Thursday, June 12, 2014

Green Roof Beginning

I finally started on my Green Roof project.  It's going to take a few years to get it all done, but I'm doing it DIY.  I'd love to have the whole thing done at once, but I'm going to have to piece it together as my cash flow allows.

The flat part of my roof (over the kitchen & long hallway) has always been planned to be planted.  I found a dealer (Weston Solutions) in Anchorage for the GreenGrid modules who was willing to sell me the empty modules and rubber path pavers (thanks Kim!).  The first set arrived last month.
Pavers and empty modules unpacked.
Then I went to work on the growth medium (it's not really soil).  Unfortunately after several weeks of looking, I couldn't find a local greenhouse or nursery supplier who'd order expanded shale or pumice for me.  So I turned to the internet and found Speciality Soils in Covington WA.  They mixed me bags of 80% pumice and 20% coconut coir, and shipped it to me (thanks Carli!).  
Growth Medium with some top soil added

I need plants that are drought resistant and can grow in 'rocky' soil, and also spread.  So picked up a few at Home Depot, and some more at the Wagon Wheel.   I'm not 100% sure what they all are, but I'm hopeful most of them will thrive.

And I found some of the spunbound poly root barrier I needed on line.  That finally arrived on Tuesday.  I'm going to use 2 layers of root barrier, 1 square inside each of the modules, and then a layer on the roof, to set the modules on.  Roots growing through the modules can damage the roof membrane.
Empty Mod 2ft by 2ft by 4.5 inches

Root Barrier being added

So today Valda came up and helped me plant the first batch of modules.  Originally I thought we'd get 20 planted (The goal is 60 for this summer, but I may not make that one.)  However we spaced the plants out a bit, hoping they will grow and fill in the empty spots.  So we got 37 modules planted.
Planted Modules

Then Valda went and got some row cover she had in her shed and we covered them all.  Hopefully this will keep the moose and the cranes out of them while I'm off to work.

I'm planning to leave them in the driveway until sometime in August.  This will let me check their condition and see what is really growing, and what isn't, without having to get up on the roof a lot.  Then in Aug I'll lay down more root barrier, put the rubber pavers in place, and then install the modules.  We can put 4 modules on a pallet.  Greg says he has equipment that can lift the pallet up to the roof level and we can move them into place.

Much more to follow as this progresses.