Protecting plants from cold winds | Balcony Garden May 2021

May has been a disappointment for all the gardeners around the world this year. Here we had a rainstorm for many days and it was very very windy. We are actually 4-5 weeks behind in the growing season. This wind is very harmful to young saplings.

Young carrot sapling destroyed by strong wind

Hope we get this compensated in the late summer. Even if we get a prolonged summer, the problem now is that it is time for the plants that we were growing right from February to be transplanted to bigger pots.

They are not showing as much growth as last year due to, of course, the cold weather. Also, some of the saplings are still planted in the sowing medium which is usually less in nutrients. My tomatoes all turned yellow, less growth on my chilies, okra can’t look weaker than this therefore I had to plant some of them in bigger space. 

Yellow Tomato Leaves
Yellow leaves on tomato due to lack of nutrients
Slow growth on green chillies

Feeding them with liquid fertiliser can be another method to feed them nutrients.

One more thing I have noticed this year is the problem of fungus gnats indoors. If you do not what fungus gnat are, they are similar to tiny fruit flies you see flying around all around you. The tiny seeds pots holding the seedlings provide them the ideal home to thrive as they breed in wet soil. 

And also, I am kind of fed up with the cold. Because of all these reasons I wanted to move my veggie plants outside even though the weather is not good.

But at the same time, I also don’t want to make the veggies suffer in the cold. Below are few ideas to protect these young saplings in containers from the cold winds and rains. 

The first method is using a plastic bottle. Cut and remove the bottom portion of the bottle. The individual plants that are small in size can be covered using such bottles. They give some protection against the drastic winds. Make sure you insert them well into the soil. 

Cover plants with plastic bottle
cover with plastic bottle to protect plants from wind

Cover plants with plastic bottle
cover with plastic bottle to protect plants from wind

The second method is using such polyethylene covers and a few bamboo sticks. Insert the sticks into the soil in the pot and cover the pot with the plastic cover. The cover can be tied at the bottom portion. We could also use twine or heavy stones to keep the cover in place. 

These are my trash bags which you will probably have lying around in the house. This way we have found another purpose for the bags.

These bags can also be used to protect the saplings which are still small to be transplanted.

Protecting plants from wind
Plastic cover to protect plants in containers from wind
Cover plants with plastic bottle
Protecting young seedlings from wind

We can also use clear plastic bins, if it is available, to protect the plants from the wind. But make sure you ventilate them once in a day. 

We have two raised beds now on our balcony and need to protect the plants on them. Here I used a similar method, insert a few sticks into the soil and cover the two raised beds together with the greenhouse cover which I already had with me. Since there is no time to make a cold frame/cover for the raised beds, I could only come up with this workaround. And this has been working pretty well. It actually acts as a mini-greenhouse, which is exactly what we want. 

When the wind is not too strong I keep them open for a few hours. Honestly, there have been days where I couldn’t open them at all. 

Raised bed Cover
Raised beds covered with a greenhouse fleece
Raised Bed Cover
Cover opened when the weather is good

Some of my veggies that don’t mind the cold like spinach, lettuce are kept close to the inner portion of the balcony. This way the wind does not affect them much. 

I am happy that my plants are finally out on the balcony and also at the same time they are protected. I really hope we have some better days in June so that the plants can catch up otherwise this year would a year of spinach. 😀

A video on protecting plants from strong winds is available.