The Q&A Archives: Constructing a Windbreak

Question: My young peppers always get beaten up by the wind. I have put old shingles around them, used walls o' water, and put cages over the plants with garbage bags over them. I am thinking about constructing a frame on the north and west sides of my raised beds and stapling shade cloth to block the wind. Will it work? Barb Miler Powell, WY

Answer: Whether your plan will work depends on the strength of the wind. Sometimes it seems that nothing I put together for the garden will withstand some of the wind gusts we get. I would be concerned that staples wouldn't be strong enough, and that the shade cloth would tear during the first heavy wind. One thing I have done in my garden is to use hay bales to make a sturdy "cold frame." I set them on the ground end-to-end surrounding my raised bed, then placed big old storm windows over the top. If the windows are heavy enough they should be fine; otherwise you can weight them with rocks on the corners. This kind of set-up might help you during the spring; however, it would probably get too hot in the summer. You might try removing the window and leaving the bales on the north and west sides--they just might break the wind enough. Do you have a spot where you could plant a windbreak--a row of bushes or evergreen trees that could, albeit in a few years, help break the wind?

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