My Great Outdoors: Victoria's Roof Deck Vegetable Patch

Name: Victoria
Location: Somerville, MA
Type of space: Roof deck
Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: We live in Somerville, MA, and our condo building has a lovely roof deck space that receives ample sun. Having grown up in a house with a huge herb, vegetable, and fruit producing backyard, I knew I wanted to utilize this outdoor space for growing at least a little something. Although the summer has been fairly cool so far in the Boston area, our makeshift vegetable and herb patch has been doing well so far!

How did you create it? We were limited in what we could grow by both the space itself and the weather conditions. As the roof deck is a shared space, we stuck with smaller containers so that they can easily be moved around (and taken indoors in inclement weather.)

Most of the plants were started from very small seedlings or direct from seed indoors. I love the history and diversity of heirloom plants, so I attempted to choose as many heirloom varieties as possible. Although a few of the plants aren't really best suited to containers, I always figure that it can't hurt to try. I also had to include a catnip plant for the future enjoyment of my own kitty, Rudy!

There are also a few smaller pots that I have put on the actual deck. Three of these are extra special to me because they are cuttings of my mom's bay leaf and fig trees that I carried on the plane with me from Southern California after a recent visit home.

On the roof, it can get quite windy (especially during late spring/early summer) so we arranged plants so that the more resistant and established ones (like our large tomatoes and cucumber) shield the smaller, newer plants (our basil and catnip.)

Recommended store, site, product or resource? Seed Savers Exchange (seedsavers.org) is an excellent resource for learning about and purchasing heirloom seeds. In the Cambridge area, Pemberton Farms stocks seedlings of many heirloom tomato varieties (this is where I purchased my Cherokee Purple and Black From Tula seedlings) as well as herbs, vegetables, and flowers. For general supplies, Home Depot is always a good place to look.