This is the most common comment we have heard when we tell people we have moved to the west coast. And I have to admit that at times it can be very blowy. Like that time our house was up on jacks having its foundations put in and we ended up facing 212 km/h winds. But that was a one off – a one in forty year storm apparently. The house stood up to it just fine and so when the wind picks up, we can have confidence in the safety of our home.
So, with everyone declaring our new home as a high wind zone, it is important for us not to take ownership of it. We don’t have exclusive rights to the wind. When it is windy here it is also windy elsewhere. The start of this new month has been a bit of a shocker wind wise and there has been minor damage in my patch, but the goat rampage caused more harm and all going well things will recover. In the last four days the boffins suggest the wind has gusted between 44 and 85km/h an hour in our area. Although they are including quite a large part of the region in this area. We are not alone in the windy conditions.
But looking further afield to the bottom of the country their wind gust averages were the same as ours and in the middle of the country some places got up to 96km/h. Pictures across the great big internet showed disturbing images of broken plants – snapped off at the base, trees down across roads and greenhouses in varying states of destruction. But here in our little bubble of paradise with the wind whipping past the house with an angry howling noise, it is easy to claim what has been said about this place with it being a windy spot. But we need to look beyond ourselves – we are getting off lightly and others have it far worse. It may be windy here, but we are not the only ones.
But the wind isn’t the only climatic option available to nature and some days you look out onto the ocean and see it as calm as a mill pond with barely a ripple. You have to question yourself – is this the Tasman sea or are we beside a lake? There are days with hardly a breath of wind and it is magical, and all things seem possible as the sun beats down on a blue sky day.
The other thing that needs to be considered is the area that encompasses this region, also includes our old house and so the data provided is based on averages and already we have learnt things are very different here and there. Another thing I need to ask myself, as it is our first season here, is it a normal season? Are having an extraordinary season or not? It is hard to know. The best way to really know is to keep records and while the boffin’s data is interesting it may not be accurate for here, so I have asked Father Christmas to consider a weather station for me when deciding if I have been naughty or nice. I’m not normally this early with my wish list, but while it is on my mind…
In the meantime, I will need to feel my way around this new season and make wise and calculated decisions to protect my crops. I already have a tried and tested system for my sweetcorn with a contraption of bamboo poles and string woven through the bed as there was always a wind that came through just as the pollen was falling from the tassels to the silks. So, it would seem I will still need to do this to keep the corn upright.
I think I may need to look a temporary cloche for at risk seedlings when the wind gets up. Normally when my kids tell me they are thirsty I direct them to the tap. There is nothing wrong with water. However, I have an ulterior motive and will become mum of the year as 3L juice bottles with the bottoms cut off will do the cloche job nicely. A bamboo stake poked through will hold it in place and a ping pong ball on the top will protect my eyes from being poked out. I shouldn’t need too many and once I have them, I can reuse them time and time again. And the kids will go back to water.
The tall posts in the fence that will have wires between them to keep the deer out, but not create a sense of an enclosed garden can be used to support wind break material that I can temporarily put up in times of imminent wind. The house itself goes a long way towards blocking wind but it does whip around the sides so some clever plantings around the place should help.
I suspect I will need to protect my garden in other ways, from birds, from the baking sun and other threats as yet unknown. But the best part of having a garden is the learning the comes with it. You never know everything and in a new environment this couldn’t be clearer.
Come again soon – the boffins are suggesting it will be a long hot summer.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
Oh and… I’m starting voice recording my blog again so you can listen along instead of reading it. I started this a while ago and then my phone, which makes a great recording, needed to go into the shop for repairs and I stopped before I had even started.
You can check this out here: