• 5-gallon bucket for each plant – I bought mine at (you guessed it) Home Depot for $3.48 here.
  • Spray paint to decorate the buckets/planters. I purchased two different colors for $3.98 each to spray the 5 buckets. The one I puchased is also a primer and it indicates that it adheres to plastic here. Be sure to only spray the OUTSIDE to avoid getting toxins in the dirt/plants on the INSIDE.
  • Potting Soil – so confession, I’ve been buying dirt in small bags from the Dollar Tree because...it’s $1 per bag and the midwesterner in me so mad I have to buy dirt! Ha. When purchasing soil for container gardening make sure the bag indicates it’s “potting soil.” The reason is because potting soil allows for proper drainage that plants need to grow in a pot. I also purchased Miracle Grow Potting Soil to mix in with the Dollar Tree Potting Soil.
  • Astroturf (optional) – at first I was skeptical about purchasing the astroturf, but it’s totally worth it and really sets the scene on your roof. In fact the moment I put the astroturf on the roof two bees flew up to say hello. It was $20 at home depot for the size shown below. I don’t know which one I purchased but here’s a link to all the options at Home Depot. Also be sure to place the pots on each corner of the astroturf, so that it doesn’t fly off the roof.
  • Cardboard to place the buckets on for spraying.
  • Power drill to drill holes in the buckets for drainage.

  1. Drill several holes into the bottom of the buckets using your largest drillbit. I drilled about 10 holes per bucket for proper drainage.
  2. Place bucket on cardboard and spray the exterior (not the interior or bottom because of toxins). Repeat this for all the buckets.
  3. Spray paint decorations, flowers, smiley faces, patterns on the outside of the bucket for added fun/ambiance. Let the buckets dry over night.
  4. Fill the buckets with potting soil. Plant your seedlings after they’ve hardened off (see below for instructions).

Currently on the roof there are two Amish tomatoes, one Bell Pepper, and one pinto bean. Prior to transplanting these seedling to the roof I took them through a week long process of hardening off. This is the gradual exposure of plants to the outdoors...because they’re used to being in the controlled inside environment. To do this you simply place your plant in a shaded outdoor spot the first day for one hour. Then you increase by an hour every day for a week until the plant is used to the outdoor conditions. I would suggest doing this before transplanting for healthy and strong plants. In the process of hardening off, I found that my lettuce was not happy with the rooftop climate, so it’s in my apartment window for now. The green bean plant that grew fast indoors was also not happy with the climate, so I pulled the plant and I plan on growing another in it’s place. There’s always a bit of trial and error to this process which is why it’s nice to have seedling back-ups. Cheers and happy gardening!

︎Mercedes Padró