Grow an Edible Windbreak

A wind break will add value to any garden. It will provide the crops with protection, a habitat for wildlife adding to your biodiversity and if you choose the right plants delicious fruits, berries and herbs. The possibilities are endless, you could espaliar some fruit trees similar this picture and create a living fence, or plant a type of quick growing bush for faster results. I recommend planting a few different types of plants to diversify, try to think of plants that will have multiple functions. If you are feeling adventurous you could try guild planting where plants benefit each other forming a symbiotic relationship and ultimately requiring less input and management from you over time. This will be much more involved than a simple windbreak but your hard work will pay off. Here is a link to the basics of guild planting.

Where you site your windbreak is obviously very important. You need to figure out which direction the wind is predominantly blowing from during the growing season and plant it where to offer the most protection. Another factor to consider is shading, make sure not to plant where it will block the sun from your crops and take into account  vertical and horizontal growth for trees and shrubs.

One of the principles of permaculture design is to value edges and planting a windbreak is a great way to do that. Picture walking out to the garden and plucking fresh fruit off your “fence” that is also protecting your crops, bringing in beneficial insects, growing some perennial herbs and maybe some flowers too. What you include in this valuable space is limited to your imagination (and access to plants/seeds).


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