Shade cloth for a wind break?

maxinmontroseJanuary 23, 2013

Would love to hear from any of you that have gone the shade cloth route to protect your garden. I found a thread from a few years back that touched on this and wonder if anybody has any updated advice based on a few more years of experience. My raised bed garden area has an 8 foot fence around it (ZILLIONS of deer here) and I really don't want it blown over! Cutting wind flaps in the cloth makes sense, but seems like it would reduce the effectiveness as well. Any thoughts, advice, alternatives? Thanks, Barbara

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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

We've tried everything here and I've defaulted to hoops and row cover (lighter color for light transmission) for the late spring-early summer gales. This has the advantage of full coverage for some hail protection as well.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:58PM
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maxinmontrose

Thanks WxDano....I'm sure you're right

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:19AM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

I'm not sure I'm right, as opposed to I have what works at this time until it doesn't work any more and I have to find a better solution. ;o)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:14PM
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david52_gw

Where I am, people try row covers and - unless you really reinforce them with extra hoops and over-long stakes, - when the wind gets over 40-50 mph they end up in Kansas.

I know one guy who uses straw bales, and then when the winds die down, breaks them up and uses them for mulch.

I need to come up with something myself. These last two years, I've set out tomatoes too early vis-a-vis the wind and the plants just got hammered, and I don't think they ever really recovered.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 4:27PM
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maxinmontrose

The growing season here is too short to wait until the wind dies down! My raised beds exacerbate the problem because of the extra height....I'd need a mountain of straw bales! Plus which, we still get high winds even after "windy season" is over. Last year, I had a few fully grown tomato plants flattened. Some sort of permanent solution is really necessary, and I'm still tempted to try the cloth on the fence, but if the fence blows over I would have a bigger problem. I'm thinking of panels of cloth Instead of a solid piece to try to lessen the wind load, but don't know if the spillover effect (the wind speed is higher as it comes around the end of an obstruction) would just make it worse. The hoops are a good idea, but they DO have a tendency to head for Kansas!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 5:25PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Where I am, people try row covers and - unless you really reinforce them with extra hoops and over-long stakes, - when the wind gets over 40-50 mph they end up in Kansas.

I have raised beds as well, and last year we had two events where winds went over 60 at the house.

My clamps from Johnny's held to my hoops, which are on stakes or rebar; some of the older row cover didn't make it, and the peppers were hammered.

My garden before this one was at the base of a pass that graced us with wonderful, fresh breezes and I used bales there, but they take up a lot of room for my tastes.

If there weren't endless weather challenges to overcome, what would we do with our spare time?? ;o)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:30AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I have no idea how much this stuff would cost, so I don't know if it's a possibility or not, but you might want to check out the "wind screen" that's used around tennis courts. Twenty five years ago I had a tennis court in the backyard in the hills down near Parker--barren country, TOTALLY exposed to the wind. We eventually got wind screen put on the fence on the one end which was 10 or 11' high. The wind screen only went partway up, can't remember just how far. It was a black fabric (don't know if it comes in other colors) and there were some vents cut in it here and there, but they were very small--something about the fabric allowed some wind to get thru so there wouldn't be TOO much resistance. And the posts the fence was attached to were BIG, there were a bunch of them, and they were totally concreted in! So I think how well anything is gonna work will depend on how well the posts/fence is put in. If it's just posts "pounded" into the ground, I think you might be tempting fate to attach anything that would build up a substantial amount of resistance, but it might be worth it to find out more about tennis court type wind screen. It seems to me they were able to tell us how much wind per square foot (or something) the stuff could take--don't remember for sure anymore!

Just a thought!

Skybird

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:53AM
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tomatoz1

We've had good luck using sunscreen fabric by Easy Gardener (TM) that we got at Lowe's. it comes in 6' wide and you can buy any length you want as it's in long rolls. When we put the CRW tomato cages up, we use clothespins to keep a 3x3 panel on the windy side of the tomatoes. In June, when hail season starts, we move the panel to cover the plants - about 6" from the top of the plant. In July when it gets really hot we move the panels to the top of the cage as a sunscreen for the plants/tomatoes. My friend calls them "hats".

We've used the same sunscreen panels for over 5 years, so the biggest expense is just the first year. The fabric comes in 2 or 3 colors, but we chose the lightest so it wouldn't fade much. It's easy to cut in any size you might want, or use 40' of it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:53AM
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tomatoz1

I forgot to say the sunscreen fabric is nylon and very light.

This post was edited by TomatoZ on Wed, Feb 6, 13 at 2:00

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:54AM
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maxinmontrose

hi all...just wanted to share my results from the shade cloth experiment...it worked!!! we had our usual bad wind season this spring, but I'm sure that is not news to any of you. My raised garden beds are in a 20' x 60' fenced in area, with an 8' fence height. First I hung a 6' wide strip of cloth along the west and south sides at about 7' up (30% shade cloth). This helped but was not sufficient, so I got 50% cloth instead. This really made a huge differnce...it did not stop the wind but it definitely cut it enough to save the plants from damage, even when they were just seedlings. I did add two fence posts to the outside of the fence and tied to them, as the 40' center part of the long run had only t-posts and they seemed to flex more than I was comfortable with in heavy winds. the reinforcement took care of that and I am thrilled! It was not very expensive...I bought 12' premade panels of cloth and just cut them in half, and tied it on with tie wraps. The grommets are very sturdy and look like they will hold up for a long time. No problem with excess shading either.

One small victory over the wind, which thankfully has finally died down, at least for the past few weeks. We are just getting our first real rain this afternoon, so things are looking up. Hope all of your gardens are growing great....

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 6:47PM
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