How One Man's Foodscape on His Rooftop Garden Managed to Feed His Family

By Paul Greenberg, "A Growing Revolution," May/June 2012

Get ideas and plans for small garden spaces to grow your own food.

"I am sitting on my deck in Brown County, Indiana where we own a cabin called Big Pine Lodge. I am discouraged by owning 50 acres of tillable challenged soil. Your beautifully written article gave me hope. I love the way you write about...

My garden’s ability to defy its environment did not come about all at once. It took some money (but not that much) and some serious physical labor. But perhaps the most important factor was my patient observation of the sun—a slow and almost pagan thing to do in a neighborhood that favors state-of-the-art technology and nanosecond securities trading. Just as the ancients may have used Stonehenge to mark the sun’s progress, in my first year I used the different skyscrapers around my terrace as solar markers. I came to understand these markers signaled both when and where to plant.

Most city dwellers would consider my terrace huge—nearly 1,000 square feet, shared with two other neighbors. But when I observed the sun’s progress, I understood that only 400 square feet got enough light for gardening. By focusing on this smaller area and mounting a series of solar reflectors (read: old screen doors covered with tinfoil and packing tape), I have managed to boost the ambient light to the point where an unsuspecting tomato will issue timid blossoms as early as mid-June.

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