Agriculture, Deli

Our Deli Rooftop Gardens are Getting Better and Better

The Deli started our edible landscape project seven or eight years ago. We had a very talented woman working at the Deli back then named Jacqueline, who wanted to replant all of the garden beds with all edible plants. Our old garden beds were fine but nothing special, sort of boring, and no one really spent anytime working on them, or really paid attention to them.

Thanks to Jacqueline’s inspiration, we’ve kept up the edible landscape theme at the Deli ever since. This year Julie is taking care of the beds. She works in the kitchen and, besides taking care of the herbs and vegetables we’re growing, she can also incorporate what we grow into the tasty items she makes for the Deli’s salad case.

Ever since we finished the Deli addition back in 2013, we’ve been wanting to expand the green space at the Deli. This year we’re taking our first steps toward expanding our green space by adding some new plants on top of the atrium roof (the roof that is right above the salad case). You can see the top of the atrium if you go up to one of my favorite dining areas—the outside second floor deck that wraps around the roof top of the historic home that houses our cash registers. On the north end of the deck, we have a perfect spot for raised beds.

Because we haven’t grown anything on this roof before, we want to test the sun and heat exposure. I am pretty sure it will be the perfect spot for plants that really like the heat and sun—basil, tomatoes, peppers, etc. We want to test how well things grow before putting in anything permanent, so Julie and our talented facilities team (Nancy, Miriam, and Dan) re-purposed some materials we had lying around the Deli. We purchase our olive oil for the kitchen and sandwich line in 50-gallon barrels from the California Olive Oil Company, and we used three empty olive oil barrels to create planters for our first test plants. We also used some leftover hay we had from last year’s Halloween Hootenanny and topped it off with some organic soil and compost.

Today I bought a few different varieties of basil seeds at Downtown Home & Garden (and their seeds are on sale!). I was glad to find the Genovese basil packets available from our local friends at Nature and Nurture.

We planted the first test pots of basil on the atrium roof today, and we will pick up a few pepper starts from Frog Holler tomorrow. If it all goes well we may expand what we plant next year (and of course get started a bit earlier next year as well!).

Stop on by and take look at all of our garden spaces the next time you’re in for a a bite to eat or doing some shopping.