growing on the roof

utsharpie(33014)January 31, 2006

well, ive decided to use my roof as growing space since i have no lawn. I plan on using a part of the house where the roof pitch is very low.

the system will be NFT, and the resevoir will be my small water garden in my courtyard. i plan on growing bush variety fruits and veggies.

the added weight will be less than that of a 2Kw solar panel system and the shade and transpiration of the plants will help cool the house in the summer. Not to mention all the extra produce the plants provide. One more added benefit is a biological filtration system for my fish.

any thoughts or questions?

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Eric_in_Japan(z7 Japan)

Sounds like an interesting idea. My only attempts at hydroponics/aquaponics were disasters.

So this is an aquaponics system then? I would hate to think of poor fish living in hydro nutrient solution. But without the hydroponic nutrients, I am worried that you won't get much in the way of fruiting vegetables. Maybe some basil and leaf lettuce may work... Or maybe I worry too much.

What is the vertical from your courtyard water garden to the higest point of your planned NFT system?

Are you worried about algae? What kind of filter will you use?

Will you have backup power?

How is the system anchored to the roof, and how are the plants to be stabilized in case of wind? NFT doesn't give plants much to grab on to. Or will it be covered with a greenhouse?

When you get it set up, post some pictures if you can. I would be interested in seeing it!

Happy Permaculture!
Eric in Japan

Here is a link that might be useful: Aquaponics Journal

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 10:15AM
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well aquaponics does sometimes have nute deficiencies for fruiting plants but a well designed system can handle fruiting plants. mine however will just be leafy greens.

the highest spot from pond level to top of system is 20 feet. with my nft system my net cups will hold some media as well to provide better plant anchorage. i use a combined underwater filter pump with a normal pond filter plus the media in the net cups for my filter system.

im not worried about algae since the tubing and system is opaque, and the pond is stocked with algae busters and eaters.

in case of power failure the nft channels will hold about 1 days worth of water on a really hot day and 2 on a not so hot day.

i plan on building a light weight frame for the system to attach to the house. thats the only part i dont have completely dialed in.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 1:04PM
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Eric_in_Japan(z7 Japan)

Sounds like you have it pretty well planned out! I would love to see some pictures of it when it is all done.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 8:20AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

If you need reference sites, google Greenroof. My greenroof design is going into it's second year on the roof of a garden shed at the Cooperative Extension Office at Indiana/Purdue in Ft Wayne. The most important part of the design is making sure you have sufficient structural support. You may want to hire a structural engineer for those numbers. While the use of non soil growing mediums reduces weight considerably, the water it holds is enormously heavy. The first step is to strip the roof down to the plywood. You don't want to depend on shingles. A frame is constructed to enclose the greenroof and to keep the soil from going elsewhere. EPDM is applied to the roof with generous amounts of waterproofing/adhesive. Any framework for irrigation, soil retension etc. is set inside the frame. A layer of capillary cloth goes on top of the EPDM to even out the water on the roof. You don't want water to settle. After all the framework and irrigation and water movement is taken care of, we put in a mesh to help hold roots in place until the roof is sufficiently root bound. The growing medium is applied. We used 2 parts perlite to 1 part metro mix. We put additional netting over the growing medium to prevent washouts then we planted. The results were excellent. We used perennial sedums mostly. Sandy

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 2:58PM
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that sounds awesome!

im not concerned with the water weight in my system cause there will only be a maximum of 10 gallons running through the system on the roof. when i add this to the weight of the piping it comes out to less than a 2k solar panel system.

my roof is designed to hold 40lbs per squre foot, so im sure it can hold the distributed weight of the entire system plus water.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 12:55PM
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