One Week’s Rooftop Harvest

Hello, my name is Pamela. 

We have a garden where we grow many vegetables.  That garden is on a rooftop. 

It is summertime and the vegetables really like to grow.

I also really like cats and my cats like me.

This is our harvest for the past week – 7 days.  

Can you believe it?

You are no longer allowed to say you can’t grow vegetables if you don’t have a yard or some type of ground to dig into.  I won’t allow it.  Oh no, I won’t. 

weekly harvest with cats

Ok, I will admit it, this picture makes me tremendously happy.   I mean the table is full of vegetables we grew out of love.  All picked in one week! Then there’s my 4 meowza cats (can you spot them all?) surrounding me.  I am in my happiness zone.  Pure smiles and rainbows.  I can’t control it.  Oh garden, oh cats, I love you so much.  I also love Matthew who took this picture and is one half of the garden and the cats and our life. He is pretty cool too (as cool as Brother Bear posing in front of me? I’m not sure, verdict is still out). 

So let’s look at some of our loot…

First up, the onions.
Let’s talk onions, can we?  Some of you might know onions are the only thing in the garden I do not eat.  But like all things in life, I find my foot in my mouth when suddenly I taste a onion 29 years into my life and think “not so bad”.  Ok so that was a fried onion ring (recipe coming soon) but still.  There was a few days ago I even put chopped up onions in a casserole.. and I ate it.  Man, my life is changing. I don’t even know who I am anymore!

We had alot of onions to pick.  Matthew is ecstatic because that means we can start planting new ones for the Fall and I am pretty sure we’re planting 2 or 3 times more.  

Onions, you guys rule.   Onions were one of the vegetables on Matthew’s list when the garden started where we thought it would be difficult to grow from past expeiences. 

But that all changed, because we are Onion City USA here.  That’s what it should say on the door to our rooftop, Onion City!

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Wee brush the dirt off, then let them dry.   

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It’s really important you let them dry if you aren’t going to use them fresh right away.  So pick them on  a dry day and let them sit in the sun to dry.  You don’t want to pick them after a rainy afternoon as they are going to have alot of moisture on them.  Having the onions dry is one sure way to extend their shelf life for months (sometimes up to a year!).  

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Another way to dry them out is to hang them in bunches for a few days.  This is a great alternative if a storm is coming in and you can’t leave them dry outside.  After they are dried, store them in a mesh bag or a basket.  It’s important that the onions have air circulation.  

Next up.. carrots!
You can see by the first 2 pictures just how excited we are by carrots. 
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We’re like happy bunnies. Well humans.  Ok humans as cute as a bunny. Let’s just pretend, shall we?  Imagine us with furry tails.  Adorable, I know. 

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Carrots are one of those plants that grow really well in our containers.  They don’t take much care, except some water and love.

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To dig up carrots, just dig around the top, then a little deeper and just yank that carrot up.  Carrots are pretty resistant, but be careful not to break it.

These are pretty much as long as our carrots can grow due to the depth of our containers.   I’d like to do a experiment where we grow them in 4 foot deep containers and set a Guinness book for tallest carrot ever.    Then we would get it preserved and put it in a glass container in our home.   Or maybe we won’t do that at all, it still would be fun.   Anyways, these carrots grow big!

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We snip their bushy leaves on top and compost them right away.  Then we wash the carrots, let them dry and store them in a plastic bag with the bag slightly opened, in the crisper drawer.   Crisper drawer is such a funny word  to me. 

 Now.. my babies.. watermelon!

Hi babies, I’m your mama.

Our watermelons have done pretty great this year with so many watermelons growing on every single plant.  This is hands down our best year growing watermelon so whatever we did, I hope it continues to next year and forever.  

We didn’t plan on picking the watermelon when we went up to the roof to water the plants, but we did.  And then we were like how are we going to get them downstairs? So I found this crate.   And then I went to pick up the crate to take it down and it was comical  to say the least.  The crate didn’t even budge.  Actually I budged because I fell over in frustration.  Big strong man, come carry my watermelons downstairs.  Thank you!

Now.. green peppers.. the no fuss warrior guys of the garden.

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How many times do I say this? Alot.  But seriously.  Green peppers, plant them, water them, and that’s that.  They are no fuss.  They just grow amazing.  Green peppers are the only plant I think we’ve never had any difficult with.  They are the perfect children.  They are also really delicious. 

Can you spot the ladybugs?   Our pepper plants are currently full, there’s so many more  to pick, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all!

And they are beauties! B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.  Who’s beautiful? You are peppers, you are!

They also are giants this year.   Great job peppers, as always. 

Now tomatoes…. oh tomatoes.  oh tomatoes! oh tomatoes! oh tomatoes.  What am I going to do with you all?
One day we picked 16 pounds, 2 days later we picked 13 pounds.  And there’s more days in a week.  It’s insane.  It really is. I have no other way to describe the tomato insanity that is happening at this very moment. 

Cherry tomatoes, I want to eat you up!

It always starts with us thinking there will only be a few tomatoes to pick.. then it turns into this.

Then we need multiple baskets.  By the way, this basket is totally about to break due to the tomato weight.

And more tomatoes..

We got a few siamese tomatoes this year, grown with just 1 stem.  I’m in awe of them. I had to google about this and there are many search results for “Siamese Tomatoes” some of them relevant and some of them just weird.  When they grow together it’s referred to as “fasciation” or “cresting”.   It happens when the growing tip spreads perpendicularly, contouring the tomato tissue inside.  This mutation happens to not just tomatoes, but other vegetables and flowers.  Some people actually raise their flowers to get double heads, because well.. it’s pretty cool looking!  

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Aren’t they just the cutest? I have to eat them together because it just feels right!

Some beef tomatoes almost ready to pick…

Speaking of beef tomatoes, holy enormous, we got some big ones this year!

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And then they go downstairs where they take up my entire kitchen and I have no room to put anything else.  It’s the life of summer, it’s devoted to tomatoes.  All counter space is for the tomatoes.  You need a plate? Use the floor kid. 

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Sauces are made nonstop.  Nonstop I say.  Ok not nonstop, but almost every single day.  Wait till you see my freezer in a few weeks.  Oh my!

Then there’s pumpkins, one of my dear loves. I did a whole post on them here

So that’s this week’s harvest,  I hope you liked reading the post!  Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend! 

Happy Gardening!

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Leave a comment
  • HOLY COW! You should start your own CSA. awesome job growing veggies!!! I’m seriously so impressed by what you do on that little roof of yours. I love that you’re the mama to all these wonderful veggies…but then I think about how you eat your children and I wonder if it makes you sad to do that.

    • Thanks Amy! It makes me sad sometimes to pick them because it means I won’t see them on the roof the next day, but then I think about their months from seedling to full size and it makes me happy and proud! <3

  • WOW! I seriously thought you were at Whole Foods when I quickly glanced at that photo. That is a LOT of produce! I love that you managed to get all of your kitties in the shot, as well – One looks like a photo bomber, and the one in the background looks like it’s going to sneak-attack you!

    • Hahaha, yeah Essy is totally photo bombing – she’s good at sneaking in. I just looked at her in the kitchen past the fridge and all I saw was one half of her face peeking out saying “feed me”.

  • I love it!!!
    We live in Montana (I’m originally from the Bronx), …then 35 years in the Bay Area odf CA. Never had difficulty growing anything …until we moved to Montana. We have no difficulty in growing greens, onions, garlic, squash, cucumbers, carrots (except for the germination stage which we do now covered). But Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants have been totally uncontrollable since high winds (frequentlt 50 mph for short periods in the afternoons, and cold nights (usually in the mid 40’s) have made life difficult. But …we built a greenhouse this spring and everything is growing.

    So tonight we’re going to have your braised Boston lettuce, with a side of Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes.

    Your recipe looks great. Too many people add too many ingredients (peas, onions, bacon, etc). These definitely make for a nice dish also, …but sometimes having a nice simple vegetable that speaks for itself as a side dish is Great.



    • Thanks Richard, I really appreciate you stopping by! Glad to hear you have a greenhouse and everything is growing, we’d love to eventually have a permanent greenhouse on the roof but it takes some construction with the high winds up there, maybe one day! I hope you enjoy the lettuce and have a great dinner! All the best. 🙂

  • I am SO. JEALOUS. of everything, but mostly of your green pepper whispering ways. My plants aren’t dead and they actually have a little bud on them! One on each. Here’s hoping..

    I just bought a bunch of seeds for my indoor greenhouse this winter! Lettuce, tatsoi, spinach, yellow peas, broccoli, and radishes! Now you’ve got me thinking carrots though, too.

    • I just stopped by and talked to your peppers (sorry I didn’t knock on your door, I thought it would be too much), I whispered them good secrets, here’s to green pepper luck to you!

      Excited to see more about your greenhouse!

    • Hey Emma, thanks! It was definitely a learning experience going from the ground to containers on a rooftop. Some things grow well, some things not so well, some need more love, etc. But every season we learn more and because of that they get better. Just keep doing it! And if something doesn’t grow shake your fist and tell yourself it will grow next year (I’m looking at you red potatoes!).

    • I give away some of it but most of it we use. Tomatoes and Pumpkins freeze great. I usually don’t have to buy tomato sauce from July to April because I’m so stocked up, so we definitely try to make it last as much as possible! 🙂

  • OMG!!! So jealous and have great admiration for your gardening abilities. Beautiful produce and so much of it!! Do you preserve it, what you don’t eat fresh. Why don’t you start a produce stand, I’ll be over in a minute to buy some from you. Better than the farmers market!!

    • Aww thanks Suzanne! We preserve and freeze so much of it so some of it lasts until Spring time! It takes some time to make all the sauces but the payoff is big when you get to enjoy garden freshness when it’s snowing out! 🙂

  • BEAUTIFUL! You are such an inspiration. I am totally stepping up my game next year! I love the snap shots of your colorful home. Home tour post coming up?! 🙂 Have a lovely (and bountiful) weekend Pamela!

    • Thanks Jamie! Definitely, I was actually thinking of a post to do with home fixups we have been doing! Have a great weekend!

  • Holy Moly, girl! Fabulous harvest! You two definitely have green thumbs and were made for each other. I enjoyed each and every photo as well as your writing. (Love the kitties!) This post just exudes pure joy. I want to come over and help make batches of tomato sauce, LOL! Pamela, you guys are truly an inspiration. Beautiful photos and gorgeous shot of that pumpkin. So pretty! I need to pin it at Pinterest to enjoy and share with others, if that’s OK. It’s time to start pinning for fall, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend! xo

    • Thanks Stacy! I invite you over anytime to help make sauce batches, please! I need it! Tomorrow I’m hoping to get a few more bowls of tomatoes into sauce! Everytime I think I think I’m in the clear, another basket of tomatoes suddenly appear. Pin away! I was just adding new pins to my “Halloween” folder today, it’s never too early for the best time of the year! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  • Pamela – you and your man are so on the right track. What a marvellous crop – hope you are going door to door in your building to sell the ultra fresh produce. Must say I don’t think I hardly cook a meal that doesn’t include onions they are so versatile and so good for you.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! If you lived closer, I would love for you to visit and pick some vegetables to make with your pasta salad. 🙂

  • WOW is all I can say girl! I’m so impressed and you are truly making me want to container garden this fall. I’ve always been so afraid, as I’ve never been the best at gardening, but I learned how to cook on my own, so I can learn to garden right? When do you plant your tomatoes and peppers? I would love to try for some heirlooms and cherry tomatoes next summer as well as some red peppers (we love those). I’m assuming that I have to start planting those in the spring. I can’t wait to see what you whip up with all those veggies! You guys rock and need to have your own little farm stand at the farmers market. xoxo, Jackie

    • Thanks Jackie, the garden is lots of fun so I sure hope you try container gardening! My plant schedule is here: – we start both tomatoes and peppers from seed inside first, then eventually move them to the garden when the weather permits in the Spring. We’ve always had good success with cherry tomatoes, the plants grow so many on them to the point that it’s cherry tomatoes everywhere you look! Good luck! 🙂

  • Hi Pamela, I clicked across to your blog from a comment thinking I’d have a quick look… an hour later I’m still reading and enjoying! Seriously impressed by your harvest – a lot of people would be happy to produce that much veg in a season, but in one week? Rooftop gardening must be the way to go!

  • Love your cats! We have one very spoiled kitty. And love your harvest! That’s terrific for one week. Squirrels, alas, have gotten most of our tomatoes this year. I now have fencing up, but too late for most of them. Grrr! Anyway, fun post – thanks.

    • Thanks for stopping by John! Sorry to hear about those squirrels, it’s a bummer. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about anything like squirrels, except the occasional pigeon who likes to leave their mark on the garden. 😉 Give your kitty a good chin rub from me. 🙂

  • Thanks for visiting my blog – I am so pleased you did as I can now see your wonderful harvest – truly amazing – and all from containers – wow! I have a small container garden and four raised beds which provide us with all our veggie needs but now I have seen what you produce it has inspired me to try even harder.

  • this is incredible!! I know Im posting a little late here, but just browsing through your blog and I had to read this post…. just amazing! I would be happy too.. and then I’d be throwing a dinner party for all my vegetarian friends 🙂

  • I’ve been growning on my roof terrace (about 8ft square) for the last three summers. I can usually get enough tomatoes, peas and beans and salad stuff for the entire summer and early autumn, but this year our weather was dreadful! I’m still hopeful though:) And doesn’t it TASTE good!

  • I am in totally amazement of your rooftop garden! First of all, to have that much rooftop to work with must be hard to find. Secondly, the setup must be so much work having to get all of that dirt up there! Kudos to you and your beautiful bounty!!

    Thanks for stopping by my place recently too 🙂

    • Thanks Susan! It’s hard work getting all the supplies to the roof, but it’s worth it! New York is full of empty rooftops, it’s a great place to start that urban garden!

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