I live within 1000' feet of the coast in the windy pnw. A lot of vegetation around here is negatively affected by the salty air and it shows in our greenhouse as well. For example, tomatoes on the western side, near the window fare much worse than the crops further in. They appear stunted and burned brown
Do you have any ideas about crops that fare better in salty conditions? How about mitigation suggestions?
I have a similar situation on Skye. I am about 1 1/2 miles from the sea, but sometimes you can taste the salt in the rain. Almost constant wind stunts my trees and scorches leaves.
There is some hope however.
Many mediterranean plants don't mind the salt: rosemary, lavender, thyme for example. Asparagus, and globe artichoke don't mind the salt. Asparagus is supposed to love it, but it is also supposed to dislike wind so my main crop is in the polytunnel (first harvest for dinner last night😋)
There are other seaside perennials like seakale and sea beet that may be worth a try. I've not had much joy with the former: it tend to disappear over winter, I think it probably needs a really well drained spot. The latter does much better: again somewhat short lived. Parsnip seems to grow OK and perennial kale. I have Daubentons (I think rather than Taunton Deane which disappeared). I have actually been planting this as a pioneer shrub it does so well!
Here most soft fruit does well for me: currents, gooseberries and raspberries, although they prefer a bit of shelter, black currents in particular are robust.
My best suggestion is to grow some sheltering bushes, that will cut down the killing wind a bit: sea buckthorn is the obvious one here, many Elaeagnus, which are similar nitrogen fixing sometimes spiny fruiting shrubs may do better for you.
A good read on gardening in extreme exposure is Rosa Steppanova: 'The Impossible garden', if you can buy/borrow a copy. Although mainly ornamental, the techniques should still be applicable.
Thanks for the valuable insights! I've been looking into it since you posted your advice and I think all of your ideas will work here. You've given me some great ideas to experiment with and to share with others. I think my site here is going to have a lot in common with your part of the world so I suspect I'll be looking in your direction a lot more frequently from here on out.
Just curious, what's your soil like there? I haven't done any testing here but ours is pretty devoid of organic matter and I think it's going to take some work getting it up to snuff.
Huck, I'm glad it was of help.
The soil here is silty loam, generally poor and acidic. It tends to compact and be poorly drained, but blow away like dust when dry. It's also very shallow - only a few inches, up to 2ft generally before bedrock. I suspect it used to be richer in organic matter: up on the hills is peat bog, but our land was ploughed for seed potatoes for decades last century, and then grazed by sheep/goats so isn't so good now.
Most of my outside planting is perennials and shrubs/trees. To be honest I haven't done much for the soil, just letting things grow rather than being digested by sheep, and the organic layer is increasing slowly. In the areas I do annual planting, I put a few scoops of compost in (probably not enough) when plantng out and the polytunnel at least is quite good now. I don't do much direct seeding; the weeds tend to outcompete any cultivated crops. I'm also getting quite good at eating weeds!
Any tips you have during your observations please share. I have found wooden pallets make quite good quick fences to give sheltered areas too. Windbreak fabric tends to degrade in a surprisingly quick time and is no quicker to put up in my opinion.
We live directly on salt water in Maine. Only one growing season so far. Good success with all types of berries. Little to no success with nuts. Best we have ever had with parsnips, sunchokes and carrots. Potatoes not so good but it might be because we were late getting them in the ground. The soil is sandy loam and unusual for this part of Maine. What hasn't done well, at least so far, is sea kale and comfrey. Nettles good, hardy kiwis OK table grapes not so good. The ramps we planted last April came up so we consider that a bit of a success. Sweet corn and winter squash weren't very good. We will see how this season goes. Its still dry and the wind makes it worse.
Fire me boy! Cool, soothing, shameless self promotion: