Mustard Seed Rooftop Garden Design

 In Courses, Food, Permaculture Projects

The Mustard Seed is a non profit charitable organization that helps Calgary’s less fortunate. They have recently had their rooftop patio renovated and are interested in the design and installation of a food system on their roof. However, as they have a limited amount of gardening experience they would like some recommendations on what to grow and how to layout the elements in their garden. Our Fall Permaculture Design Students needed an urban design project, voila! – a perfect matching of needs and yields.

 

On Saturday, November 13th, 2010, we headed over to the Mustard Seed with our students to scope out the project and have some fun with design.

Part I
The goal of the first part of this project was to produce a high-level (or main frame) infrastructure design that gets the most amount of nutritious food into the smallest space while requiring the least amount of labour with the highest water efficiency. Students were divided into small groups and had 3 hours to produce a preliminary design.

Part II
The second part of this project is optional for students who are looking for more design experience over the winter. Taking the best ideas from all of the high-level designs, interested students will be completing a full rooftop garden design which would include garden layout details, consideration of maximum roof holding capacity, full water and irrigation strategies and project phasing. All work will be completed under the supervision and guidance of Verge Permaculture.
The final design will be presented to the Mustard Seed in the Spring. If the design is successful, there is a possibility that the project will be to be constructed and implemented by the Permablitz network in the Spring of 2011.

Design Goals

  • Design food production systems with water, access and structure in mind
  • Consider nutrient cycling within the Mustard Seed Organization
  • Design water systems & look at ways of utilizing water on the patio
  • Utilize vertical space
  • Consider all of your sectors and how you are going to deal with them

Design Constraints

  • All elements must be kept within the rooftop railings
  • The BBQ cannot be moved from its current position
  • Budget for the garden is minimal
  • No metal can touch the deck
  • Any mass placed on the roof must be above load bearing beams

Potential Resources

  • Unlimited compost from the kitchens
  • There is a city water connection on the roof

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the students presenting their designs:

  

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