Green Roof!

September 2011.  Deadline.  Deadline.  Handing in of research project entitled “Urban Agriculture in a green roof system”.  By Zayaan Khan.  No word from supervisor or lecturer, no support, no yay, no nay, no maybe.  No guidance, no word, no response to e-mails, to phone calls, to going-via-other-lecturers.  Pressure.  So what to do?  Can’t wait around, plants don’t listen to deadlines, nope.  So.  Just.  GO!

so much measuring, and re-measuring and working out quantities, calling suppliers, explaining the situation, expressing quantities and ideas.  surprisingly a lot of suppliers didn’t think it would work, this plan, this study.  Especially the Roofing Expert.  I can’t wait though, I can’t really change my plans and now I’m finding I really want this to work.

The more research I do the more people I am put into contact around the world who have made this work.  It’s doable!

Constant fretting though, the anxiety and stress… and all on a student budget!

And then the weekend I decide to install is the same weekend that my friend Serisha Letchmiah decides she needs to submit an entry for the DFA’s My Town 2011 Competition.  So we filmed the Saturday: setting up, laying soil and compost and on the Sunday, the planting.  Sunday night was editing and Monday morning submitting.

The documentary was shortlisted and was screened at the Awards Ceremony this past Saturday at the Encounters Film Festival.  Serisha, seriously, WELL DONE, you DID it, I am proud to have been a part of it!

I decided to run rows of beetroot because it is a crop that may still be grown in winter and because of their quick sow-to-harvest time ( roughly 12 to 12 weeks in the winter) as opposed to something obvious and leafy, like chicory or lettuce.  If beetroot work in soil space of approximately 20cm depth then surely I have proved the hypothesis?

Much nail-biting with regard to waiting for the beets to push through, which they DID, about 15 days after sowing.  Keep in mind we’re entering Winter here in the fair Cape, chilly nights, lots of wet, wet days.  So I suppose it was fine that I didn’t soak them before sowing.

Breaching Beets

As it stands, tomorrow I will thin them out, I’ve lost about half of them due to various factors (sneaky neighbours cat getting in and using the roof as a private litterbox), some damping-off, some just deciding not to make it.  There are more than enough for me to use to thin out.


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Filed under Green roof systems, Horticulture, Research, Urban agriculture

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