For 25 years, ECHO has promoted several methods for growing vegetables above ground, particularly methods well suited to urban settings on rooftops, concrete slabs, or in areas where gardens may benefit from being out of the ground due to factors like flooding; roaming chickens, iguanas, or goats; extremely poor or acidic or alkaline soil; or simply the ease of working at gardens that are raised to waist or chest height. We have seen above-ground gardening methods used from rural Haiti (where raised tires kept chickens from ruining gardens), to the rocky soils of the Bahamas, to very urban settings like St. Petersburg, Russia, where rooftops may be the only space available for growing.
Mark Hare, currently working in Haiti, recently commented that tire gardens are the most popular technique he has ever been involved with, even in a rural area.
The area is constantly stripped of all of its old tires. Gardeners use them primarily to start seedlings for transplants. The seeds and tender seedlings are less likely to be destroyed by ants, snails, chickens, or goats.
All the methods use recycled materials and are exceptionally light weight. You will find extensive details on our website about the many methods for above-ground gardening that ECHO has developed. A TN is available.
ECHO Staff 2008. Above-ground or Rooftop Gardens.. ECHO Development Notes no. 100