Stonewall Jackson Elementary Students Visit the Breaking Ground Green Roof

Planting broccoli, chard and lettuce on the Breaking Ground green roof

Having students visit our roof here at Breaking Ground Contracting is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences for us. Long before the roof was even designed, we knew we wanted to reach out to the next generation to show them how plants, and even food, can be grown in a very different space than they were used to seeing. After all, most of us don’t think of rooftops as a place to grow our food!

Picking mustard greens and herbs on the Breaking Ground green roof

Yesterday, we had three young ladies from Stonewall Jackson Elementary School join us to plant some “starters” (small plants that have germinated for only a few weeks) and pick some greens and herbs, and what a great time we all had. At first, my young friends weren’t sure how to start, to which I replied,  ”You get down in the dirt and start digging!”  They couldn’t believe it! Get dirty? Yep! This is how we do things up on the Breaking Ground Green Roof. And by the end of our time together, they we practically farmers! The girls planted broccoli, chard and lettuce starters, which will grow to be big and lush and end up on someone’s dinner table. Maybe theirs! We will update you on the progress of their plants as the begin to grow and thrive.

Stonewall Jackson Elementary students with their veggies and herbs on the Breaking Ground Green Roof

While up on the roof, we also had an opportunity to pick some mustard greens, parsley, mint and rosemary to take home with them. The pictures in this post show you  just how much they picked, and there was much more where that came from!

We laughed, talked, asked and answered lots of questions and just had a great time. The girls can be seen in our January monthly video to be posted here in about a week, so don’t forget to check back with us then!

In the meantime, see our recipe for “Spinach, Mustard Green and Potato Soup” that you can cook using greens just like the ones we are growing on the roof! Great for a cold supper! Enjoy!


Yields 8 servings


4 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 cups (or more) water

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch mustard greens (about 12 ounces), stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped

1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, stems trimmed (Or use 2 pounds fresh)

Sour cream (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add potatoes; sauté 3 minutes. Add 8 cups water and crushed red pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large pot over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mustard greens and all but 1 cup spinach leaves; sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes.

Add sautéed greens to potato mixture. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Bring to simmer, thinning with more water, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut remaining 1 cup spinach leaves into 1/3-inch-wide slices. Ladle soup into bowls. Add dollop of sour cream to each bowl. Garnish soup with sliced spinach leaves and serve.

Comments are closed.