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September 12th, 2013

“Unless your garden is stocked only plants on the prairie or steppes, every garden should have hedges and windbreaks that will baffle the wind and break it up, protecting plants growing in their shelter.”

Monty Don from Gardening at Longmeadow

Windbreaks are a very important consideration in your garden. Even if you live in a typical suburban allotment you need to consider how the wind comes across your garden. Back in Ohio, my gardens were surrounded by trees, lots of very tall trees. We were very protected from the wind, too protected, for these trees limited the breeze and also provided too much shade.
Mulching the Main Garden 4
Here in Maine, we have the opposite problem in the garden. There are large trees, but most of them are too far away from the garden to provide the kind of wind break we need to protect plants, both from the winter winds to the winds of the summer.
Onion Harvest 3
My onion harvest suffered from the lack of a windbreak. I harvested the majority of my onions a month ago, but a few remained standing because they were protected by the celery. It’s amazing how much larger they are than the ones harvested a few weeks ago. If I had a proper windbreak my onion harvest would have been almost twice the size it was (Note Dexter setting by the onions for scale). Below, you can see the onions I harvested earlier on the right and the ones harvested later on the left.
Onion Harvest 1
Onion Harvest 2
I am planning on adding a hedge around this garden in the future, but next year I will have to remember to plant something tall on the side the wind generally comes from.  Perhaps a few sunflowers to feed the chickens in fall would be a great option.

Do you have a windbreak in your garden? Have you ever suffered loss from too much wind?

4 Comments to “Windbreaks”
  1. Nebraska Dave on September 12, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Susy, I have natural wind breaks for my garden. The west side of the garden has a tall tree covered bank. In my area nearly all of the bad weather comes from the west. The north is protected as well with natural tree cover. The East is open and the garden gets full sun from sunrise until about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Then the shade creeps in from the tall bank with trees. The South is semi protected with the same tall bank and trees as it continues on with a slant and meets the street about 100 yards down the road. And, well, the property to the South has over your head weeds which breaks the weather. This inner city property was a great find as far as potential gardening goes.

    Have a great wind break day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. whit on September 13, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Our windbreak is our industrial sized hoop house. :)

    And now that I think about the subject too, our garden area outside has some great wind breaks too. A shed blocks the winds from the west, and a row of grapes and asparagus block winds from the northeast and south.

    Thankfully our farm is blocked from the east winds by a small hill covered in lots of Doug Fir.

    Reply to whit's comment

  3. Mich on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 am

    We live on the top of a hill and are subject to a lot of SW winds.
    So the gardens are battered when the wind is howling….but the view is awesome!
    We are due gale force winds on Sunday so will have to pick the pears & early eating apples or they will all drop off. :(

    Reply to Mich's comment

  4. Michelle on September 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

    What a difference! Although I do love having small onions, too…just enough for certain dishes. :)

    Reply to Michelle's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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