Q. Can you provide guidance on setting up a rooftop vegetable garden?

Philly has so many flat roofs and there is a growing interest in growing food. I'd love some guidance on growing directly on my flat roof. I know there are considerations regarding the load, heat, and wind on roof, so soils and planters need to be light, stable, and able to retain water well. I don't know where to start to research these things. I also imagine a rooftop is more conducive to some plants over others? Can you help?


Rooftop vegetable gardening is, indeed, a topic of great interest now, especially in the city.  You should probably do some research to get an idea of what would be best for your situation.  There are many good books that are available in your local library.  I would suggest that you browse through them. See also the link to the McLean Library catalog here  at the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (below).  If you type “rooftop gardening” into the search box, you will see a list of the books on this topic here in this library.   These books address the issues you have mentioned.

You may also want to look at our subject guide:  Urban Gardener: Gardening for Small Spaces (see link below).  If you are a PHS member, you are welcome to borrow books from our library.  If you are not a member, you might want to consider becoming a member to enjoy many other benefits as well. See link below to our website.  

  • Last Updated Jan 08, 2019
  • Views 83
  • Answered By Aska Gardener

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