Why Union Square Sky Gardens?

by Union Square Sky Gardens

More people are looking to the sky to find garden space. In the search for viable gardening spots in our urban environment, every nook and cranny is precious, and our roofs are proving to be a terrific location for a garden. Sun is plentiful and most garden pests and weeds can’t reach the roof. Our roofs can open up a large, mostly undeveloped area in our city just waiting for some plants.

 There are definitely hurdles along the way to creating a rooftop garden. First, water access can make or break its success. Without rainwater collection or a nearby spigot for irrigation, having to frequently carry buckets of water up several flights of stairs is not to be undertaken lightly. Further, many roofs are not structurally sound enough to hold a full green roof, which are quite heavy due to soil, layers of waterproofing membranes, framing for raised beds, and so on. Last, many roofs are leaky and in poor condition. A full roof garden is a wonderful choice for a new, structurally-sound roof that’s been designed specifically for rooftop gardening. However, many of our old buildings do not have new roofs, and it can be a complicated and expensive undertaking to shore up the structure enough to support green roof.

 US Sky Gardens has a solution to these hurdles: milk crate gardens!  One milk crate, lined with permeable cloth, filled with soil and planted with your favorite vegetables of flowers, weighs no more that 50 lbs soaking wet. A line of milk crate container gardens can be lifted, maintained, and moved by a single person. It can be removed from a roof in minutes, stored for the winter, and relocated with relative ease. While we would love to see full roof gardens on every roof in somerville, in the meantime, milk crate gardens are a great way to get growing with what you have for minimal cost and labor.

 At Union Square Sky Gardens, we are committed to bringing rooftop gardens to everyone. We want to show our community that it is easy, inexpensive, and replicable to maximize our growing areas by looking up to our roofs for space and light. We are currently working on our second season with Recover Green Roofs and Groundwork Somerville to plant milk crate containers with peppers and garlic on the Union Square Cross Fit building roof.

 Please email kimpayson@gmail.com or reneetscott@gmail.com if you would like to learn more about milk crate gardens, and visit usskygarden.tumblr.com!