Reed PughSuburban vegetables reach new heights

A friend recently introduced me to someone who has true passion for vegetable gardening in limited space. This new friend of mine has built a vegetable garden on the roof of her new garage! They recently rebuilt the garage with the intention of putting a deck on its roof to grow vegetables and keep bees. It is a tasteful and beautiful use of the space on display for the whole neighborhood.

Reed Pugh suburban garage with beautiful new vegetable roof garden

Unfortunately, not everyone liked the proposed idea and tried to block its construction. In the end, the roof top was built and it is a statement for a movement of people growing their own food.

Raised vegetable beds on the rooftop garden deck

Raised vegetable beds on the rooftop garden deck

Check out this article on a Montreal couple who were told to dig up their front yard vegetable garden because of ridiculous local restrictions.

As the trend of knowing where your food comes from continues, Farmer’s Markets and local vegetable stands are becoming a part of people’s regular weekly shopping. Farm Shares, where growers deliver a weekly ‘Box’ of what is in season are now the norm: Wilson Farm CSA – LexingtonSienna Farms CSA – Sudbury and a veeeery cool organic farm in Lincoln with a lots of pick your own veggies and fruit: Blue Heron Organic Farm


Raised garden troughs with early transplants and tomatoes in water tubes

Raised garden troughs with early transplants and tomatoes in water tubes

More and more people are starting to really work at growing some or all of their vegetables in season, and while you don’t have to be as adventurous with a roof top garden, a small plot to grow a few basics can go a long way to connecting you to your food. And the most awesome part of this garden, is that her children love to work in the garden and are learning to harvest and cook what they grow.

Another cool part of the set-up is the rain barrel that you see in the ground level photo. She has a pump that brings that water back up to the roof to irrigate the vegetables. Maybe we can all aspire to bring our food back home and grow some favorites.

I was on the ‘roof’ last week and most of her indoor crop was out. The weather in New England has been tremendous this spring, but were are still three weeks away from being frost free. If we are lucky maybe we can get some early crops while avoiding frost damage.

My modest raised bed with lettuce blend & first row of radish & carrot

My modest raised bed with lettuce blend & first row of radish & carrot

I pushed the timelines on sowing my lettuce, carrots, radish and arugula, with the hope that the weather would cooperate. If it turned bad and wiped everything out then I would have started again. This weekend I sowed my second round of carrots and radish. Next week I’ll sow the bush beans and put in the herbs. As you can see in my modest raised bed, I’ll be harvesting some lettuce in the next couple of weeks!

Her simple honey bee hive in action

Her simple honey bee hive in action

A funny story from my visit: Having worked in gardens professionally for over 15 years, I don’t recall ever being stung by a honey bee. Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets are a different story, but the honey bee is such a docile insect. As we entered the roof garden, one of the honey bees returning to the hive got stuck in my friends hair, and upon release from her long blond hair, immediately attached to my left eyebrow and made me pay the price. Despite my encounter, what a great idea to have a small hive for honey and pollination right on the garage roof.

You don’t have to build gardens as involved to grow your own food. Many vegetables and all herbs can be grown in containers on decks and terraces, and for a few dollars its worth a try.

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Reed Pugh

About Reed Pugh

Horticulturist and landscape designer living in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. Reed is passionate about gardens and plants and loves writing about horticulture, plants, garden accoutrements, best garden practices and whatever else comes to his frenetic mind. He tries not to take himself too seriously but has been known to 'geek out' on occasion. Reed, and his company Barking Dog Gardens, can be found at Reeds Garden Ramblings

One thought on “Suburban vegetables reach new heights

  1. I am looking to do the exact thing, adding a detached garage with flat roof for a garden. Do you know any of the specifics regarding the type of roof membrane used, etc?

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