Visionaire Veggies

Vegetables in the Battery Roof-top Garden are grown in six 4’x4′ beds, and along approximately  30 linear feet of 6′ high vertical screening.  The screens accommodate both vegetables traditionally grown on vertical supports (such as peas and pole beans), as well as those vining vegetables traditionally taking large patchs of ground and thus usually impractical for a green roof (such as melons and squash).

The square foot method, popularized by Mel Bartholomew (Square Foot Gardening, see also, allows maximum density and thus is particularly appropriate for a green roof where space is precious.  In addition, it is a method that emphasizes the adequacy of shallow soil depths (provided soil rich in organic matter has been used in raised beds).

The vegetable garden at the Battery Roof-top Garden is intended to demonstrate that a much wider variety of vegetables than is normally attempted can be grown on a green roof.  Vegetables attempted in the first season include:

  • Arugula (Astro)
  • Basil (Serata, Etruria genovese, and Opal (dark purple))
  • Beets (Detroit Red, Golden, Red Wonder)
  • Bok Choi
  • Beans, Bush (first crop: Bean Contender and Stringless Green Pod; second crop: Trifono and Scarlet Emperor, Kentucky Blue (failed))
  • Beans, Pole (Scarlet Runner and Dragon’s Tongue)
  • Broccoli (Waltham 29)
  • Carrots (Scarlet Nantes, Napoli, Purple Haze, Dragon)
  • Cauliflower (Freemont, Snowball Y, Purple O’Sicily)
  • Celery (D’Elny)
  • Eggplant (Japanese Pickling)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce and greens (Marvel of Four Season, Speckled Trout, Mizuna, Erba stella, Ahmish deer tongue)
  • Onions (Yellow Spanish, Purple, Mini Red Purplette)
  • Melon (Pride of Wisconsin)
  • Parsley (Italian Flat Leaf)
  • Peas (Sugar Ann Snap, Mammoth Melting)
  • Peppers (Montana Wonder, Early Red Sweet, Yankee bell, Peacework, Quadrata Asti Giallo, Jimmy Nardello’s, Early Red Sweet and Fushimi)
  • Potatoes (French Fingerling, Norwich Red, Butterball and All Blue)
  • Scallions
  • Spinach (Melody (spring), Malibar (summer), Cardinal, Space and Blooms Dale (fall))
  • Squash (Hopi Pale Grey, Walthorn Butternut, Butternut rugosa, Violina gioia, Zucchini Black Beauty, Wyatt’s Wonder, Turk’s Turban)
  • Tomatoes (Cuban Yellow Grape, Anna Aasa, Brown Berry, Early Red Cheif, Black Zebra, Topaz, Green Zebra, Money Maker, Caspian Pink and Beaver Lodge 6806 Slicer)

A robust roof-top cold frame allows the harvesting of greens and root crops throughout the New York winter, and for the growing of seedlings throught the season for eventual transplant into the main beds. 

See categories and posts for information about success and failures with particular varieties, as well as information on harvest times and yields.  See “Failures” category of information on seeds sown that did not emerge, or varieties attempted that could not tolerate the harsh conditions of a 35th floor green roof.   See “Meals and Menus” category for information on meals prepared exclusively with the harvest from the Battery Roof-top Green Garden.

4 Responses to Visionaire Veggies

  1. Angelo and I are residents of the Visionaire. Angelo is one of the partners of Bagatelle restaurant in the Meatpacking district. We are both looking forward to seeing the garden tomorrow evening.

    Warmest regards,

    Maryse Thomas

  2. How deep is the soil?

    • There are shallow, medium and deep beds for the vegetables. Including the 4″ base layer of soil below all of them, the depths are approximately 18″ for the deep, 12-14″ for the medium and 10-12″ for the shallow.

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