Green Roof Experiential Learning – Spring 2015 Blog 3 Hort Students Condensed

By Martha Todd:

In the past two weeks the plants have started to arrive and thus the dirty work begins! We began by categorizing the plants that had come in by which wall they were assigned to and then to the different types of holding containers. Wall 1 has containers that hold 6 plants each while wall 3 containers carry 16 plants. The next step was to create the soil mixture to put in the modules with the plants. The soil was a mixture of mulch, rocky and sandy dirt, and added nutrients in the form of beads.  After this was completed we planted everything that had come in and continued to do so as new plants came in on different days.

During the last class we weeded the plots that were located on the roof ground and planted tomatoes and bell peppers, typical summer crops. The plants that grow from these ground plots are typically very healthy and produce an abundance of fruit and vegetables so it will be interesting to see if the same pattern is repeated for the summer crops that were just planted.

My favorite part about this directed studies class was that I was outside of the traditional classroom engaged in a project that could become a common feature on buildings and houses everywhere in the country. Before I took this class I had no idea what a green or living wall looked like; however, this class has taught me about sustainability, urban issues, and basic research skills while the whole time never having to study for an exam or open a book. It’s all hands on. I wish more classes were like this one because after this class I want to focus on sustainability as a career and study more of the ways that green walls can impact energy levels, communities, and the world around us as resources become more scarce and we as students must find solutions to overcome these obstacles.

 

By Nicole Forbes:

The semester is coming to a close and so is this semester on the green roof! This semester flew by so quickly. I have not got to do much on the roof this end part due to finals and group projects but I still got some stuff done!

One of the things we did a lot of these past couple of weeks was mixing the old sandy, gravelly soil with fresh potting soil and Osmocote to give the new plants more sustenance and nutrition. We did two parts gravelly soil with one part fresh potting mix with sprinkles of Osmocote throughout the mixture. Hopefully this will allow the plants to grow better than the ones that were on the walls in the past.

Nicole blog 3 photo 1

We also began to put the plants that we bought into the wall modules. We only did four per module even though there are eight spaces to give the plants room to grow into the rest of the module. We will be getting a few more plants in the next couple weeks and I plan to help with that also. That’s really all I’ve done in the past month on the roof. I’m looking forward to going up in a few weeks and seeing how the plants are fairing.

Nicole blog 3 photo 2

 

By Ivan Mendoza:

The last couple of weeks we have been taking down the green walls in preparation for the new plant material coming in. Green wall 1 was taken down first. The modules were taken down individually. All the medium and old plant material was removed from each module. Once all the modules were taken down they were rinsed out and cleaned. Green wall 3 was the next one taken down. These modules were a little bit heavier and bigger than the modules in green wall 1. They were more tedious to remove due their size and structure. The medium and old plant material in these modules were removed just as well. All the old medium was placed in trash cans were fresh soil was mixed with it. Following osmocote (slow release fertilizer) was applied to the mixed soil. We used this soil for the modules removed from green wall 3.  The new plant material was inserted in each of these modules with the mixed soil.  Over the last couple of weeks we have also been harvesting any plant material that has needed to be harvested. The strawberries that have ripen over the last couple of weeks have continually been harvested. The rest of the edibles have continued to be harvested as well. We have also removed any weeds that have developed in the edible modules over the last couple of weeks. This is my last blog for the semester. I have really enjoyed taking this course. I’ve learned a lot over the course of the semester through researching and hands on application. I look forward to hearing how the new plant material does on the green walls in the summer.

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