Allotment windbreaks

Today we have 28 mph winds on the allotment. The actual temperature (16 degrees) feels like 11 degrees. Plants exposed to such strong winds with low temperatures are likely to desiccate even if they don’t snap.

Our site is windy. There’s no way around that fact. Three of the allotments we’ve worked on over the years have had differing levels of wind exposure and we’ve learned a lot from that range of experience. The first plot was in the middle of the site but had no shielding or windbreaks at all. We found that our Brussels sprouts ended up horizontal and in summer the outdoor tomatoes fruited only on the side of the stem that was in the lee of the wind – while fruits formed on the other side, they never swelled properly, largely, we think, due to stress and desiccation.

The second plot had a brick wall to its west side and low pallet fences. Most of the time the wind issues were manageable, but when the wind came from the west, as it did but rarely, the brick wall created a wind funnel that hit the middle of our plot with devastating effects.

Now, on the voodoo plot, we started by planting as much as possible in north/south rows, so that there is no wind-funnelling by one crop onto another. We’ve put in raised beds so that ground level stems and root systems aren’t whacked by our strong south-easterlies. Broken screening, such as the hedge at the front, disturbs the wind pattern so that it has much less effect on crops: a rough rule of thumb is that a hedge works for approximately 5 times its height so a metre tall hedge reduces windspeed by about 50% for a distance behind it of about 5 metres. Clearly then, one hedge can’t protect a whole plot! Screening works to perturb wind patterns so that wind speed is constantly broken and we have a range of screening from trellis, to fleece, to bamboo sculptures up which we grow nasturtiums, to arches and benches, all of which, laid east to west, provide protection for our plants.


Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Friday, June 22, 2012


Blogger Lauren Colie said...

I'm so happy I found this. This is beautiful!!!

June 23, 2012 at 8:03 PM  

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