Sounds like it might work. You mean place some fabric over the mulch and then staple it down? I know I might sound crazy and ridiculous when I state the wind is gusting to 46 but I'm not pulling anyone's leg. I know wood chips and bark wouldn't blow away, but I'm not sure which wood is safe for veg? By the way thanks for all your help guys.
Straw is also a good idea, but I am not sure were to pick some up at.
Hey Cynthia El Cerrito is a quite windy spot in Cali isnt it? What do you do to protect parts of your garden? I forget if it was applestar that told me about a snow fence, which I have been considering getting...
We lived in Denver and Cheyenne when I was a kid, so I'm familiar with the unbroken series of incredible winds that roll down from Canada (cold winds) as well as the chinook winds (warm winds, for those not familiar with them). They're all way too strong. And I'm pretty sure the wood bark *would* blow away.
The storm winds I deal with for three or so months of the year are mostly during the winter, when the plants I'm growing are low to the ground: kale, broccoli, rapini, etc. One pair of veggie boxes is sort of protected from the prevailing wind direction by blackberry vines, a mixed blessing.... One veggie box is protected by the huge rosemary and some rose bushes.
The weird layout of our patch of dirt vs.
the south neighbor's house gives us an ongoing wind-tunnel effect the other nine months as well. Across the street to the east, our neighbors will be enjoying a nice 70-something-degree afternoon, while my veggies and I are battling 55 degrees and 25 mph.
(The redwood tree blocks the sun as well....)
There are many warm-weather veggies I simply can't grow *in this particular yard,* although they do well almost anywhere else around here. *sigh*
Back to the staples:
I was extending applestar's idea of the long-cut grasses. I was thinking that, if you had 24-30" grasses lying beneath the plants, ground staples might keep them in place. I hadn't thought about a cloth over them, and I would never
recommend the plastic sheeting, because it's nothing but trouble in the long run. (I can say this from personal experience, after having dug out plastic fragments and lava rocks
from the area where I created Bed #1.)
I think a snow fence is worth trying--I remember seeing them year-round in Cheyenne, where we lived on the westernmost street of Warren AFB and looked out at the unbroken range. Of course, when the growing season is approx. Memorial Day to Labor Day, it's not worth taking the snow fences down. Since the wind in ND is so severe, maybe you can put the snow-fence posts/supports up at twice the recommended frequency for strength.
If you have the energy to make a brick "fence" (with holes in it for light and warmth?), that might work, too, but sounds like it would require a LOT more $, time, and expertise. You may have these!
but when I problem-solve--and not just in gardening--I like to start with low-tech, low-budget, low-energy ideas first and then ramp up as needed.
Sometimes you do need an elephant gun (so to speak), but sometimes a fly-swatter will do the job just fine. Or even a rolled-up newspaper. My mental image here is not stopping/blocking the wind, but diverting the wind elsewhere: over the plants, around the plants...so that human effort (yours) won't be exerted in vain.
Keep us posted; best wishes at the hardware/farm supply.