights, bringing outdoor illumination to the building’s gymnasium and cafe below. There’s even Chicago’s—and the country’s—“first certified rooftop farm” you can check out on top of the building. While Natalie Pfister, Uncommon Ground rooftop farm coordinator, described the array of produce being harvested (including 17 varieties of tomatoes) this first full season, we nibbled on excellent appetizers of shredded smoked chicken and tart cherry BBQ sauce on crispy blue corn polenta cakes and lamb lollipops with ground cherry jam. So join me as I wander the city in search of distinctive foods—plus a few other interesting finds.
You will have to keep the bed well watered as the blocks would shrink and eventually crumble if allowed to dry out. Odd lengths of plastic piping are often found on skips and so are broken bricks and other rubble, so you should be able to do all this cheaply enough. These conifers are best planted when small, before their roots have been constricted by a container. Although not an inexpensive undertaking the benefits are many.Many factors must be taken into consideration such as weight load, waterproofing and drainage.
One way to prevent this would be to provide the bed with a length of perforated hosepipe which you could easily connect to a tap and so keep them gently irrigated.
For an added precaution, I would place a small piece of metal or nylon gauze over the inside of the weep-holes and indeed over the drainage holes of any roof-top containers, as the less gunge that escapes the better. And, oh, by the way, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily, and the food is alone is worth a visit. You could also use the thin fibreglass carpet-underlay that I mentioned earlier for this purpose. The City Hall garden is mostly an example of extensive design in which most of the landscape is only 3-6 inches deep.
Only where the trees are planted is the soil mixture up to 18 inches deep.Although designed with natives and non-natives, mostly prairie plants were used to create an inviting habitat for birds and insects.
Sedum is under-planted throughout the garden acting as a blanket to hold the root systems together.Studies have shown that on an overcast day at 74° the temperature on the roof is 74° reducing the pressure on indoor heat and air demands. A black tar roof would be 156° and even a highly reflective white roof would be in the range of 105-110° comparatively.
Air quality is increased, storm water runoff is managed more effectively and the heat island effect is greatly mitigated by green roof installations.Green roof expert Ed SnodgrassDrilling down the details necessary for green roof installation Joe consults with expert Ed Snodgrass author of several books on the subject. Twelve years ago Ed began the first green roof nursery in North America and has seen increasing demand in urban areas.Citing that a new generation of civil engineers is looking into the benefits of green roofs, he feels the primary drivers are storm water management, energy savings and moderating the heat island effect.
Built atop a parking deck and commuter rail at Millennium Station the 2.5 acre garden is the result of Mayor Daley’s influence and an international design competition. Jennifer Davit, Director and Head Horticulturalist, explains to Patti how the designers, Gustafson, Guthrie, Nichol of Washington state focused on texture in addition to color, provided for four seasons of interest including design principles from which everyone could learn.
Piet Oudolf chose plants intended for the area’s climate and ease of maintenance.Joe brings it all back home at the small but highly productive garden of restaurateurs Helen and Michael Cameron.
The 640 square foot plantable area of the 2,000 square foot roof deck provides fresh, organic produce for their Chicago restaurant, Uncommon Ground. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening.
This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.Enjoy this episode? Email Address First Name Comments John Camilleri saysOctober 12, 2010 at 7:13 PM trying to find locations csa farms in my neighbor hood or near by. Russell saysOctober 10, 2010 at 6:46 PM I thought it was time I finally post another novella. I’ve been slacking in the writing department, at least away from work anyhow.Love those rooftop gardens! Something about homemade croutons, salad, mozzarella, torn oregano, basil, parsley…yeah. But I did know that they are most beautiful fresh and sliced to display those vibrant colors on the inside.Nice opening by the way. Required fields are marked *CommentName * Email * Website Sign up for our newsletter or blog, and updates on new episodes, videos and more!

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