Over the past two months the FUSE rooftop has seen some really intense weather. Torrential rain in June, constant wind and 100+ degree days in July have treatened the crop plants, but they have survived as you can see here:
This past week, the FUSE team- Julia, Beth, Kyle and I have been harvesting all this plant material from the roof of the parking garage at Rose Hill campus, Fordham University. To harvest the plant material, we collected leaves and stems in separate bags by hand.
In this way, we can calculate the amount of edible crop produced and the total amount of above ground biomass. Wet weights are taken at the time of harvest to determine industrial yields. Then, the plant material will be dried at the Louis Calder Center. We dry the plant material because different plants contain different amounts of water inside them, and once we remove the water the samples become standardized and we can draw stronger comparisons between them. Dried plant material is used for a number of other laboratory techniques. For example, dry plant matter is used to detect the amount of Carbon and Nitrogen in the different plant parts. These data will help us understand nutrient cycling in agricultural rooftops, and we may be able to begin to understand why some treatments grew larger than others.