It was a dark and stormy night

After last night’s weather, this is how our site looks this morning.

There are only a couple of fences that have been battered by the wind, but quite a lot of trellising and other support structures that people were using for their summer vegetables has succumbed to the gale.


Well of course because it was a mighty wind! But there are other reasons:

1 – the plants that were growing up the trellises, like runner or broad beans, sweet peas etc, have all stopped growing – they are either totally dead or heading for dormancy, so the feeder capillaries that extend from the roots have atrophied (died off, in ordinary speak) and the roots themselves are no longer conveying nourishment and moisture to the plant – this means the roots shrink and so there is a gap around each root. When the wind blows, the roots move around in this small gap and become even less well anchored, until eventually they give up their grip on the ground all together.

2 – the plant surfaces: stems, leaves etc, are all drying up. Because they no longer have sap rising through them to feed their growth, they become dryer and lighter. This is just like hanging out a thousand tiny sails – once they catch the wind, they have no resistance to it and don’t bounce back into place as they would in the height of summer because there is no moisture in the plant cells to keep them supple – so the tend to remain in the most extreme position that the wind blows them to, and once enough of them are full face to the wind, they act like a solid sheet, catching the wind and moving with it, and the support they were growing up is suddenly not a support any more, but a mast, with a huge sail and over it goes!

The moral of this story?

Take down your summer climbers before the November gales.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Sunday, November 18, 2007


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you get your garden restored again. This raises, in a round about way, another query from my own garden. I'm growing Dalmation Runner Beans (heritage seeds, they're the bean that the Dalmation gum diggers used to grow when they first came out to New Zealand), up a retaining wall, however, on two of the plants I've accidentally snapped off the 'runner part', trying to direct them up the trellis: will the plants send out more shoots?

(Yes, I'm a complete novice at this :) )

Cheers Mark Hubbard

November 19, 2007 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mark, I don't think you need to worry too much - as long as you keep them well watered they should put out plenty of side shoots - most people pinch out the tops of the plant when they reach the top of the trellis or support anyway, to ensure lots of side shoots, so perhaps you've just pinched out a bit early! I'm sure you're beans will produce plenty of flowers regardless. In directing them, try this: most varieties, according to old garden lore, will bend more easily clockwise than anti-clockwise. It's also good to try and train them in the evening, when they are resting, as the sap in the plant is a bit lower and that means it's a bit more flexible in the stem area.

November 21, 2007 at 1:23 AM  

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