How to Wind Proof Your Family Garden

At press (December 2022) winter windstorms have been battering cities and towns across Canada. Of course, extreme winds are not exclusive to the season, as they batter the west coast, prairie provinces, and central Canada through the spring, summer, and autumn as well. Meanwhile, experts are saying that climate change will bring more frequent wind storms to the east coast in 2023 and beyond.

Families with backyard gardens are also taking notice of this literal shift in wind patterns. Your own children may have grown tired of having storms disrupt or uproot their otherwise well-pampered crops. Is there anything that can be done to protect your family’s plants from this natural threat? There is! Let’s review.

3 Practical Tips to Wind-Proofing Your Family’s Backyard Garden

I. Install a Wind Barrier (and plant future crops accordingly)

Before heading outdoors, sit down with your kids to study weather charts as they apply to wind speed/direction and your garden. Select your city from the Canada Weather Stats website for reference. Every city has current and historical wind gust and directional data. For example, if located in Vancouver you can check out wind data here. The same goes for CalgaryMontrealToronto, and so forth. 

In knowing typical wind direction for your neighborhood, your family will understand how a windstorm can impact your garden. This allows you to take necessary action via the installation of a homemade wooden wind barrier. If blowing from the west, secure the barrier near the soil patch to protect plants from westerly gusts (etc.). As your garden grows, plant new crops along the side of the home, garden shed, fence, or dense hedge that best blocks the general wind direction.

II. Plant Wind Hardy Fruits and Vegetables

Hedge the risk of windstorm-compromised fruit and vegetable plants by planting low-growing species that tolerate wind more easily. These include the following:

  • Arugula
  • Blueberries
  • Bok choy
  • Bush beans
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Sprawling squash
  • Strawberries

III. Plant Wind Hardy Plants

Your food garden needs pollinators (birds, bees, etc.) to visit to thrive. To make your backyard more inviting to these pollinators, you need to add plants that attract them. However, like with your fruit and vegetable crops, flowering vegetation is equally susceptible to windstorms. If they go down, fewer pollinators will visit, and the health of your food garden may be compromised. To keep this from happening, plant wind-hardy plants to keep attracting pollinators while also providing an added (to the above) barrier for your primary garden. Species that thrive in our moderate climate include the following:

  • American holly
  • Bayberry
  • Carolina silverbell 
  • Crepe myrtle 
  • Dogwood
  • Japanese maple
  • Mountain Ash 
  • Redbud
  • Persimmon
  • Viburnum
  • Willow
  • Yaupon holly

Stay tuned to the Plant a Seed & See What Grows blog for other helpful tips to planting a sustainable garden in your family’s backyard.

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