does anyone know if there is such a thing as a plexiglass wind block that could be attached to a section of pvc porch railing? (for the purpose of blocking wind but letting in sun)
Last year was my first year in a 6th floor apartment. The strong winds blew soil onto the balcony floor.
This year, I bought some Landscape Fabric. It controls weeds and is a 'chemically inert fabric designed to prevent the passage of light and stop soil erosion but allow air, water and liquid fertilizers to penetrate plant roots and soil.' The roll is 3 ft. x 40 ft.
I was told in the nursery to follow the instructions on the package, and also to tuck the edges into the soil at the sides of my planters.
The winds this year were strong like last year. Works great!
Ironically, last fall I bought a 3ft x 6ft piece of clear plexiglass just to deal with the wind. After 14 years here, I had had it and wanted to block the often-strong summer winds but keep the sun shining in that spot at the western (sunniest) end of my NE-facing balcony. I was going to cut it to size to fit the corner but never got around to it... Out of desperation, I placed it against the rail and just bent it around the corner (it was fairly soft and bendable). I then used 2 large planters containing a pussy willow and a torch lily to hold it in place and was happy to find that I didn't lose much space doing it that way (maybe a few inches right at the corner). It has been so far so good with the sun still able to reach the plants and wind diversion up and away from that corner seemingly occuring. I'll see how it goes with my tomatoes that are planted near that corner.
Otherwise, for a similar purpose of air diversion, I have used burlap to difuse window A/C exhaust and I expect that the previously-noted landscape fabric would work as well to diffuse....
I installed plexiglass on the far end of my balcony this year (where the west wind blows directly). I drilled holes in the top and bottom edge, and halfway down on either side of the vertical railings. I used electrical zip ties to attach the panel top and bottom, and anchored in the middle with more ties around the vertical supports. It's worked great. I was going to then move onto the front of the balcony, but it was going to be a little too pricey. I have 'found' some panels I can recycle but now my plants are well enough established that I don't know if I need to bother. The tomato flowers would probably benefit from a little more shelter right now. Because the winter winds can be even more fierce than summer, I believe I'll cut the ties and store it in the furnace room for the winter.
Here is a link that might be useful: picture of balcony, end with lucite panel tied on with zip ties.
Sorry, not sure if that link will work..
See my June 24 posting above. My landscape fabric soil protection worked very well, and the pansies flourished - until a squirrel decided to make a sixth floor nest in the concrete well holding my planter containers, in a space at the end of the well. He (she?) made the nest using all the stems, leaves and flowers of the six pansy plants intertwined with all the landscape fabric. All that was left were a few 1/2 inch naked stems. In this same building squirrels have done their nasty deeds at least up to the 21st floor!
Unlike other posters, a windbreak is not a solution for me, as the condominium rules do not allow any attachments/screws, etc. on balconies.
Now I have planted geraniums in the planters, and again am using landscape fabric, with large spaces between the planters. So far so good. I will put some rocks in the spaces to foil the culprit.
Just to be clear, I didn't drill holes in the balcony, I drilled them in the plastic. The electrical ties simply go around the railing, and through the holes, thus attaching the lucite to the railing in a very non destructive way. My condo doesn't allow this kind of thing either, but at 8 stories up they can't see it, and I just don't invite the neighbors in. I bet they won't see it at 6 stories either. I have black rails and used black plastic ties. Your other option is to prop it up with pots like Jenny. Or, insert the plastic into or around the pots. I happen to have some short tubes of lucite that have been around my family for years. Whenever I put those around a plant it thrives. It's apparently not too hot, and because they are out of the wind they start growing over night and get nice strong stems. Then when they get too big they are sturdy enough to survive w/o the mini greenhouse. If you pots are square, maybe you could cut panels to insert between the dirt and pot, or bungee cord them around the outside.