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Archive for the ‘Green Roof’ Category

Here at Horizon House, we are definitely IN an URBAN setting.  Many of our gardeners here would like to have attractive vegetables growing in their raised beds, and on our gardening terraces.

Within the city

Within the city

There are things to be cautious about with urban vegetable gardening, mostly with noxious air and also noxious things in the soil.  Everything eventually gets into the soil, so it’s worth a bit of concern.

I don’t think we need to worry as much as those who live locally, and attempt to plant veggies right at the roadside.  Here at Horizon House, we have the benefit of using packaged soil or “compost” in our gardens.  We do not just dig in local soil, as do many of our neighbors.  BUT, there is still air, and rain borne chemicals that settle down into our soil.

This morning I read an interesting article on my NPR Home page.  It talks about what Washington, D.C. is doing concerning this.  The University of the District of Columbia is supporting a study on urban farming, and is in fact, the ONLY Land Grant University that deals with a totally URBAN focus.

Mchezaji “Che” Axum is the gentleman who runs the research farm for the U. of the D. of C..  “…instead of vast fields testing dozens of varieties of wheat, Axum’s research farm has raised beds, narrow hoop houses and even a shipping container. He gives growers advice on where to buy decent soil or how to compost their own, in case the land they plan to grow on has a seedy industrial past.”

This is GOOD stuff for the urban farmers within the confines of Seattle, and even the communities close by.

HH Herb Garden

HH Herb Garden

In our Gardening Terraces, some gardeners are growing pretty greens,  little tomatoes, kale, etc.  We also have an herb garden tended by two of our Garden Committee members.

The herbs are available to ALL who live at Horizon House.  It’s wonderful to be able to come down to the garden and pick nice, fresh herbs to use in our dinners and lunches.  In fact, the Garden Committee has also sponsored an herb garden for our chef, right outside the dining room, so the menu can now boast fresh herbs in our food!

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Here at Horizon House, we have a Green Roof.  It has somehow “sprung a leak”!  At any rate, there is lots of activity on that roof.  The link above will give you a wonderful explanation from UCDavis.IMG_2856

There are many good reasons for having a Green Roof.  These roofs have been around for centuries, and can still be found in their original form in some European countries in the form of Thatched Roofs.  But, why do we reach back in time to think about constructing Green Roofs again?

  • First and foremost…it absorbs rainwater.  This means the water, instead of dumping right into sewers with all the oil and debris it picks up along the way,   stops first at the green roof.
  • The soil to be found on the roof absorbs the water; filtering the pollutants, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus, etc.
  • The plants then gobble up the nitrogen and phosphorus helping them grow.  Since those are ingredients in plant fertilizer…we don’t have to pay for them.  They are FREE!
  • The water taken up by the plants is put back into the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation, instead of having to go into our sewer systems, etc.
  • INSULATION is a really important part of this equation.  The Green Roof provides as much as 25% cooling in the summer, and 25% warming in winter!
  • A Green Roof also helps insulate the building from sound pollution!
  • That Green Roof will provide a wonderful place for beneficial insects, birds, bees and butterflies to call home.  Our roof, being in the middle of an urban area, provides a welcome place for migrating birds and butterflies to rest!
  • This one surprised me!  It will increase the life span of a roof by as much as 200%!!!!!
  • Lastly, it helps by mitigating urban heat.  Here is a good article I read in the NY TImes about this very issue.  Check out the link!

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