In the city, it can be very hard to get the same relaxing experience that gardening provides to our friends out in the country or even the suburbs. One way to alleviate the crowded feeling and stress inherent in city living can be to utilize an often overlooked space for cultivation and green pursuits. I’m talking of course about the humble rooftop garden, the idyllic oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city, where you can grow whatever you want, and contribute to cleaning up the air of the metropolis to boot.
The challenges faced by the rooftop gardener are much the same as those faced by someone tending to a huge parcel of land out in the sticks, namely picking which vegetables, fruits and so forth will fit best in the garden and making sure they are cultivated in an environment that will ensure they grow to their full potential. One thing that many city gardeners have a tendency to overlook is the importance of a workable and fully fleshed out pest control plan. Pests of any sort are obviously damaging to a garden, but the smaller spaces involved in the rooftop garden magnify their effects, not to mention the fact that a garden in a city sticks out to potential pests much more than the exact same garden would shrouded by trees and other plants.
There are certain creatures that are far more prevalent in cities than in rural settings, and it is these pests that you should be most concerned with for your garden.
Here are a few of the more common in city pests and how to treat for them. Keep in mind that any pesticides you use will need to be applied in smaller quantities than would be necessary in a large garden in the suburbs.
Rats and mice are a constant presence in most cities, and having a rooftop garden full of delicious food can be irresistible to them. The key to controlling them is to use either mouse traps or mouse bait stations that will keep poison away from kids and pets, but will still allow the rodents to get in and get exposed, thereby eliminating the threat. These stations are often small enough to be hidden out of sight and not disrupt the aesthetic of your garden space.
While not pests in the traditional sense, birds can and will eat the vegetables and fruits that you’re growing if you give them a chance. But because they are not otherwise considered to be harmful, it is often a better idea to merely put some bird repellent around the garden, so that they are not tempted to eat the plants you’ve worked so hard on, but are otherwise unharmed.
You might not think of ants as a big threat if your garden is several stories up in the air, but these creatures will often stop at nothing for a meal, and can be found in equal numbers in the city as in the countryside. Therefore you will want to protect your plants with some kind of ant bait or trap that will keep their numbers from skyrocketing, especially as your plants mature and ripen.
By looking out for these pests, you can ensure that your rooftop gardening is pleasant and productive, and continues to be a great respite from the noise and crowded nature of city living.
Photo by Leong Him Woh