Monday, August 9, 2010

A Wind Blows in Iowa


This is one of my gorgeous castor bean plants before Sunday night.

This is my castor bean plant AFTER Sunday night.  We had a heck of a storm.  I didn't realize the winds were blowing so hard until the next morning.  What I did notice was the extreme lightning show.  It went all night without a break.  When I got up this morning and looked out the window I saw destruction.  All the castor bean plants were flat on the ground. 

Luckily, they weren't snapped off...just horizontal.  I was really worried because they were so beautiful and most of them are 8-9 feet tall.  I had to leave really early (630 AM), to pick up my son, do errands all day, and then church meetings.  So, I didn't have time to try and stake them up, plus everything was soaking wet anyways.  I just hoped it wouldn't be too late by the time I got home, even if there was enough daylight left to do anything.

However, I didn't realize how heavy a castor bean plant a human being.  I could barely hold up the plants.  It was like trying to prop up a body with a dowel rod.  So I start looking around for what I have that is really heavy.  I had to get creative with a brass headboard.

This one got a stepladder.  Hopefully, the root system is strong enough that after a day or two I can take away the propping devices.  I think they can be saved, thank goodness. 

On the other hand, there was no hope for my tippy pot planter.  It was smashed and broken on the patio.

You can see the wind blew the planter over, and it completely BENT the rebar.  And to top it all off, the whole mess landed on my favorite coleus and broke half of it off.

I even had hibiscus branches snapped off at the base, and one of my cosmos that was about ready to bloom.  I was really hacked off, to say the least.  Mother nature can be really frustrating sometimes...

Have you had storm damage in your garden this summer?


  1. Very strong wind indeed!... hope the beautiful castor bean plants spring back into action. The prop is creative!! ~bangchik

  2. That was some storm! Your poor plants. I can't believe it bent the rebar like that. :( We have had some serious storms here, too. Our basement flooded a bit last week, and some of my tomatoes were casualties, but everything else is okay. The flooding, at least, gave my husband a reason to finally clean the basement. ;)

  3. Melissa - I don't think the 'wind' itself actually bent the rebar, but I think it managed to swing the group of pots off its center of gravity and then the weight brought it crashing down. But as heavy as those pots were...that is something in itself that it could move them. And those plants, they were so heavy. Yet the corn is still standing up, and my umbrella didn't even move. It is so weird. I wonder if we got some of those straight line winds.

  4. all of my heirloom tomatoes were leveled. I also had some fresh picked tomatoes blow down the street in the storm. It was a doozy wasn't it. I went out during the beginning of it and I can confirm the straight line winds. I found it difficult to stand during parts of it.

  5. Woah, that's a lot of damage. I've been wanting to plant castor beans for ages but I'm afraid I'd poison someone. Mainly, me but I guess the kids too.

  6. MrBrownThumb - I am very elaborate in my explanations to the kids on this particular plant...I go over and over it, so they know. My son likes the shock and awe of telling his friends, "See this's POISONOUS!", when they come over. And I don't have dogs or cats, so I think it is fairly safe. I make a big deal to the kids about asking me before they eat something that is not a standard vegetable, too. We talk a lot about edible weeds and eating flowers, and nonconventional foods, so they are very curious to ask about which plants they can and can't eat. I just think they are awesome looking! If you want some seeds, i'll send you some.

    FrugalGardener - I can't believe it made tomatoes blow down the street, that's crazy! Do you have tomatoes left growing at all?

  7. Wow! That was some storm. That sucks about your tippy pots! I know how excitied you were when you were doing that project. I have never heard of castor beans before!

  8. Sorry about your garden pots but it seems to me like Iowa is the perfect state for hanging wind chimes and wind spinners!

  9. We have had lots of rain in Barbados for several weeks now,it's killed off some of my herbs.That storm was really wild. Fingers crossed we wont have any Caribbean hurricanes this season.


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