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Shelly Paulocik

R.R. 1

Bluevale N0G 1G0

We often don't realize the impact wind has on plant growth. Besides its obvious promotion of erosion, wind can shred leaves, tear roots, or dehydrate plants, especially during the early part of the growing season. Windbreaks can help prevent this type of damage, and can be of great value for the home garden - one spot we tend to overlook when considering windbreaks.

Two plants, sunflowers and corn, offer good windbreak options with little financial investment. Ranging from six to ten feet, several varieties of sunflowers make a fast-growing, productive windbreak. Nancy Bubel, a gardening expert in USA., recommends rows three feet apart, with plants successive thinned to realize a final spacing of three feet in the row. Besides its windbreak value, the sunflower seeds are great for snacks, or bird or animal feed, and goats love the leaves. To intercept the stiffest breezes, several rows (five to six) of both sunflowers and corn should be planted. This arrangement also improves the pollination of the corn. Because of field corn's superior anchorage, Bubel recommends it over sweet corn. Planted at the earliest possible time, these crops can protect the garden from June to November. Left standing through winter, they can reduce erosion and promote greater snow drop - a plus for dry sandy soils.

Copyright 1993 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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