A roof top garden is relatively similar to a regular garden, but can present some unique challenges. The biggest challenge of having a roof top garden is to maintain good soil quality . The characteristics of good quality soil vary depending on what plants you are trying to grow but you can always enrich the soil later by using compost or mulch as you would on a normal garden. Another big challenge of rooftop gardens is watering, because many plants need to be watered often especially during the summer months as it will be hotter on the roof.
Creating the reservoir:
The first thing you want to do when creating a drip system for your rooftop garden is to build a Dutch pot that will act as a reservoir. It’s best to have a bucket that is at least big enough for 5 gallons. Using a drill with a 1 inch bit, drill a hole on the side of the lid of the bucket. Then use a 3-inch drill bit to drill a hole in the center of the lid. Place a small electric garden pump in the bucket and put the power cord through the 1-inch hole in the lid. After measuring out about 2 feet of ¼ inch tubing connect one half to the pump inside the bucket and put the other end through the same 1-inch hole the power cord goes through.
Setting up the drip system:
Now that you have your reservoir set up it’s time to create the drip system. To make the drip system works effectively you have to maintain a steady pressure but be careful not to have too much or too little pressure. The first step in creating the drip system is to attach a back-flow preventer to the tubing you put through the bucket. You can either have a single tube drip system or you can add T-connectors onto your main line if you have a bigger roof top garden. Depending on the size of your rooftop garden you can either attach the soaker tube directly to the tube from the bucket or you can have the soaker tubes stem off of a rubber tube. The soaker tube is great for irrigating as it has many very small holes and slowly irrigates your garden. If you want to have even more irrigation you can also run some drip lines off of the soaker tubes.
Running your drip system:
After you’re finished with the set up be sure to buy a timer for the water pump. Plug the timer into an electrical outlet so that the pump automatically waters when you want it to. Remember that during hot seasons you may have to water a couple times a day. Usually early mornings or evenings are the best times to water. Once this is set up all you have to do is check your reservoir every so often to make sure it stays full of water.