[Market-farming] floating row cover question

David Inglis mhcsa at bcn.net
Sat Jan 25 18:45:38 EST 2003


David,
This might not work in AZ. but I am sure you could find a local
substitute. 
The following works for us in greatly reducing spring wind damage and
can be accomplished in months:
Plant winter Rye every third or fourth bed, especially if you can manage
to orientate the beds perpendicular to the prevailing wind. By
transplant time the rye will be 1 - 2' tall. Standing in the field you
will not notice much of an effect but try lying down where the plants
live [ this will also bemuse the neighbors ]. Wind speed will be greatly
reduced and also sand and debris will be filtered out of the air so
there will be less material to do the 'sandblasting. This filtered
material will also make a considerable contribution to your soils
fertility as it hopefully blew off someone else's place and the light,
wind blown material has a high fertility potential. I often tell my
apprentices that erosion [wind in this case ] is natures way of removing
soil from those who do not know how to take care of it and
redistributing it to those that do, all be it, several eons later.
Windbreaks, of an size, reduce wind speed up to 20 x their height on the
leeward side. They also accumulate the effect i.e. an 18" rye 'hedge'
will reduce wind speed up to 30' away; if the second rye bed is only 15
or 20 feet from the first  the wind speed will not have returned to
maximum and will be reduced from there until after several sets of beds,
at ground level, there will only be a breeze. Whatever material you use
it must be semi permeable so some of the wind can ooze through the
barrier. Solid barriers will make your situation worse through the
turbulence they create.
 Solid blocks of Rye, or anything else, including trees, that are more
than twice as deep as they are high will not add to the wind effect,
though they might be easier to manage. So 18"tall rye on a 3-4' bed [ or
a band of 60' trees 120' deep ] would be optimal and having several
contiguous rye beds will not add any benefit in terms of wind speed.
 I would not attempt to use row cover until you find a way to reduce the
ground speed of the wind even if you can secure them, which I doubt.
High speed wind will flap the R.C. like a loose sail and abrade the
seedlings worse than the wind on its own.
Happy sailing.
David Inglis
Mahaiwe Harvest C.S.A.





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