May 10, 2012

Wind, Wind Go Away!

Ughh, this north wind is awful!

Steady 10-15 mph winds plus 20 mph gusts do not invite tinkering in the yard at all, and so not only will tasks go undone today, but there will be even more debris to rake up tomorrow. The chickens don't like it either and are hunkered down in the corner of their yard.

The worst part is that the wind damages tender seedlings, recent transplants and even some relatively mature plants, and at the very least dries everything up quite a bit.

Broken, bent and wind-burned squash leaves

Damaged romaine lettuce leaves
Possible lost cucumber plant
Wind damage or something else on this apple?

I find it's important to monitor soil water content a lot more during windy days, especially when we have several in a row as we did last week. Sometimes I'm surprised by how dry certain beds get compared to others.

Moisture level is high in the chard bed

Factors such as sun exposure, whether a plant is in a pot, raised bed, or directly in the Davis clay, and how much compost or other organic matter I've added to the soil make a difference in how the wind affects soil moisture. This "Patio Star" squash plant will need to be monitored more closely during windy spells not only because squash need more water than other plants, but also because it's in a terra cotta pot, which loses moisture more quickly.

One thing that doesn't seem to mind the wind (or our hot weather for that matter) is the spinach. This year I tried a new variety, Bloomsdale, and it's growing well, hasn't bolted and is tasty.

Bloomsdale spinach, from Peaceful Valley Farms seed

How is your homestead holding up in this nasty wind?


  1. Tip of the week: I found a cheap yet tasty beer which the slugs seem to love. Name Tag Classic Lager from Trader Joe's comes in a six-pack for only $2.99. The slugs drown happy and my chard has fewer nibble holes. (I put the beer in a small pyrex glass bowl with no edges, so easy for the slugs to climb into)

    1. Yes, we have a stash of Pabst Blue Ribbon on hand for that purpose, though I can't say it's tasty because I've never actually tried it. I haven't used the beer method in a while, though, mostly because Sluggo works well and doesn't harm anything else (birds, pets, kids, beneficials, etc.) and I believe our Davis soil could use the extra iron, Sluggo being simply iron phosphate.

  2. Ooh, this is a horrible flashback to those terrible Davis north winds...dry everything out and then flatten it. Not that we've got the same issue (almost the opposite one), but how handy do you find that soil moisture meter?

    1. Weren't they terrible? Every time it's windy I get flashbacks to being six years old and pushed backwards on my bicycle in spite of peddling as hard as I could into the wind. The soil moisture meter is cheap but it works. My tendency (like lots of gardeners I guess) is to over water, so pushing that thing into the soil often helps me realize I don't actually need to water for a couple more days.