Edible Green Roofs

Edible green roofs create local food producing machines you can enjoy at your doorstep.

Credit: Senga Lindsay

Never mind the 100-Mile diet! Senga Lindsay introduces the 100-Inch Diet

Dinnertime at the Lindsay/Wright household, and my sister, visiting from Idaho, was the guest of honour.

“So how can I help?” she asked.

“Well, we are going out to get some stuff from the garden for dinner,” I answered, grabbing a pair of gloves, a large knife and a basket. “I just need you to hold the ladder.”

After retrieving the produce list from my husband chef—and yes lucky me, he is a French-trained chef!—I beckon her to the garage roof, where our harvest begins.

Swiss Chard, squash, tomatoes, baby melons, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, strawberries, French leaf and iceberg lettuce all provide the base for the evening’s meal of prawns and salmon, which my husband caught off Horseshoe Bay the day before.

As we sit down to start the meal, my sister grabs her camera and just has to take a picture of the plates. “Do you eat like this all the time?” she gasps. And I can honestly say, “yes!”

Integrating an edible garden into one’s landscape

As a kick off to my contribution to GardenWise Online’s Gardens & Landscapes blog, I would like to start off with addressing the number one request on all my clients’ wish list these days and it is this:
“I am in interested in some sort of edible garden that I can integrate into my landscape.”

There are a variety of solutions to this request, from traditional vegetable gardens to edible containers and even growing produce on vertical walls, but… how about an edible green roof?

If the term “green roof” conjures up images of a “little house on the prairie sod roof,” think again. The basic definition for green roofs is a roof structure that supports vegetative cover. The environmental and sustainable benefits of green roofs are so significant they have inspired cities like Toronto to require them in all new developments. But this is a discussion for one of next month’s posts (stay tuned).

Edible green roofs raise the sustainability bar further by creating local food producing machines you can enjoy at your doorstep. Never mind the 100-Mile Diet, now we are talking about the 100-Inch Diet!

And the best part is that most of your produce can be grown on less than 1” of soil. And with weight being an issue on many existing roofs—this is a bonus.

Step-by step instructions for creating an edible green roof

creating an edible green roof

Preparing your roof

Ensure your structure meets building, safety and structural requirements for a green roof.

creating an edible green roof

Build structure to hold soil

Here we use 2×4” fir on sleepers (two tiers + sleepers = 10” soil). Gravel on the roof provides positive drainage.

creating an edible green roof

Line your boxes

Use recycled content weed block to hold soil and still allow drainage.

creating an edible green roof

Add green roof soil

Special green roof soil is placed in raised planters (soil weight = 75 pounds per sqaure-foot).


creating an edible green roof

Plant vegetables, herbs and fruit

Swiss chard, watermelon, iceberg and assorted leaf lettuce, vine and cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and ever-bearing strawberries.


creating an edible green roof

Finished rooftop vegetable garden

This vegetable garden is water using water collected from rain barrels.


creating an edible green roof
Less than 4 weeks and we are harvesting!

In November, I will be showing you how easy it is to design and create a traditional green roof