A rooftop vegetable library in Buffalo

No room for a veggie garden? Do what this Buffalo gardener did: Put one on the roof of your garage. Getting up there to harvest your crops can be half the fun, as you’ll soon see.

But, first, take a look at those crops!

Lots of good things growing in that August sunshine, including eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, beans, and herbs. Below, a closer look at what it’s all growing in.

The gardener made earth-box-style “self-watering” containers from storage bins. Of course, they’re not self watering – human intervention is needed. But the reservoir in the base lets them retain water, longer, without drowning the plants. The black plastic “mulch” blocks out weed seeds, and keeps off excess rainwater while reducing evaporation.

I do wonder about the heat it also keeps in, especially on a rooftop. But who am I to argue with success – and all those healthy plants!

Speaking of rainwater, here’s the system the gardener rigged up to capture run-off from that rooftop. He pumps it back up to the roof when he needs to water.

And, of course, here’s why he called his garden the Vegetable Library – the library rail and ladder used to pick those ripe tomatoes and quickly check on their health. A second trapdoor ladder inside the garage gets you up to the roof for more extended labour.

Here’s another look at the whole. A great idea if you have a rooftop to spare.

Google “rolling ladder hardware” if you want to find the makings for your own garden library. For example, I found this one from Richelieu Hardware, with locations in the Toronto area. Not cheap, but it’s interesting to know they are out there.

What do you think of this idea from our neighbour to the south?


  1. Of course, I loved the veggies – although I’m not sure I’d be all that enthusiastic about going up and down that ladder with my harvest. I’m thinking a backpack would be a necessary piece of equipment 🙂

  2. I think this is a great idea. In cities with limited lots size or in the inner city what a great idea. Library ladder looks very stable.

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