How do YOU deal with the wind?

highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)May 6, 2009

I know that I'm not the only location that gets incessant spring winds, and I was just wondering what strategies you guys use for coping with it.

The hardy perennials can take a beating and recover, but my newly planted sprouts just can't handle it. I've tried making collars out of 2L bottles with the top and bottom cut off. They don't blow away if they are pushed down into the soil, but they sometimes shift a little, which causes as much damage as the wind does.

Direct sowing seed is also tricky, since it's almost impossible to keep a consistant moisture level.

... and then there's the issue of irrigation. The winds can make the lawn crunchy in a matter of hours, but you can't get any water on it, when the winds are blowing the water away. Fortunately, the winds are the most calm in the morning, when I run the sprinkler system, but it doesn't always work out.

So does anyone have any tricks or suggestions for minimizing the damage caused by the wind?

Currently, the winds are 22 mph with gusts up to 36 mph, which is forecast to continue for the next two days. Grrrr....

Bonnie

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jclepine(8b)

I honestly don't do anything in regards to the wind. It is just too often and too powerful and I'm just not willing to bother.

But, I have a good idea that just popped into my head!

For the plastic sleeves that go around the seedlings, what about lawn staples (radial wire anchor pins, dog fence staples) to hold the sleeves in place?

I wouldn't know if would work, but it sounds like a good idea...if I do say so myself :)

Jennifer

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 8:17PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

boy.

Some of my toms didn't take the hardening off and got shredded - including my favorite cherry, 'Green Grape'.

My peps are out and the better half found flexible wire in the dollar bin at Targét and that's helping. One year the MIL bought cedar shake and that didn't work too well. We have gal milk jugs, WOWs, paper cloches...do they work? I pretend they do.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 8:20PM
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colokid(5)

5 gal bucket over tomatoes and a rock on the bucket. I have made some fiber glass rings that would equate to a 5 gal bucket with the bottom out. I think the word is tranlucent. Then I place like steel post or 2 by 4 across them. Hub caps placed on top when it hails. Friend swears by 2 by 12 plank about a foot long nailed together. Fellow up in Why. used old car tires, one or two, warms them up nicely too, if you can stand the looks of them.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 9:30PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Jennifer, when I read your suggestion, it was a "duh, why didn't I think of that" moment. Thanks for the idea!

Dan, last summer I lost a tomato plant to strong winds. It was full sized, and full of tons of big, green tomatoes. The plastic coated, metal stake and the plant just snapped in two! The year, I am using an idea from someone on the tomato forum, who suggested using T-posts. I guess it could fall over if its not pounded far enough in the ground, but it sure isn't going to break in two like the cheap stakes they sell at the garden centers.

The worst area is the narrow bed on the west side of the house. I've tried numerous shrubs and perennials, with minimal success. Groundcovers do well there, but I need something with height to hide the air conditioner and garbage cans from view. There's a couple of Achillea plants that seem happy just in front of the area I'm referring to, but they end up flopping all over their neighbors, and looking rather sloppy by mid-summer. I've got several Achillea in other locations, but only the ones on this windy corner flop. There's also a Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' there, hidden behind the Achillea, but it's growing very slowly, and isn't big enough yet to provide any screen.

Here is a shot of the area, taken last summer:

Anyone know of any tall, fairly narrow, wind resistant shrubs or perennials that would work here? It's hard to tell in the photo, but there's probably a good 6' or so between the Achillea and the air conditioner.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 10:34PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Yeah, plastic coated stakes don't work, nor do cages. I trellis my tomatoes.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 9:32AM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Thoughts of our winds raise my blood pressure, but I'll be brief...

I had to use bamboo sticks inside my WOWs to keep them from tipping over. From afar, the messed up WOWS look like they are crushing the plants, but look inside and the tomatoes are happy, happy, happy; inside a bamboo tee pee.

Although not productive, nor lady-like, I cuss like the most foul mouthed truck driver, at the wind.

No offense to any truck drivers....but when I drive by you, I know what you say at me:))

It feels like the wind has blown incessantly for three weeks - I believe because I am hardening off my tomatoes and peppers. Any plants that survive this will be well adapted to our "wonderful" winds.

I can't wait to spread my bail of straw around the veggies, only to have it blow who knows where...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 9:48AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

We are using seed germination blankets to keep the soil in the veggie garden & I cut holes in it where the plants/seeds go. Expensive, but cheaper than soil. I was using black woven landscape fabric, but that got put away due to aesthetics...

The better half thinks wood mulch is great in the landscape, but she doesn't clean it up when it blows everywhere. My WOWs haven't blown over - they are ~20-25 lbs and stable because of their geometry, so if yours are blowing over, holy cr*p! Hurricane!

Dan

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:34AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Wind and rain have to be good reasons NOT to have automated systems.

So often, I have to wander how much of the irrigation water actually makes it to the roots or, if the ground is already saturated, how long does it take before someone pushes the right buttons to get things canceled. I'm sure that we all drive by large landscaped areas with the water spraying out merrily to absolutely no effect. When these landscapes are publicly owned, the waste of water, the electricity to pump it, and the cost of the system is a little galling.

My distant and windy large veggie garden couldn't be automated if I wanted to make it so. It is one of my serious Summer challenges.

digitS'

Here is a link that might be useful: Wind Tolerant Trees & Shrubs - CSU

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:50AM
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david52_gw

Generally, here on the Western Slope where the wind gets a running start over the Utah or Arizona desert before it gets here (often picking up a few dozen cubic acres of dust along the way), my solution is - wait until June to plant stuff out. By then, the worst of it is over.

However, if that isn't possible, there are folks here who use straw bales on the west side of the garden/specific plant row, but even those have to be staked down. Stuff with torpedo-shaped foliage, like onions, seem to do ok. My garlic, which comes up in March, seems to withstand all of it, and I had two pine trees break off about 4' high this spring.

But not that I don't goof it up. A few weeks ago, I laboriously planted several hundred leek starts, tiny little plants the size of a pencil lead, and the next two days was one of those 4-40 days (4% humidity/40 mph wind). Lets just say "crispy". I luckily had another bazillion leek starts so replaced them.

Which leads to another trick, have about twice as many seedlings as you need, because between the spring wind, nesting geese, late frost, teenage kids, and what not, many a plant does not make it through the first week or so.

Yesterday, I was up the road giving a fellow intrepid gardener a few hundred leek starts (did I mention that if you plant 1/4 oz of leek seed, thats a lot of leek starts?) and noticed his brand new row covers were a bit 'tattered' - one of the reasons that doesn't work too good here either.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:51AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Well, perfect timing the wind is really cranking here today, and on a whim I bought some seeds for a tomato, 'Tumbler'. It might make it through the day. Looks like some leaves will come off the peps. The HOA here won't approve a greenhouse over the entire parcel...

Dan

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:37AM
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jclepine(8b)

How can a HOA not allow something as useful as a greenhouse?!!

So glad I don't have one...HOA, that is!

If I had room for a greenhouse, I'd have one...a greenhouse, that is.

I'm glad those lawn staples were actually a good idea, Bonnie!

With the winds, I usually don't have much of a problem. When we do tomatoes, they are up against the front of the house. Last year, because we put the perennials where the tomatoes usually go, we put them east of the blue spruce, so the wind would be blocked but not the sun. But, they lost about an hour of sun over there and they did not turn out as good as the previous ones. If I do tomatoes again this year, I think I'll dig out a spot to set them next to where they used to go.

I wonder, can I use a tomato cage for Asiatic lilies? I got them at the fall swap last year and there are three coming up. With the winds being what they are, I'm not sure the house will provide enough support.

The other things that are new and I'm not sure how they will do in the wind are the tulips. They look okay but who knows how they will look when the tall ones start getting blown? They are all short stumps right now. One of the species tulips opened yesterday!!

But, since the daffodils seem to be unhindered by the wind, I hope the tulips are too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 2:12PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

When I bought this house, one of the conditions when I was looking was that I wouldnÂt even look at anything that had an HOA! I donÂt want somebody charging me money to tell me what I can and canÂt plant, what I can and canÂt build, and if I can fly an American flag or notÂwhich I do! And thenÂif they decide they donÂt have enough money, they double your paymentÂand keep telling you what you canÂt do! No way! I was talking to a flying partner recently and she was telling me her sister bought a condo and put up curtainsÂand was told she had to take them downÂwhite blinds allowed! Then she bought a little table and chair to put on her front porchÂand was told she couldnÂt do that! Then they found out she had a dogÂand she was told she had to get rid of it! She told them to get lost (to put it nicely) and moved back out. She only lived there a couple weeks, and was somehow able to get out of the sales contract!

I thot your "staple" idea was great, Jennifer. When I was reading BonnieÂs post I was gonna recommend putting stakes inside the jugsÂlike somebody else mentioned doing with WOWÂs above, but then I got to your reply and you had it WAY covered! Staples are an even better idea!

Asiatic lilies only have a single stem, so unless thereÂs a LOT of them, you should be able to put in bamboo stakes right next to the stems and loosely tie them. If 2 or 3 are close together, you could put a stake between them and tie them all to the one stake.

I donÂt know for sure what you might do for tulips! Most things will develop their own strength as theyÂre growing if theyÂre exposed to the normal wind and weather, but I donÂt know about tulips. If your dafs were ok, IÂm inclined to think your tulips might be ok tooÂand they really donÂt bloom for that long.

Ice cream fix break over! Back outside!
Skybird

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 5:49PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I planted tulips last year, RIGHT in the gusty winds' paths. They are doing FABULOUS!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:26PM
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jclepine(8b)

Thanks, Skybird! There are three stems starting so they should be easy to stake up.

Austinnhanasmom--woohoo! I put some in last fall then went back, bought more and put those in too. I didn't put too much thought into it but at least I remembered to get late bloomers!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:27AM
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laura_42(4b-5a Colorado)

Last May a tornado tore through nearby Windsor, and by early June we still had quite an awful amount of windy weather; as a newbie gardener I was quite worried, because it was breaking my baby pepper plants. Not knowing what else to do, I got out a long folding table and lay it down on its side next to the raised bed, legs facing away from the 45 MPH gusts for stabilization.

It wasn't perfect, but it did save my seedlings and plants from certain doom...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:31AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

David, I think I'm going to take your recommendation on planting way more seedlings than I think I will need. I've been sowing heavily in my wintersowing containers, but I think next year, instead of 100 seeds in one container, I'll do 50 in two, or 25 in four. That way, I'll have replacements ready when the first batch succombs to the wind, or a late freeze, etc.

With the tulips, the only affect the wind seems to have on them, is that the petals don't stay on long once they start to bloom, but the plants themselves hold up just fine. It must be that torpedo like foliage that David was referring to : )

Laura, do you have an HOA where you live? I'm pretty sure I'd hear from them if I had tables laying on their sides in the garden, LOL!

Bonnie

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:47AM
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laura_42(4b-5a Colorado)

Bonnie --

Shhh! Don't tell my HOA! I'm already on their list of questionable characters...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 2:10PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

As I was just outside fighting the wind and my row covers (maybe a frost next two nights??) and thinking of this thread, I forgot to state the completely obvious for me:

I plant at least two of everything.

Except for tom varieties. Otherwise, I have at least two of each var of pepper, eggplant, basil, everything that sticks up in the air.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 7:01PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I just followed that advice, Dan. I have room for at most 6 cucumber plants, so I planted twelve, two of each variety. The hard part for me is what to do with the extra plants, if they both survive. I find it painful to thin out perfectly healthy seedlings, LOL.

Bonnie

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 7:31PM
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david52_gw

I won't even start seeds for cucumbers, melons, and squash until next week in the greenhouse, and I'll plant bean seeds directly the first week of June.

But here, we very often get a frost the first week of June, and it still is in the mid-30's at night, now.

Right now, it's maybe 20 mph winds, and really, really dry - pouring the irrigation water on.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 9:02PM
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elkwc(6b)

I use several different methods and some years like last years none work real well. I plant on the east side of trees and buildings when I can. I put up 6' wide shade cloth as a windbreak last year. I'm planning on putting up a 6' high chain link fence at least on the south and west sides of my garden and will tie the shade cloth to it. I dig a 12" dia post hole for each tomato. I then put a plastic bucket or a WOW around them. I set them in the hole a few inches and this helps. When I plant I have the top at ground level and will fill the hole in as it grows. But the time they get out of the WOW or the bucket they are used to the wind somewhat and if you can break it a little for them they usually do fine. I also plant sweet corn on the south side of my peppers and tomatoes and once it gets some size it helps also. Our wind is kicking up tonight. Jay

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:24PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

If you put up the 6' fence and cover it with shade cloth, Jay, be sure you cut some (pretty big) U-shaped flaps in it here and there or the wind will either rip the shade cloth off of the fence, or it will tear the fence itself down. When I lived down near Parker we had a tennis court with 12' fence around it, and had windbreak fabric cover on it (only went halfway up), which is made so some of the wind will go thru it, and there were still U-shaped flaps manufactured right into the fabric to take some of the pressure off of the fence. It would be a shame for you to get your fence ripped out after all the work and expense of putting it inÂor even just have the fabric ripped off of the fence, since thatÂs not cheap either.

Guess my small yard is good for something! At least with 6' privacy fence all the way around it, the wind is at least slowed down!

Skybird

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:23AM
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elkwc(6b)

Skybird,
I did some research before I bought it last year. Believe I got the 60% cloth. It is the commercial grade greenhouse cloth. I put it up last year with a 52" cattle panel along the bottom and then the top part with no support except a T post every 4' and a wire stretched along the top to tie it too between the posts. It worked great even in the hard 50 mph winds. It doesn't stop it all but sure makes a big difference. I have used the shade cloth on my cold frame this spring as I move new plants to it. Makes hardening off easier and it stays put there also with no problem. I got this chain link fence for taking it down from and old gas plant. It is the commercial grade and have seen it piled to the top with tumble weeds and never bend or go down. So feel good about it. But then again I've been surprised before when my "great plans" went awry. Thanks for the concern and I'll knock on wood as I know it can happen but feel good about it at this time. That is why I only did the south side last year was to see if I could hold it and how the fabric would hold up and how much support I might need. Will see how it performs this year. I know others that have put wood, tin or sheet metal up as high as 6' high for wind breaks for their gardens but really don't want to go to that extreme if I don't have too. Jay

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 9:26AM
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digit(ID/WA)

The U-shaped flaps work pretty darn good for the "hoopies" I have set up in the garden. I don't use flaps in my "big" tunnel, however. The tunnel is a good deal more protected and secure than a few 8' pvc pipes on re-bar stakes with a piece of plastic over the top and the whole thing held down with a few shovelfuls of dirt/rocks.

An important reason to have the flaps is that in the still air of an early morning - like what allowed our frost to "settle" here this morning - the flaps remain closed and provide some frost protection. During sunny afternoons, the flaps lift now and then to allow heat to escape. In the wind, they flop around and reduce wind-resistance.

I'm a believer in hoopies but would get rather anxious with any wind above 40 mph. For a few weeks in the Spring (& I suppose, during the Fall), they can provide some protection from the cold.

(Bonnie, you never went with that Silt Fence - it's not in your photo, anyway. Seems like the HOA couldn't cite you on sighting considering the site, see? And, I've been to quite a few places named Buena Vista, including the one in Colorado. My interest was in looking more-or-less UP, not INTO people's backyards. Wonder what they can get away with in Hell, Michigan. ;o)

d'S'

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:57AM
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david52_gw

Those "U" shaped flaps and chain link fence work great, up until the wind comes from the wrong direction. Witness the local High School baseball field, where the City Fathers, for some reason unknown to me since the same baseball field has been used for dozens of years w/o one, put one of those things up. So...... 50 mph winds from the north, not the south, and one flat fence. They were playing that day as well, and the team lost 36 : 11.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:52PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

/////wind???////what wind?////

////my plants and I always list like this////

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:54PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Now I know why you never come to the swap, Jali! You stand funny!!!

;-)
Skybird

P.S. At least you chirp straight!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 10:56PM
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jnfr(z5b CO)

I haven't had too much trouble (yet!) with the wind actually blowing things over (though like jaliranchr they do list a lot), but the wind causes me lots of trouble with keeping my veggie beds properly watered. I actually replaced my 12 inch tall beds with six inchers, and used heavier wood, just to reduce the surface-to-wind ratio. I'm hoping that will help some this year.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:16PM
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laura_42(4b-5a Colorado)

Haha Jali!

Well, today was definitely a "drag out the table" kind of day:

It looks silly, but it works.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 6:09PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Oh, I can't do that. I'd be outside sleeping on the table.

Dan

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 9:27PM
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