Close up of strong wind break netting

Close up of strong wind break netting

No, not a reference to too many sprouts, but a serious question from L. Onerf in Somerset:

‘Vegetables are not growing well in my windy garden, but I am reluctant to plant windbreaks of trees or hedges, as they will create shade and take moisture from the soil. What alternatives are there?’

If you want to avoid the costs of installing a fence/trellis with openings to allow the wind to percolate through at an acceptable speed, I think the answer lies in putting in a screen of synthetic wind break material, obtainable from most garden centres or online. The strength and quality of this varies and some is fairly costly, but a 1.5- 1.8 metre high wind break around your plot would give dramatic results. I found a 50 metre x 2 metre roll of knitted net on offer online for around £170 or much the same on Ebay for about £40, and £13 for a 10 metre length. Make sure the posts are anchored firmly in the ground (corner posts may need to be reinforced and they should ideally be bedded in concrete), as the netting takes a tremendous strain in high winds.

On the subject of vegetable or kitchen gardens, is yours laid out for maximum efficiency and growing space?

Traditionally vegetables were grown in large plots, often 6-9 metres wide and as long as the garden allowed. The vegetables were arranged with a lot of wasted space between rows. Today we know that vegetables can be grown far closer together without any adverse effects; indeed, there is a a trend towards abandoning rows and growing vegetables with equal spacing between the plants in each direction, in blocks or patches.

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old school Garden

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old School Garden

This compactness lends itself to smaller, narrower beds, say 0.9 – 1.5m wide, which can be any length you like. These narrower beds are easier to manage from either side (so avoiding walking on the bed itself and opening up the possibility and benefits of ‘no dig’ cultivation) and the denser planting also helps to crowd out weeds. here at Old School Garden, my kitchen garden ahs been laid out along these lines, though I still have a one large bed which I’ve effectively split into two by creating a ‘boardwalk’ path out of old pallets.

New boardwalk made of old wooden pallets

Boardwalk made of old wooden pallets, used to split a large veg bed into two

Do you have any gardening questions I might help you with? If so, please email me: nbold@btinternet.com

Old School Gardener

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