Let me blow this in your ear…
Without an outside force, we become internally weak. I don’t know that for sure but it sounds good and it really applies to plants. A plant that grows up in an environment without wind becomes weak and spindly.
What is wind, what is it made of?
I believe we know what the experience and feeling of wind is, but how do we define it? Ready… wind is made of moving air. Great, and then… Air is made of gaseous elements, Nitrogen (~78%), Oxygen (~21%) and water vapor in the 1-4% range. Every time we breathe we are moving air. So, wind is breathing? Sort of, but no.
When other environmental variables are brought into factor, such as heat, more of the air flow story unfolds.
We know in a hot air balloon example, that when air is heated the elements/molecules move faster and become lighter than the heavy colder air outside of the balloon. That temperature difference allows the balloon to float. If we take away the physical fabric of the balloon, the free range air acts the same way. As pockets of air are heated by the sun, or radiant heat from an object, air wants to move.
Ok, we know air becomes stimulated to move based on temperature differences across the surface of earth. That air not only becomes hot, but light. This “lightness” is actually a pressure change.
The movement of air can come from two different sources: temperature and pressure.
The hot air will rise, and high pressure air wants to go to a low pressure area. Both or either of these factors can influence the way wind moves across the planet.
Text books down please. LOL. Sometimes science can be dry, but it is only once we understand the basics can we apply the advanced.
Why would we want wind in the garden?
We have a few reasons to cool your anticipation and move out those dusty thoughts. You guessed it, we want wind or air movement to evenly distribute the water vapor and CO2 that are in the environment.
It may be hard to believe but there are microclimates everywhere, it’s all in how you define micro. The microclimate could be your 75F degree indoor home temperature compared to the 10F degree outdoors. Or the microclimate could be your basement grow room in comparison to the rest of the house.
Even just one side of the tent or room could have different microclimates.
Using a fan to move the air around your garden is crucial to break up those loitering nogoodniks of moist air pockets.
A fan will help distribute the heat, humidity and CO2 around the room or greenhouse also preventing build up.
Recalling back over past articles, we know that the first hour after the lights go off is a cool damp period. Did I just spell out recipe for disaster? Cool damp is the ingredients for condensation, molds and mildews.
A decent-to-moderate amount of air flow will prevent any of the condensation from landing on the plants even when environmental conditions may be ripe for the droplets.
Take the time to ensure all your leaves are moving day and night to prevent Powdery Mildew and Botrytis (bud rot) from landing or spreading on your plants. During the day, however, we are looking to keep the tops of the plants cool to break up any heat pockets as well as kicking up the CO2 off the floor back to the canopy.
Finally, what would life be like without doing at least one push up?
Yeah, wind is like pushups for plants. Yes, plants will grow up to the light. And if they are bent over, the plant will bend back up towards the light.
This is all true, however, at a certain point the plant will either need support because it cannot support its own weight, or it’s got to do a wind push up. The wind pressing up against the plant is a positive stress that is building the stalk and branches strength up to a point where it can hold the weight it will put on in the future.
Like we build muscle, the wind push up forces the plant to focus on building a strong foundation to hold its massive fruits!