Exposed Coastal site

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Tom Hill

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Exposed Coastal site
« on: January 09, 2015, 12:15 »
I would be grateful for any advice with regard to growing on an exposed coastal site. My plot is about four miles from Lands End and exposed to reasonably mild but strong SW winds. Soft Fruit especially is difficult and anything over three foot tall impossible.
Sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut and be suspected of knowing nothing than opening it and proving it.

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Goosegirl

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Re: Exposed Coastal site
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 13:15 »
Hi Tom. I live just under a mile from the Lune estuary on the coast of Morecambe Bay and yes - I know what you mean! It's not just the strong winds but the salt-laden air that causes many growing problems. After a gale, my windows are covered in salt. We planted hawthorn hedges as a wind-barrier as they grow around here and can withstand the wind but needed green wind-netting to establish them. They grow quickly (hence the name Quickthorn) and need regular trimming back in the early years so they can initially produce a dense hedge, then a twice-a-year trim; even so it still isn't easy as it also depends on the changing wind directions - our prevailing wind is SW too. The veg I can grow, part from the usual low-growing ones, are a lower-growing variety of sugar-snap peas supported by the square (NOT diamond) green bean netting which is tied onto hedging stakes along the length of the row. I grow sweet corn in my greenhouse underplanted with dwarf French beans, although a single climbing French bean has done exceptionally well in there too. I also grow sweet corn outside but the winds sometimes prevent full pollination. I have also grown a lower-growing sprout which also has a hedging stake firmly inserted next to it on planting, then I keep tying the stem to the stake as it grows. I have a wooden frame for my raspberries where I use wires as a support and tie the canes to it so they don't rock in the wind. My blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes are close to one of my hedges so are slightly protected and do fine. It is important that any wind barrier is not a solid one but one that lets some wind through or it will either blow down or you will get down-spirals of wind on the leeward side that will harm your plants even more. I invested in an expensive greenhouse from Robinsons which has proved invaluable and, plus my shed, help to protect some areas. Depending on your circumstances, I would invest in some green windbreak netting supported by fence posts to surround your growing area, then anything tall-ish needs proper staking and support; also choose a lower-growing variety of veg. 
I don't like bananas unless it's raining. (A quote from my great-niece).

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Tom Hill

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Re: Exposed Coastal site
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2015, 09:44 »
Thank you Goosegirl, it sounds as if you have similar conditions although a lot colder than here .  I remember a walk on Southport sands that would make a brass monkey wince.  The Hawthorn sounds an asset, can you remember the name of the shorter sprout ?

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Kevin67

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Re: Exposed Coastal site
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 10:53 »
Sounds like a firmly fixed polytunnel might help you gain the control you need. Ever thought of it? If you think they cannot stand up to a gale, think again! Mine has and does and I can send you a link showing you a polytunnel on the top of a coastal cliff surviving a proper battering!
250m2 grow area + 20' x 10' pt - avid fruit grower
Cheap as chips, diy preferred
Will swap root cuttings etc

"There comes a point where Mother nature just says no, without a lot of electricity." Quote Beesrus

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Goosegirl

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Re: Exposed Coastal site
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2015, 11:03 »
Sorry but I can't remember the name of the shorter sprout, but seed catalogues give heights so have a look and see what there is there. You can buy bare-rooted hawthorn "whips" in bundles of whatever number (say 10?). If you have a local farmer nearby who has a hedge ask him where he got them from, get a Farmers' Guardian paper or similar, or gardening mags often have ads for trees and hedging plants in bundles. Other hedging plants that may do well down there are the green Griselina and Fuschia magellanica, and would contrast nicely with the hawthorn's white flowers in spring and red berries in autumn (unless the flowering branches have been cut off). I shred the hawthorn trimmings and use them as a mulch after composting them for a year in a big builder's sack and can recommend my shredder if you want the details. Today, all the brass monkeys are safely indoors!  :blush:



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