Our “NYC Rooftop” Garden




The other day while we were at Lowe’s, Joel decided he wanted to plant watermelon and cantaloupe seeds. While it is a little late to be planting, how could I say no to him? He was desiring to do that which I love which goes hand-in-hand with my passion for fresh, whole foods. So off to the fabric store we went to get burlap for our milk crate garden boxes.

The milk crate garden was an idea I stole from a NYC restaurant that utilizes their rooftop for a garden. Here we are constructing the garden boxes and planting the seeds. He was so patient as we cut, filled, planted, and watered. We even played “name that decomposing food” as we scooped out compost from our bin. (We have about 5 baby avocado trees thanks to our compost pile!)

Here is how we make each crate:

  • Line with burlap (I use 1 1/2 yards)

  • Tie burlap to the crate with string 

  • Place organic soil one third of the way up

  • Place in compost for the next layer

  • Fill to near the top with more organic soil

  • Plant seeds according to package directions 

The burlap helps hold in the soil and then naturally breaks apart towards the end of the growing season (notice the bright green crate…the burlap has disintegrated along the sides, but since my sweet potato vine has grown over into it, I have left it alone). I use the remaining burlap to line the very bottom of the next batch of milk crates before placing the new burlap in and draping it over the sides. I set the crates on brick to keep them off the ground and the bugs out as much as possible.

My garden isn’t grand, but I love my little garden. I haven’t bought tomatoes in 3 months, and I’m looking forward to harvesting my sweet potatoes and even possibly some melons 🙂