Whilst we still have a sharp chill in the air, spring is just around the corner and for those of you living in New York City, it is time to start thinking about your rooftop garden once again.
Whether you’re new to a building and hoping to install a new garden, or hoping to prepare the current one for the new year, here are a few tips and pointers you might find useful for the weeks ahead.
Whilst it might not be the best time of year for you to be outside right now, planning during the colder months reaps rewards once the weather finally does turn. Some plants need seeding right now such as geraniums (pelargoniums), begonias and antirrhinums all need to be started and housed in a heated propagator or similar right now to ensure good growth.
Tidy Those Beds
Some over-excitable gardeners like to do a bit of pruning and trimming in winter, but those of you who have held off have done the right thing. You shouldn’t be pruning or trimming until the spring, according to Gardening Know How. If you do, you’re exposing possible new growth to some of the harshest conditions of the year.
You certainly shouldn’t be cutting spring-flowering plants until they have bloomed, making a spring clean the perfect time to do so.
Attracting Bees and Not Wasps
There are plenty of ways to attract bees to your garden, as we explored in our piece ‘Tips for Creating a Bee Friendly Garden’. Use the space you have wisely, ensure you have plenty of flowers to attract the bees and if possible, have a water feature too as they do like to have a drink.
Make sure you’re familiar with the difference between bees and wasps though, as the latter can be unwelcomed in the garden. An article by HomeServe covers how wasp stings can be painful and whilst bees do sting, they do so only under extreme provocation. Keep an eye out for signs of a wasp’s nest too; you certainly don’t want to attract those into your space.
Certainly, in a rooftop installation, it might be a good idea to think about harvesting some rainwater. Few buildings have been constructed with a water source in mind on the roof, so it might save you a lot of lugging and carrying if you’ve got a water source up there through the warmer months.
A water butt is a great idea, maybe even a couple, to make sure you’re making the most of any rainfall you do get.
Bob Vila claims that a quality garden starts with quality care, but that isn’t only applicable to your plants and planters. Making sure the tools of your trade are up to scratch is just as important.
Start by making sure they’re clean and free of debris from the previous year. Check handles for signs of wear and tear too, you don’t want to find them breaking off in your hand when you do get started. Storage is important too, so make sure they’re in a dry area and not liable to damp and degrading.