Protecting garden from wind?

sunnymorninggardens(z4-5 CO)January 8, 2006

I'm getting ready for my 6th challenging spring to grow a good garden. The problem seems to be the frequent high wind in this area just east of I-25. My homeowners association finally approved a lattice windbreak which I erected on 3 sides of the garden. It helps, but I'd like to know what others have done for their gardens to protect the plants. Lots of good ideas just don't work when the wind blows Wyoming dirt in our faces. Any good suggestions for cold frames, row covers etc. that have withstood wind? Standard row covers just don't work and #9 wire doesn't hold up.

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Wind is a serious problem here but I've an idea that it could be worse in your part of the world. Our plastic & pvc tunnel, in front of a more permanent greenhouse is fairly well protected from the wind but I stretch baling twine over the top from opposite corners of the 20' structure and tie it to rebar stakes. Also, under the plastic, I've tied the pvc pipe itself together to keep the entire thing from collapsing - simple one string along the peak with a loop then granny knot on each hoop.

In the windier vegetable garden, I've gone more "industrial" on trellising the peas & beans than I used to think necessary. One huge problem for everything - running the sprinklers during the wind can really wreck havoc.

Instead of a simple string and post trellis for the peas, I use a teepee approach with a "ridge pole" running from one teepee to the next. I prefer mechanic's wire to tie these 1 by 2's together. Same approach to the beans but I like to use 2 by 2's for the taller posts. You should know that I don't grow nearly as many climbers as bush beans and cutting down on the exposure is one of the reasons.

I often have to walk thru after the wind and turn the cucumber & squash vines back over. Maybe I should "staple" them to the ground. I'm curious to read the responses of others to your questions and wish you luck there in sunnymorninggardens.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 1:32PM
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david52 Zone 6

For spring planting, or when the plants are small and fairly tender, some kind of barrier like bales of straw on the windward side seem to help, creating a 10 inch shelter right behind. I've also seen guys use stakes and hammer in 10 x 1 planks for the same effect. These get moved in Mid-June when the wind has died down.

In mid summer, I've been very pleasantly surprised by using cattle panels, held up by steel t-bars. I've had them entirely covered with vining stuff, and had fairly strong winds (40 mph), and they stayed up just fine. Thats from the gusts of wind around the thunder storms.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 5:36PM
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sunnymorninggardens(z4-5 CO)

There are some days that your strong winds (40 mph) seem like gentle breezes. When we have high wind warnings here, semi trucks blow over on the interstate. I've heard small pet warnings that say to keep small pets inside so they don't blow away! I haven't yet seen a time of the year when high winds die down. Thank goodness the wind doesn't blow every day!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 10:00AM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

Hi sunnymornings,

I feel your pain (it wasn't for nothing that I chose this name)! I find that if I can get my plants established they can handle all but the worst winds. My best suggestion is to check out - the section on garden 2004 has some good info (towards the bottom under climate) on using PVC tubes to protect young plants. Somewhere on that site he also talks about using old tires as protection too. Anyway, there's a lot of good info from a gardener dealing with the Wyoming climate. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 9:43PM
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I too live just east of I25 across from the Academy. I think the best long term solution is wind tolerant plants on the north and west sides of the garden. We've planted some Colorado Spruce and White Fir, and they seem to be holding up well. Mugo pines and juniper added as well for protection lower to the ground. I use a cold frame for hardening off seedlings on the east side of my house, up against the house to provide protection. When the wind blows strongest, it is always from the north and northwest.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 1:26PM
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I found using the lattice works also. But in my design, I have found that window screen mesh stapled onto the lattice but anchored on wood in a kind of lein too help with sun, hail and wind. You can find it at any home improvement center.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 9:05PM
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sunnymorninggardens(z4-5 CO)

Thanks for that advice. Great idea! I'll try the screen this spring for hail protection and shade for the lettuce. I think I'll staple it to the lattice at the top and then staple the bottom to a 2 x 4 for anchor, sorta like a tent, which I can move when I want to tend the plants. I think that's what you meant.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 8:20AM
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