Inspired by the racing pigeon coop on the roof next door, Frieda Lim, creator of her thoroughly modern roof farm and garden, and Gordon Hawkins, creator of his own incredible Brooklyn roof garden (more on him in a future post), start discussing, in all earnestness, the how-tos of using pigeon poop as fertilizer.
Frieda is all about learning from, and in turn, educating fellow city dwellers about “modern” farming methods. The funny thing is, the method Frieda is using is not modern at all. She told us about an over 100-year-old patent on sub-irrigated planter systems using pretty much the same technology. Frieda, of course, uses modern materials, often “up-cycling” items that would have been thrown in the landfill, in creating her sub-irrigated roof farm. This mother of a darling preschooler is careful to use a lead-free garden hose and water-tight containers made of “food-grade” plastic to grow her family’s edibles.
In 75 or so Rubbermaid containers on her Brooklyn rooftop, Frieda grows enough veggies to feed her family and entertain extensively. She grows alpine strawberries, edible flowers, spinach, greens, gorgeous hot peppers, radishes, and so much more, for the complex cuisines she enjoys cooking.
After extensive research, Frieda settled on sub-irrigated planter systems (SIPs) as they “produce higher vegetable yields per square foot than any other growing method, including in-ground growing,” she claims. This farming method is inexpensive, wastes no water, is completely mobile and is perfect for urban rooftops. Frieda hopes to have us LOOKING UP at many sub-irrigated roof gardens using her constantly improving methodology as she is experimenting with and teaching about SIPs every chance she gets.
In the next post, we’ll make a return visit to see how PS 333’s now-completed aquaponic roof garden is growing.