Westinghouse Arts plans to build a rooftop garden so the students can grow an array of local vegetables and herbs. In addition we plan to install several beehives to increase the pollinator population in the area.
Students enrolled in Environmental Science or involved
with the gardening club will plant and sustain the gardens. The current garden plans include vegetables, herbs and flowers to be grown during three seasons. We will have a specialized group of students trained in beekeeping to manage the beehives. The products of our garden
will be brought to Wilmerding’s food bank, used in school for the cafeteria, and feeding school pets, as well as fundraisers for student organizations.
Our urban roof garden would consist of raised beds across the width of the roof, trellises on the perimeter walls, and beehives boxes on an adjacent section of the roof. The growing medium will include raised beds covered with polytunnels in the early spring and late fall. Local soil supplemented with compost will be brought up to the garden via the school’s elevator. The student-decorated rain barrels installed on the roof will provide water when the rain is insufficient. In addition, a hose can be run from the nearby faculty room if necessary. Seasonal crops including greens, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, herbs and other easily grown vegetables will be planted and harvested during spring, summer and fall.
The garden start-up costs will be covered by a grant. This money will be used for the lumber and soil, seeds, tools, and wall frames. Continuing costs will be handled by an annual community plant sale. In addition, students can harvest flowers to use as fundraisers each autumn and late spring.
The rooftop area on the school is not yet accessible by door or inspected and approved as an outdoor garden space. We interviewed the owner of the school building to learn the procedure necessary for this type of construction project. The time required and costs of these steps are
substantial and would need to be included in a multi-phase project which is ongoing with the school and building. The steps include a feasibility study, architectural design, bid process, formal financial budget, construction, contractor payments and final inspection/occupancy.