Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rooftop Gardening in Mexico!

I came home from vacation to Austin last spring break to find this planter on my roof.  It was a serious dream come true and all thanks to some good friends and above all my amazing husband who painstakingly hauled a truck load of dirt from across town (bagging it himself out of a friends yard who was moving) and hauling it to the back of our house and up a ladder one big bag at a time.  Not to mention building the planter box.  I can't imagine how much sweat he poured to make this happen but I'll be forever grateful.  

We didn't know where to begin and it was late in the season so off I scrambled to Texas to smuggle back some tomato and pepper plants.  

If you notice there's also the top of a pineapple in the corner.  SERIOUSLY, to plant a pineapple, all you have to do is take the top off one you're eating and put it in dirt.  I thought it was a joke but it's totally not!  It just...freaking grows!  

We've learned a lot these past few months and have had more than a few plants cross the green-brier bridge into the compost beyond, but it's been truly, absolutely, fabulous.  

The first time eating a home-grown tomato since living back home where my mom grew them by the bushel every summer, oh man, just, it's like eating pure sunshine.  

One of the biggest surprises/benefits from this has been the enthusiasm shown by my kids.  They've planted, weeded (YEAH Mexican child labor!! Woot!) and have been over all pant shitting thrilled with the entire process. 

Daisy eats whatever comes off of the plants like a raging zombie intent on going raw - veggie style.  We usually don't make it off the roof before she's cater-pillared her way through whatever's ready to be picked.  What's a little bug poop and dust when there's no pesticides or herbicides to worry about?  Nada, eat it up kid! 

(Little baby cantaloupes!)  

I'm incredibly excited now that I have a couple of seasons under my belt and can start really planning what the next year will look like.  I feel really fortunate that we can actually plant all year long here in this climate as long as we pay attention to what is able to grow and when. 

What has truly affected me over the past months though is that every time I climb that ladder up to the roof (and have only fallen ONCE thank you very much) is that when I look across the thousand or so rooftops in every direction I'm so saddened to see nothing but concrete.  Bare rooftops.  In the community where I live where hunger is real in many families that live around me something like my garden could be a huge help for those that struggle. 

I spoke with the coordinator of the outreach program that our school runs about how EASY and truly not expensive these gardens are to build.  He was excited about what I'm doing and agreed that this could be a majorly beneficial tool for the people that live here.  We're working on some ideas on how to get the word out and that makes me feel even closer to home than ever.  

 I feel closer to my mom with this garden, feel like I'm teaching my kids about healthy eating and know that in the future I'll be able to figure out a plan on how to eek out every inch of space for the maximum output of truly organic produce. 

I feel incredibly blessed. 
I AM incredibly blessed. 


Heather Dominguez said...

Love it. When I was in Puerto Vallarta I had flowers, and herbs in a bunch of different potted plants. it was my haven up there on the roof. We also fixed it up and put a roof and our laundry up there but yes I loved it. Love that you got veggies and your hubby gave you a surprise. So nice.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Oooo Heather that's totally my dream, to make a space up there to relax. I dream of having roof/sun cover of some type and some nice chairs. Love! :)

Yvonne M said...

I love gardening and what a great idea to introduce it to others so that it can have a life changing benefit from it.. Does the school have a space you might be able use? I have seen gardening programs teach many young kids.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Our school totally has a garden and we educate all of the students on how to plant. What we REALLY want though is to get the message out to people in the community that with dirt (which is dirt cheap here (har har) and some old wood they can seriously build a garden on their ROOF. They don't even need to buy seeds, the school uses all seeds from the refuse from our cafeteria. So really, people here would only need to get some dirt and some way to hold it in and yah, they'd have free food. I think people just don't KNOW though, and it's going to be my mission to get the word out.

~ellen~ said...

Beautiful! I'm so happy for you and your lovely plants. :) It would truly be a wonderful thing to teach everyone in the community about being able to grow their own yummy and healthy food.

It isn't a worry that the gardens might be too heavy for a roof?

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Ellen I thought the same thing but no, the houses here (built of concrete blocks and rebar) are built with the expectation that the buyer will be adding on a second floor and are strong enough to take it. So my little 'ole garden isn't but a wee bit. :) :)

Sparx said...

This sounds like a thing - do update us on how it goes.