Fruits (and Vegetables) of Your Labors – Vol. 16 – Bloomingdale

“I posted an article the first of the year asking advice about whether to build a roof deck or a green roof. I posted a second article after I decided to build the roof deck with information about roof decks. Now I am sending you some pics of my roof top garden in Bloomingdale. I have several ornamental plants that hang over the edge of the roof. A large herb collection with Basil, Chives, Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Dill. Vegetables I have Peppers, Grape Tomatoes, and Climbing Spinach. Fruits I have Strawberries, Blueberries, Figs and Kiwi.”

11 Comment

  • Gorgeous! How do you get your dill to grow? I try every year and it never gets bigger than about 5 inches then dies. It’s my favorite herb & I would love to grow it.

  • claire

    Wow, those fruits are especially impressive to me! Figs and kiwi?? I’m very jealous.

  • Can you tell us more about climbing spinach? Online search describes it as “mucilaginous” – used to thicken soups or stews – I’m imagining like okra in gumbo? How do you eat it?

    • Actually yes if you cook it very much like okra in gumbo, I like my okra fried. : ) If you have ever had PHO you may have already had it and not known it, some restaurants use it while others use cabbage or other greens.

      I don’t like to cook the climbing spinach, rather eat it raw in salads on on sandwiches / burgers, it is exactly like raw spinach then. It LOVES the hot weather so it grows in the summer when regular spinach struggles. Its a cool option, and as I said below it is quite fast growing and ornamental even if you don’t eat spinach.

  • Kiwi? For real? My kid would be unbelievably excited if we had a kiwi plant (tree?) He could happily live on them.

  • Dill

    Funny I never have a problem with Dill. I plant it annually each year from seeds left over from last year. I do the same thing with Basil. All of my pots are clay, they get full sun all day and I use “Miracle Grow Moisture Control” potting soil, I have much better luck with that not drying out compared to regular potting soil. I water daily. I plant lots of seeds just under the soil and keep it most, never has a problem, works great in homemade pickles and other recipes. The Basil and Dill tend to not love full sun all day so I put them in the only little spot that gets some evening shade. The Basil makes some amazing pesto, cut it back and it fills out again fairly quickly.

    Figs and Kiwi

    Figs do GREAT in DC. I am amazed at how many fig trees I see in Bloomingdale / Shaw / Ledroit. Figs do especially well in Pots as they tend to like to have their roots restrained. My fig is doing very well; it is in full sun and has lots of figs on it. I plan to keep it pruned to under 4 feet, keeping it bush sized rather than tree sized. I hope to add a dwarf nectarine next season and am looking forward to that. The only Kiwi that will grow in our zone with cold winters is the winter hardy variety; you can readily find them at Home Depot / Lowes in the fall and spring. You have to have a female plant to produce fruit and a male plant to fertilize it. They grow as vines and enjoy full sun to part shade, great for arbors or privacy screens. The fruit is more like a Grape than a Kiwi you see in the stores, smooth skin, about the size of a large Grape or medium Strawberry, but tastes the same as regular Kiwi. It may take two seasons for the plants to fruit and you do have to have male and female plants, they are easily marked.

    Climbing Spinach

    This is new for me this year; a friend gave me seedlings from the Twin Oaks Community Garden in Columbia Heights. This is a pretty cool plant, it grows like wildfire, inches per day it seems. POP did not post a picture of it. I have it in a pot growing up a bamboo stick trellis. It is very hardy, loves full sun and moisture, very colorful as the vine is red and the leaves green. I think it would do great as an ornamental. I like the leaves best in salads or on burgers instead of lettuce. It does not cook the same as normal spinach as you noted, it will help to thicken soups as potatoes do from starch, normal spinach wilts when cooked. I would say use this version all summer long for salads and sandwiches, and grow the regular version on the spring and fall during cool weather for cooking.


    The top picture from left to right, Blueberry (you need at least two varieties to pollinate) Sweet Potato Vine, Million Bells Miniature Petunia, Purple Russian Sage, Yellow Zinnia, Grape Tomato Vines, Montauk Daisy.

    The middle picture shows left to right Dill, Chives and Rosemary, the lower level is Sage, Basil and Thyme.

    The bottom picture shows Pineapple Sage, Yellow Moonbeam Coreopsis, the Grape Tomatoes and Montauk Daisy again.

    Happy Gardening!

  • Its a beautiful roof top deck! I live in the building and love spending time visiting my friend that owns it.

    • Really? I heard he was a real jerk and never lets his friends visit and he throws tomatoes down on their heads from high above : )

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