Chicken Coop, Phase 2 – The Rooftop Strawberry Patch

In Produce Garden, Projects and Renovations by Laura CrossleyLeave a Comment

First off – I have no perception that we are sane people. This chicken coop is completely out of hand. That being said, it just got more awesome.

As we completed Phase 1 of building the coop, Aaron and I talked about putting a roof on the chicken run. We considered a basic tin roof. We talked about trying to continue the cedar shingles the length of the run. Everything just sounded like a ton of work on the heels of a project that was already a lot of work.

Then, Aaron thought up this gem.

We’d talked about some raised beds in or near the garden but hadn’t bothered to build anything yet. We also hadn’t planned for strawberries. Imagine that. In all the insanity of the massive garden planning – no strawberries.

Aaron solved both in one big swoop – AND put the roof on chicken run. Introducing the most ridiculous chicken coop’s ridiculous chicken run rooftop garden™.

We used plywood and 2x4s to shape up a base on the already enclosed run. The pitch and braces were based on the plans from our chicken coop. From there, we had to wing it.

Bahahaha, chicken puns.

We used cedar 1x8s to frame in the garden boxes. A 2-inch gap was left at the bottom end of the plywood to allow water to drain from the bottom of the roof and, ultimately, eliminate the risk that tons of water would accumulate at the bottom-most edge of the beds.

To help the soil stay put and help with drainage, we attached random cuts of 1x2s at various angles on the bottom of the bed. Then, we added a layer of high-quality weed barrier to further help with water movement while preventing the soil from washing through the drainage hole at the bottom.

Naturally, I took zero photos of the middle stages of this build. Maybe someday I’ll draw some diagrams to better show it.

Aaron and his mom Anna took on the hefty task of adding potting soil to each side of the roof and then I arrived on the scene for the funnest part – loading it with strawberry plants.

An early observation: we had planned for the garden bed to allow for a 4-inch depth of soil – and that’s what it did. This is likely a bit shallow for the strawberry plants. The starts and their roots seemed a bit constricted on planting – we’ll see if they’re able to adapt. If not – we may be replacing them with something that can handle this shallow planting a bit better. So far, though, so good.

I added a pair of sweet potato vines and a few packs of morning glory seeds to the East-most edge of the run. My hope is that the strawberries will fill in the bulk of the rooftop and the vines will run over the edges a bit for a stunning summertime view. Again – time will tell if this works or not!

Generally – we’re thrilled with how this project turned out. It’s a super cool addition to an already cool build. Now we just need to see if our green-ish thumbs can get these things to really work!