Quick Tips to kill plants: high wind and low water
Plant killers: high wind and low water. Gadgets to the rescue
Some plants, like the hardy Primula auricula featured above, have thick waxy leaves that keep them from drying out. Others, like tender new transplants and large floppy-leaved plants like squash dry out quickly if you leave them suddenly exposed to the wind or full sun.
When deciding when to plant most gardeners completely forget about the effects of wind and water shortages on plants. They simply plant and slowly back away with fingers crossed. What more can you do? Plenty. And listening to this podcast from CBC radio is a good start. This interview with Donna was originally aired on the long weekend. Tips included here can be useful for gardeners everywhere.
Products mentioned in this podcast include:
Grownet: originally ordered online and used for over ten years now. This is an open-weave plastic cover that is laid over irrigation pipe or #9 wire and then attached with heavy clips or clothespins to hold it in place. I like to use it as soon as a crop goes out. It breaks the wind, stops birds from pecking at and eating new pea shoots, and also holds a bit of heat to help early plants thrive in chill weather. This product is heavy so a support such as irrigation piping shoved into the ground will hold it off plants.
Fleece: This is called Floating row cover, Reemay or Agribon and it can be ordered in many different weights. The heavier the weight the more heat it holds. In bad news this is a problem when summer heat really kicks in. The lightweight products shelter plants from wind and also give them a little shade and snow protection in higher elevation gardens. In the “unexpected consequences” category fleece can also keep the bugs away. Bonus! This product is called a floating row cover because it doesn’t have to be supported. It can float right on top of plants.
Proteknet: this fine-weave mesh was also ordered online and it is the best product for keeping really tiny bugs like flea beetles off your young cabbage family plants. I forgot to mention it in the podcast but I do love it for early or late season pests. Remember it will keep the beneficial bugs off plants too so if you need pollinators you can’t use this product.
And if a plant dries out?
There is no easy answer to keeping plants moist and if they dry out from lack of water or too much wind, they do get stressed and stressed plants get diseased. Sometimes they even die. So try to keep plants moist and water them slowly to make sure the moisture really soaks in. And before you water stick a finger in the soil to make sure it is really dry. You can allow the top few centimeters to dry out but when the pot is really dry or really wet there is trouble. Sometimes a completely dry plant needs to sit in a pot of water to re-hydrate because soil becomes resistant to wetting once it is really dry. So, a slow deep soak is best followed by a chance to dry – not dry out – between watering.
Good luck and enjoy the planting season. On my next Facebook live event on June 4th at 3 PM PST I talk about water and the importance of making it available to plants! I also demonstrate a new water-holding container I am testing.
What Would Donna Do?
Get my growing and gardening tips and pointers throughout the season.