Next up in our series on sustainable rooftops and initiatives, we talk to Rachael Bruketta, Assistant Property Manager with Sterling Bay, who fills us in on 1000 West Fulton’s rooftop vegetable garden including maintenance, vegetable selection, environmental impact and tenant engagement.
What was the motivation to create a vegetable garden?
1KFulton strives to operate as efficiently as possible and we want to provide a healthy and enjoyable workspace for our building’s occupants. With a green roof already in place, we wanted to test our green thumbs and enhance our space with fresh, organic produce.
How did you build the vegetable garden?
We have a common roof deck on the seventh floor that’s accessible by all our tenants. The deck features planter beds with built-in irrigation and draining systems and previously contained native grasses and trees. With the help of our landscaper, we installed organic growing media and 384 plants into the beds. This was our first season of roof deck gardening, and we decided to install existing plants instead of seeds to bring a higher yield.
How did you work with your team initially to bring this concept into fruition?
1KFulton has had beehives on our roof deck for over a year, so we decided to decrease the travel time for our bees to pollinate! Additionally, our building team is very interested in sourcing products locally that we could also share with our tenants.
How did you decide which vegetables to plant?
Given that our building has great chefs and fantastic restaurants and dining areas, we chose plants they could use in their kitchens, including leafy greens and herbs. We also stayed away from tall plants like corn and beans so windy days don’t pose a threat.
How do you maintain the garden?
On days when we don’t have sufficient rainfall, we use our built-in irrigation to make sure the roof deck garden is properly watered. We work with our landscaper to maintain and weed the garden at least every other week. We also coordinate harvesting and cleaning of the produce with our landscaper prior to sharing with our tenants.
What’s the impact of your vegetable garden on the environment?
1KFulton’s rooftop garden improves air quality, helps storm water management, reduces our building’s energy demand and reduces urban heat island effect.
Does the garden offer any ROI to the building?
Beyond providing an amenity for our tenants, we hope that our roof deck garden helps to increase the lifespan of our roof and that it will contribute to a reduction in running our HVAC.
What should other buildings consider if they want to build a vegetable garden?
For starters, make sure your roof space can handle the weight load of your garden and that your garden has enough space and a proper irrigation system to thrive. We also advise getting buy-in from your tenants regarding what kind of produce you grow in your space.
What other green features does your building feature?
In addition to composting and recycling programs, 1KFulton also has beehives and provides a shared bicycle program to all tenants.
MORE STORIES FROM OUR SUSTAINABLE ROOFTOPS & INITIATIVES SERIES: