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Old February 19, 2009   #1
hasshoes
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Default Wind effect on tomatoes- what does it do?

I always see people write that "it was a bad year, very windy". . . what does wind do to tomato plants? Besides tear them, knock them down, etc?

I'm asking because I'm trying to pick my garden patch area, and the area that gets the most sun is also completely exposed to occasional strong winds- mainly in spring or during an occasional summer thunderstorm.

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old February 19, 2009   #2
newatthiskat
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Several of my tomatoes made it through a cat 1 hurricane. I just unstaked and figured they were gone but they survivied. I don't suffer much from strong sustained winds but do get occasional bursts. The rain kills mine. and not weeding enough.
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Old February 19, 2009   #3
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Wind makes a ripe Eva Purple Ball drop like a 401(k).

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Old February 19, 2009   #4
creister
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Heather,

I live in an area where we have daily winds around 19 mph on average. I wrap my cages in grow cloth to protect them from the wind. Wind exposure on a daily basis will stress the plants, slow growth, reduce production, etc.. They basically get wind whipped.

We also get hail in our spring and early summer thunderstorms, so that is another reason to wrap my cages.

I don't think the winds from seasonal storms will cause you too much trouble, however, if you get daily winds above 10 mph, I would wrap them.

My production and plant health improved when I started using grow fabric to wrap my cages.
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Old February 19, 2009   #5
brokenbar
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One spring, at least 4 weeks after my tomatoes and peppers had been planted out, we got near-hurricane force winds for most of one day. It stripped EVERY SINGLE LEAF off of all my plants. Yes...they survived but it set them back easily 4 to 6 weeks while they grew new foliage (prior to that, most of the energy in the plants should have been going to root developement.) It was one of the suckiest years ever. So wind can to a lot of damage, especially if it is sustained. Unfortunately, to get adequate amounts and hours of sunlight, most of us have to plant our tomatoes out in the open with little or nothing as a wind break. I have taken to putting a bale of straw on it's side behind each plant (facing the direction that the wind most often comes from.) This has worked well and the straw seems to trap the heat which also speeds growth. Once plants are large, I remove the bales and just stack them up and if one breaks due to old rotting baling twine, it goes into my mulch pile. Wyoming gets A LOT of wind. I have to secure my vulnerable fruit-laden pepper plants to hog/stock panels.
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Old February 19, 2009   #6
montanamato
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I have found unstaked plants get the least damage from wind...Cages give good support as long as the tomato is not staked inside the cage...Too many broken branches otherwise....
I garden along the front range of the rockies and wind is the norm...Often sustained winds of 20-35 mph with losts of stronger gusts and lots of thunderstorm wind in the summer...
My strategy is, plant out in the calm and give new seedlings protection ,if high wind comes before they are well established....I also favor semi-determinate and determinate plants for their low , sturdy growth habits...Large indeterminates usually do the worst in the wind here...
High wind does keep the grasshoppers from moving around too much, so it is not all bad...

Jeanne

Oh and I have lots of container plants going each summer as they get some protection from the house...I like the insurance that if the garden is wiped out I still have 20 or so tomato plants ...
I find peppers break off easier in the wind than tomatoes, especially the tall , leggy ones....
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Old February 19, 2009   #7
creister
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Agribon grow cloth is supposed to let in 85% light, water, air; gives some frost and freeze protection, wind protection, diffuses light evenly, and protects from bugs. I can't reccomend it enough for those of us who garden in windy areas.

I just cut a piece long enough to wrap the cage and fasten it with clothespins. I will also cut a piece to put on the top of the cage. Pieces last about 3 years, or longer if you take care of them. The more I work with them, the easier they are to use. Available at Harris Seeds and Peaceful Valley supply.
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Old February 19, 2009   #8
montanamato
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I have considered using more protection, but I probably only cage 30 plants (large indeterminates) out of 120...
I have used straw bales placed strategically but our wind comes from several directions...
I plant extra close to preserve soil moisture, and try and create a bit of humidity...My plants usually don't show much stress or suffer in production, unless the wind is combined with temps near 100 for prolonged stretches...Even then, if they are older and established they hang in there...
I am using some agribon tunnels this year for cabbage and onions as they are always voted most palatable by the grasshoppers...Also thinking of using shade cloth on the patio for the peppers and eggplants.

Jeanne
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Old February 19, 2009   #9
feldon30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newatthiskat View Post
The rain kills mine. and not weeding enough.
A thick layer of mulch could help with these issues.

I apply 2-3 inches of wheat straw. Really cuts down on weeding, which I'm sure like most folks I HATE doing.
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Old February 19, 2009   #10
stormymater
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Tropical storms will knock over my CRW towers if they are not SECURELY staked - the big indeterminants last summer hung in there - at admittedly cockeyed angles in some cases but they were wind whipped. The whipping, with continued insufferable heat & humidity, slowed them down quite a bit... then the #$%^&@ leaf footed stink bugs showed up. I plan to wrap my cages in burlap before storms this summer (need to be available & leave it to DH). Have a source for some gi-normous rolls (oh so much fun bringing things home hanging out of the geriatric pickup! LOL).
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Old February 20, 2009   #11
newatthiskat
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I am going to try that Feldon I also have some weed fabric for this year. Have enough to cover some of the garden figured bettter than none
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Old February 21, 2009   #12
hasshoes
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Thank all- lots of great info as always!

It's crazy how moving a few miles can totally change your planting strategy. I feel like a first year grower all over again!
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Old February 21, 2009   #13
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I have large cages,which I fabricated, for my tomatoes. I cover them with 6 mil, clear plastic,that comes in large rolls at HD and/or Lowes. It provides heat as well as wind protection. Last year I did not use this,or any other, method and wound up with a Grand total of ZERO ripe tomatoes. Thought I'd let mother nature work her magic. She apparently don't like tomatoes.
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Old February 21, 2009   #14
Ruth_10
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Hasshoes, if your garden area is subject to only occasional strong winds you will be okay. Pick the sunniest area for your garden. It's areas in the country that get sustained, summer-long winds that have problems with damage and desiccation.

In my location we will often get moderate, sustained winds in early spring. Since my tomato plants are most susceptible when they are small and the weather is not reliably warm, I will often place a temporary wind barrier on the side the wind usually comes from. It doesn't have to be more than a couple of bricks stacked up or a board or a piece of fabric.

I cage my plants. I've had them get moved around in the cages after strong summer storms, but so far (knock on wood), nothing broken. I do stake my cages with sturdy, 6 ft. tall T-bars and wire the cages to the T-bars. They ain't goin' nowhere.
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Old February 21, 2009   #15
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Looks like some pretty heavy winds headed my way this afternoon. Hope my little seedlings arent effected
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