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Easiest food plant to grow?

Old 09-09-19, 09:47 AM
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Easiest food plant to grow?

Hey foosters,

A guy at my work got permission to start up a gardening club (with some nominal corporate support), and access to planters and water on the open top of our parking deck. The company has contracted some since the deck was built, so the rooftop is always completely empty, and it gets direct SoCal sun all day. There are I think 4-5ft high concrete safety walls around the edge that could potentially be used for some partial shade on the south side, but not much.

In those conditions, what food plant would be easiest to grow? I could spare like 5min attention 4 days a week.
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Old 09-09-19, 10:05 AM
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Tomatoes and peppers.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:10 AM
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Hmmm. I'm not a fan of tomatoes, but most other people sure seem to be. I'd love to grow chilis, but that would probably be mostly for my own enjoyment and it wouldn't help the gardening club if I tried to share them. I've heard ghost peppers are surprisingly easy to grow and very productive.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:20 AM
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Corn. You can grow corn in 5 gallon buckets with drain holes drilled in the bottom-sides. Anybody too lazy to farm can grow corn without clearing trees so you ought to get good results on a roof.

Last edited by Zinger; 09-09-19 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:21 AM
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various lettuces.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:23 AM
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would corn work in a SoCal climate? The pros grow a lot of stuff in CA but I don't think much corn
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Old 09-09-19, 11:29 AM
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For work rooftop to get started with cherry tomatoes and serranos. You want hardy productive indeterminate plants with a short maturation cycle which keeps everyone happy as there will be a steady supply.
Try a few other longer maturation peppers like Buht Jolokia, but they are more sensitive to change (prob not an issue in S.Cal), harder to set fruit and take forever to mature.
Climbing beans can be used to create a screen.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
This reminds me of a news story of a school that converted the roof top to a farm...and then the weight of the soil and crops caused the whole roof to collapse.
lol I don't think that can happen here, for starters all we get is a handful of planter pots, which are currently hosting very pathetic trees (I believe put there as an eco/zoning requirement)
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Old 09-09-19, 11:40 AM
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How do you get rid of blackberries growing on your property? Move. You probably don't want them.

Strawberries grow well in planters. They need water, but (here at least) will tolerate a lot of neglect. They clone like crazy, so once they're established and healthy people can take a new plant home. Plus they're very rewarding, berries from the garden are much better than any at the store.

Lettuce grows pretty well and easily in my experience. After all the e coli scares with bagged and cut lettuce, it's nice to grow your own.

I mostly grow ornamentals in my garden, food for the hummingbirds. An oasis of life and color do a lot to improve the mood. Succulents would be ideal where you are.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:50 AM
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Why would you want to get rid of blackberries? In grad school spent a summer at UW and I remember loving free blackberries everywhere.
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Old 09-09-19, 12:01 PM
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I've heard citrus should be planted in like March. We're reaching the end (hopefully!) of the hot season right now, does that make a difference?
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Old 09-09-19, 01:11 PM
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Violets.... The whole plant is edible with the leaves tasting a lot like arugula.
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Old 09-09-19, 01:30 PM
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From my experience most lettuce varieties are not very heat tolerant and don't deal well with lots of direct sunlight. Even the varieties that claim different.
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Old 09-09-19, 06:07 PM
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Make sure there's a spigot up on that top floor. You don't want to be lugging water up there. That would definitely be a buzz kill.
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Old 09-09-19, 06:31 PM
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If you don't get frost, then pineapples are super easy. However, it takes a couple years to get the fruit. Calamondin oranges are also super easy, and can take a a light frost.

You can neglect the pineapples pretty much. The calamondins just need water every few days and they are good.

Both of these can take a lot of sun with no problem.
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Old 09-09-19, 11:02 PM
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Zucchini?
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Old 09-10-19, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hey foosters,

A guy at my work got permission to start up a gardening club (with some nominal corporate support), and access to planters and water on the open top of our parking deck. The company has contracted some since the deck was built, so the rooftop is always completely empty, and it gets direct SoCal sun all day. There are I think 4-5ft high concrete safety walls around the edge that could potentially be used for some partial shade on the south side, but not much.

In those conditions, what food plant would be easiest to grow? I could spare like 5min attention 4 days a week.
Onions.
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Old 09-10-19, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by hazetguy View Post
various lettuces.
Ding! Ding! Ding!

You get the gold star. Although there are many that come in second, none can beat the venerable lettuce because the instant you get your first leaf, you also have your crop.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
would corn work in a SoCal climate? The pros grow a lot of stuff in CA but I don't think much corn
I think its easier to find plant's that won't grow here. I believe its #1 in agriculture in the nation last time I checked. On the other hand, there are corps that even though they will grow in CA. do better in other parts of the U.S.

Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
From my experience most lettuce varieties are not very heat tolerant and don't deal well with lots of direct sunlight. Even the varieties that claim different.
Very true, but not that difficult to plant in the shade or shade them with cloth.
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Old 09-10-19, 06:51 AM
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Green beans and jalapeños...
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Old 09-10-19, 08:08 AM
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Drought Resistant Crops & Water Wise Techniques for the Veggie Garden

...some of this information might help, but it's hard to work around the fact that you're trying to grow stuff on a rooftop in SoCal. It's gonna get really hot up there in the summer, and the way you usually deal with that is growing something with deep roots..........which is difficult to do in pots or other raised bed systems. You're gonna need to water like there's no tomorrow.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:02 AM
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If OP is looking for something that doesn't take a lot of time and care, I'd consider tubers ftw.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:11 AM
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Depending on the size of the pot zucchini is pretty easy to grow. Beets and green beans also.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:34 AM
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Lettuce, tubers and such are boring for a shared garden. You need a decent volume to bring the interest up vs. each person gets a beet.
Go for plants that provide ongoing little treats like peppers, tomatoes and green beans.
If they can grow in containers in Phoenix, they will on a roof in San Diego. Use big pots and shade cloth.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:39 AM
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I second the green beans. Okra, squash of many types, probably even get you a melon or two. Many of the other suggestions seem solid as well.
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Old 09-10-19, 09:55 AM
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Okra will grow like weed on a sunny roof. But it is late in the season - it likes it hot with long days.
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