Roman rooftop

On July 26th, 2011, A NEW HOME FOR THE ROMAN ROOFTOP GARDEN…

a happy new home on the ground at the Ex-SNIA community center for the Roman rooftop garden

…on the ground of the former parking lot at the Ex-SNIA community center – a vast abandoned industrial complex east of Termini being reclaimed by trees and meadows and groups like Ciclofficina where you can get your bike fixed for free, also known in the 90′s for it’s raves, but now more frequently offering a place for the local unemployed and immigrant communities to gather, meet and hold events – so yesterday a big truck showed up at the Academy on the West side of town to haul the entirety of the Roman Rooftop garden to Ex-SNIA on the east side of town where local organizer installed it in a smart new arrangement working around a few existing plantings (such as a few small fruit trees and zucchini in bathtubs) and integrating locally scavenged materials in the spirit of the original garden (like wood palettes for enclosure and to lift the planting beds off the ground since this is highly contaminated soil), which was born and raised in high isolation on top of a building on top of a hill on the other side of the river, and will now continue to thrive down on the ground as the center of meals and community activities.

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On July 25th, 2011, A FAREWELL ROMAN ROOFTOP DINNER…

farewell Roman Rooftop dinner party

…last night, cooking for my local Roman friends, was the best way to say goodbye – to them, to the city, and to the garden, which was picked up this morning – after a final harvest – by a local community center this morning at 6:30am.

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By Fritz Haeg on July 25, 2011 | food
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On July 1st, 2011, THE BEAN POLE WIGWAM…

bamboo bean pole wigwam dramatically on axis with top floor AAR corridor

…I placed on axis with the top floor Academy corridor – where I live and work – is providing some drama in the distance this morning as I wake up and head down the hall for coffee and morning garden watering.

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On June 29th, 2011, CUCUMBERS…

night portrait of Roman rooftop cucumber

…cetrioli, (two of them) are busting out, pumping up daily, from those vines creeping up the rebar structures that I installed months ago – finally, finally being put to use by those lazy climbers.

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On June 27th, 2011, BORLOTTI…

borlotti garden harvest

…beans have arrived to the rooftop garden, with harvest day for the speckled magenta pods hiding everywhere I look.

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By Fritz Haeg on June 27, 2011 | gardens
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On June 12th, 2011, THE MID-SUMMERS ROMAN ROOFTOP GARDEN…

a hazy June morning in the Roman rooftop Edible Estate

…is needing a good watering every morning (that nearby Lago Bracciano is happy to oblige, providing Rome with the abundant local clean water that is the pride of this city and celebrated in it’s generous bounty of public fountains) which I am happy to offer every morning, wandering with a hose from planter to planter, getting my head eased into the day, pondering the big picture of the sprawling city framed by the volcanic mountains beyond, and paying attention to each member of the wild assortment of ambitious little plants making the most of their shallow beds and cramped roots, reaching as far up and out of the dirt as they can manage – and today the real troopers seem to be the barlotti, zucchini, and pomodorini all setting fruit, but taking their time. (Roman rooftop Edible Estate webpage)

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On June 3rd, A ROOFTOP SUNSET DINNER PARTY…

places set for a sunset rooftop garden dinner party

…last night, just after an errant storm passed over delivering a bit of cooling rain,  was enjoyed on long rooftop garden-side peony-centered table set in the colorful vintage linens laid out by Academy friend Siena – who acquired them Porta Portese (defying my assumption that everything there was junkie) – and to eat we made the most of what is to be had in the garden right now, like squash blossoms, basil, mint, and the last of the fava beans (which I am ashamed to admit I am getting a little tired of).

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On May 28th, 2011, ROMAN ROOFTOP GARDEN NEWS…

view of Roman Rooftop this morning

…includes reports on recently planted loquat seeds; sad bean plants that are still refusing to climb up the bamboo wigwam structure that was made for them months ago; some eggplants, zucchini, and tomatoes that are starting to flower and set fruit; lots of pretty lettuce plants that are being left to bolt up like mad and make pretty purple flowers; favas that are still producing; and a bin full of ever multiplying worms that keep eating and eating.

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On May 24th, 2011, A SOLITARY BEE ESTATE…

making the trap nests for Roman bees

…or trap nest – similar to the more massive, monolithic version that I made for the Mason Bees in New York City in 2008 – is my Roman rooftop homestead project for the day – having found a big long log out back which I am now drilling a series of holes into, which female bees will hopefully find, fill with nectar, lay eggs inside, cover with mud – in hopes that new bee life will emerge later…

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By Fritz Haeg on May 24, 2011 | animals
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On May 22nd, 2011, THE STRAWBERRY REPORT…

spring strawberry arrival

…brings good news of the most regular and welcome daily fruiting arrivals in my Roman rooftop garden these days – with always a few to be found hiding in a planter – but never enough to do more than the occasional nibbling and grazing.

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On April 29th, 2011, SPRING PLANTINGS IN THE ROMAN ROOFTOP GARDEN…

spring view north over the Roman rooftop

…including little tomato starts, bean seeds, eggplants, basil, squash, corn, and other future pleasures of the summer finally went in the rooftop dirt this week after much delay – and now we will wake up with an extra bit of curiosity each morning to see what they are doing.

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April 23rd, 2011, FAVAS…

fresh favas twice de-nuded: served fresh they should be shelled from the pod and then de-skinned

…from the Roman rooftop - shelled twice and served fresh with pecorino are the classic May 1st Roman picnic dish – which we are enjoying a week early tonight.

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By Fritz Haeg on April 23, 2011 | food
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On April 20th, 2011, RSFP ROOFTOP SALAD HARVEST…

Miles gathering lettuce for the Academy dinner

…was a proud moment today, as Miles from the Rome Sustainable Food Project kitchen – which energizes us with daily meals of local, seasonal, organic and delicious food made from the freshest Roman stuff around grown by farmers they know by name – arrived at my door with two empty crates inquiring about the possibility of harvesting some of my out-of-control more-than-I-can-eat bright green and burgundy lettuces taking over the Roman rooftop garden for this evening’s dinner.

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On April 19th, 2011, YOGA ON THE ROOF…

rooftop garden yoga studio with four mat capacity and the occasional danger of handstands ending in muddy feet in planters

…today and frequent evenings around 17:30 is the great gift of warmer days, later sun sets, stone pavers that hold the days heat, and a critical mass of friendly yogis – especially newly arrived friend Gaby – willing to hoof it up to the top floor garden yoga studio overlooking the city for an hour or so of free movement and occasional inverted chit-chat from down-dog.

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On April 11th, 2011, PEA, FAVA & WORM POOP HARVEST…

the big beautiful fava pods posing by the worm estate, being harvested of it's rich fertile black worm stuff

…is the breaking news from the Roman rooftop garden this morning – having never grown the favas, I’ve waited until they are as big as those I’ve been seeing at the farmer’s market (which is BIG) before picking – and as far as that worm compost is concerned, I’ve been waiting all year to pull out the fertile goods – putting off the dirty work (which is now urgent since it is full of compost – great for the plants, but toxic for little squirmy guys – crawling around in their own waste and all) of somehow extracting the castings and not the worms to start a fresh new bin – of which there are a few methods, mine being the slow process of leaving the top of the bin exposed direct sunlight forcing the them to retreat down into the darker depths, and then scraping off a top layer until I find them again, and those that are too slow just end up in a planter with some other good things to eat, which isn’t so bad for them either.

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On March 26th, 2011, ROMAN ROOFTOP HOMESTEAD GARDEN UPDATE…

rooftop garden view with my studio windows beyond

…today includes happy news about the reals stars of the show at the moment, the bursting crop of fava beans (which I saw all over Praiano this week) starting to produce their gigantic pods, plus more lettuce than I can eat, pea-pods getting plumper by the day, little peach trees displaying their pink blossoms, baby potatoes asking for another harvest, strawberries that do not seem to understand it is spring, and some very slow beets which I am really starting to wonder about, but container root vegetables are sometimes tricky.

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On March 17th, 2011, DINNER FROM THE PLANTS…

Roman rooftop potatoes

…of the Roman rooftop homestead tonight included baby potatoes with mint/rosemary/nettles pesto – harvested during a brief afternoon break in the rain – as a steady stream of red, green, and white flag carrying folks pass on the sidewalk below returning from Porta San Pancrazio (where Prime Minister Berlusconi and President Napolitano made appearances) next door and the overlook at Piazzale Garibaldi where there were festivities marking the 150th anniversary of a united Italy.

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On March 13th, 2011, MINI ROOF GROTTO…

the mini roof grotto spilling into a modest mossy garden

…in a big barrel was my solution to the daily rearranging of my moss gardens by the big birds who rule the skies up here on the Gianicolo – so into the huge sideways olive cask went all of the mossy rocks that would fit, then filled with water, spilling into a lush mini landscape on a circular dish….and finally the personal grotto I have always wanted.

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By Fritz Haeg on March 13, 2011 | gardens
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On March 3rd, 2011, MINI MOSSY ZEN ROOF GARDEN…

Roman rooftop mini mossy Zen garden

…is something I started messing around with a few months ago (featuring a miniature landscape of tufa rocks and scavenged blocks covered with pieces of moss varieties gathered on daily walks) on the part of the roof where water stands after rains or plant-watering and in today’s morning light it is looking picturesque out my studio window.

 

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On February 21st, 2011, THE PEA REPORT…

the first peapods on the roof

…from the Roman Rooftop Homestead is very good indeed, with the happy plants beginning to climb up the pea-stake branches that were just installed for them, and today I notice the first peapods hiding in the bright green foliage, and then, as often happens when first discovering something, you begin to realize it is everywhere.

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