Author Topic: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report  (Read 1689 times)

odin.9

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Long story short, we were hit HARD by Sally. No body saw it coming this hard for our area until it was too late.

I live in a two story apartment on a Bayou outside of Pensacola. We woke up at 4 am and moved all our belongings upstairs... Peak storm surge was around 10am. We also own a lot of land with a shed and (70% complete) garden house (IG @homeonstilts). We plan to build a home on pilings on the lot very soon.

The apartment took on 14 inches of water, the shed 16 inches, and the new garden house had 3 ft of water in it.

The garden house is still under construction, but I've built it as sturdy as I could with mostly 4 x 4 lumber. It framing stood up well structurally, but the doors ripped off in the storm surge (like most people's ground level garage doors in the area) and all the plants on the ground level and 1st level shelf dissappeared with the surge.

Lost:
Half a dozen citrus trees in planters (tangerines, lemon, red navals)
Half a dozen citrus rootstock seedlings
Two young Pecan trees
Two young Persimmon trees
Two young Avacado trees
One young lychee tree
1 small banana tree
~100 air-layered propogated muscadine vines (have about 25 that survived).

12 jackfruit seedlings
6 citrus rootstock seedlings
12 lychee seedlings
6 avacado seedlings

various pots, trays, gardening supplies... in all 80% of the plants in the garden house were pretty much lost.

Survivors: Recovered 2 heavily damaged 7 gal citrus trees (one was half a mile down the street!) and a 10 gal joey avacado.

Many damaged trees that will hopefully recover (several citrus, joey avacado, plum, apples, pears, figs, guavas, blueberries, blackberries, pecan)
In-ground muscadine vines largely OK.

Other items lost: various power tools, electric mower, and trimmer that were low in the shed. and our 5 year old Hyundai Santa Fe got flooded.

All in all, we didn't lose a ton. All of it is replaceable. Many neighbors faired worse. One positive is that we discovered our gardenhouse is structurally (cat 2) hurricane resistant. but anything left on ground level is fairgame as hurricane fodder.

IMAGES:

BEFORE




This was a few days before it hit. We were working on it as normal. Moving dirt around the base.


Inside after we finished the brick floor a few weeks ago.

DURING


Outside of my apartment


You can see 3 ft of water in the greenhouse in the distance

AFTER


Most plants gone. Plants on the second shelf survived (mostly air-layered muscadines). Joey avacodo tree didn't move far and had already been moved back inside.


found my potting table in the woods about 1/3 mile away



in front of my apartment



Plantinyum

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2020, 03:56:23 PM »
Sad situation, those hurricanes are a real life shifters .

Kevin Jones

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2020, 04:09:45 PM »
Where I live we have issues with tornados.
If, like you, I had the space for it, I would seriously consider a walipini style greenhouse.
It could protect you from wind damage... but maybe not flooding sea/storm water if that is a concern.
My wife's grandmother had one in central Mississippi (years ago) and it withstood their winter freezing temps.

Kevin Jones


roblack

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2020, 04:29:18 PM »
Sorry for your losses. What a horrible experience.

Your greenhouse was amazing, and surely will be again. The after pics are mind-blowing.

Best of luck on the rebuild. Hopefully, forum members can help you replenish some of your favs. A nearly empty greenhouse has tons of potential

pineislander

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2020, 06:31:04 PM »
Long story short, we were hit HARD by Sally. No body saw it coming this hard for our area until it was too late.
I recently retired from working in the Gulf of Mexico oil fields as ship's Chief Engineer. The industry has always dealt with hurricanes and has established contingency plans which have different levels of preparation goals depending just on the range the hurricane is within, not based on a predicted path. They learned the lesson "nobody saw it coming" the hard way a few times. So, when a storm is 1000 miles out, 500 miles out, 250 miles out they have different items whch are completed regardless of a prediction. It does lead to extra effort, for example many times I have evacuated for 1-2-3 days only to find that nothing happened, it went another way or never intensified. But, I have also experienced no point at which we were unprepared or got caught offshore in a dangerous situation. It seems wise and probably was set up to inspire confidence to investors and insurance companies, maybe wives too.

odin.9

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2020, 08:54:16 PM »
Yup, I'll be more prepared next time no matter what the news and weather man say. I've only been in FL for a year, so this was my first hurricane. Big wake up call!


Thanks everyone else for the kind words. We're spending most of our time helping neighbors clean up since many got it worse than we did.

850FL

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2020, 08:28:24 AM »
Yup, I'll be more prepared next time no matter what the news and weather man say. I've only been in FL for a year, so this was my first hurricane. Big wake up call!


Thanks everyone else for the kind words. We're spending most of our time helping neighbors clean up since many got it worse than we did.

Hey man, where you stay, Milton? Iím out on Nine mile..  my growin property is on scenic though. Lost a Joey and Fantastic from the hurricane myself haha.
If you were planning on eventually planting lychees, jackfruit, or Seedling hass outside of a greenhouse, good luck because it got to 19F a couple years back and that temp will burn the heck out of those trees haha, I know from experience. Iíll be damned if anyone could fruit a jack or seedling hass even in super coastal Gulf Breeze.
However as for the lychees, I will say some guy in Tampa has developed a lychee thatíll withstand sub-15F and itís a chicken tongue so likely from the sweetheart or hap Ik heritage. I have sapling Mauritius, sweetheart, and literally bought a Brewster tree just last night and I plan on only covering them with bags of leaves and perhaps bed sheets during bad winters <25F. I have quite a few lychee and longan seedlings growing, probably like 1000 or so in total, so actually plan on a hard freeze perhaps wiping out or burning back many of them, and then selecting the survivors. Honestly I have better hopes for the longans though, as for some reason they seem tougher to the frost than the lychees, although there is conflicting evidence about this so..
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 08:33:05 AM by 850FL »

odin.9

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2020, 10:22:11 AM »
garcon pt, but moved to G.Breeze for the time being. Fortunate I could just leave the mess of the apartment and just move out since i was just renting.

I wasn't planning on planting the seedlings in the ground. I was going to let some mature and then keep them in the gardenhouse during winter. To be honest, I was planning on selling the extras locally.

I'd be interested in cold hardy lychee / longan for sure! That's a great experiment you have going. Did you eat all the lychee to get the seeds yourself? You must have access to a productive tree (?).

ScottR

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2020, 10:56:02 AM »
Sad to see your damage those hurricanes are serious threats!

850FL

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2020, 09:34:00 PM »
garcon pt, but moved to G.Breeze for the time being. Fortunate I could just leave the mess of the apartment and just move out since i was just renting.

I wasn't planning on planting the seedlings in the ground. I was going to let some mature and then keep them in the gardenhouse during winter. To be honest, I was planning on selling the extras locally.

I'd be interested in cold hardy lychee / longan for sure! That's a great experiment you have going. Did you eat all the lychee to get the seeds yourself? You must have access to a productive tree (?).
You should buy a little lot like a quarter acre somewhere near Perdido, Milton or Navarre (cheaper land than GB) thatís close to the water, but not too close, and very preferably NOT in a flood zone, where you can just plant a bunch of trees in the ground. All the varieties you mentioned in your first post can be successfully grown here with very minimal to no frost protection except jackfruit and Hass.. and lychees  are super marginal.. meaning unlikely w/o at least some protection when it gets below the low 20s.. Also if you do start a lil food forest keep in mind some things grow much better as understory plants than others..
Not really looking forward to the next mild hard freeze.. might be this coming winter, or might be 5 years down the road.. but at least itís a good opportunity to weed out the best cold tolerant seedling subtropicals. Not just lychee and longan seedlings but other marginal fruits like cherimoya/atemoya/ other annonas like (salicifolia, ubatubensis, sylvatica, emarginata) and then also perhaps carambola, dragonfruit seedlings, jaboticabas and other eugenias, etc..and then start propagating the heck out of the least damaged survivors (at least in terms of cold tolerance.. there are other issues with various plants around here including high humidity fungal issues, heat tolerance, chill hours, flooding and drought tolerance, pest resistance (especially weevils, scale, borers, and whitefly), etc..
Also since youíre into artocarpus you should maybe try growing Lakoocha and Kwai Muk and perhaps even durio oxleyanus.. They should be reliably hardy here. The problem with that  will be acquiring  a good number of seeds to start off with, but pretty much the same concept as with all the lychee seedlings.. I get most exotic fruit/seeds from the Asian markets on cervantes..
Also UF has a campus in Milton with 5 big greenhouses
Oh yeah and I heard if you have land in an Agricultural-rated area the state I believe will install some number of free greenhouses as long as you plant your plants IN the ground.. something about environment restoration..
« Last Edit: October 20, 2020, 03:49:22 PM by 850FL »

odin.9

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2020, 11:00:33 AM »
Very interesting and thanks for the tips!

I do have a .6 acre lot near the water S. of milton... but again too close to the water - it is in the flood zone (all of garcon point is a flood zone...). It should be close enough that I may be in more fully a 9a zone. On the positive side, all the trees i had in 1.5 ft raised planters (you can see two in the second photo) faired just fine. SO i may go more toward that route.

I will be checking out some asian markets soon and will go to the one you mention. Would love to check out the UF greenhouses.
My neighbor to the .6 acre lot has 30 acres of ag. designated land with horses... maybe i could get some 'restoration' greenhouses there!


850FL

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2020, 08:12:44 AM »
Very interesting and thanks for the tips!

I do have a .6 acre lot near the water S. of milton... but again too close to the water - it is in the flood zone (all of garcon point is a flood zone...). It should be close enough that I may be in more fully a 9a zone. On the positive side, all the trees i had in 1.5 ft raised planters (you can see two in the second photo) faired just fine. SO i may go more toward that route.

I will be checking out some asian markets soon and will go to the one you mention. Would love to check out the UF greenhouses.
My neighbor to the .6 acre lot has 30 acres of ag. designated land with horses... maybe i could get some 'restoration' greenhouses there!

Well I will say this.. some trees can take extended flood conditions.. what comes to mind are our native American persimmons and lychees among some others.. also some plants can take higher levels of salt in the soil than others.. synthetic fertilizers contain various nutrients in salt forms.. also it rains so much in this part of Fl, even if the bay (which is brackish, probably half the salinity of ocean water or even less) did flood your coastal land, depending on the time of year, heavy rainfall could probably dilute the residual brackish salts, at least in theory. Even planting on a slight slope or mulch mound would likely help with that a good bit.
I wouldnít say any of our sub-towns (Navarre,GB, Perdido,Pcola, Garcon/Milton) are reaally in a completely solid 9a zone... what I mean by that is yeah, 4 out of 5 years the average low will be somewhere between 22-27F, and evidence from the last century of lows does indicate we are warming up a bit (we havenít hit a low of 15F in over 20 years, although in the 1980s it got into single digits..) but occasionally in that fifth year or whatever it will dip into the upper teens, and even what seems like a small stray from the normal lows will spell disaster for many if not most subtropicals.. unless you have very specific varieties that can handle brief upper-teen temps or even prolonged 20s temps ( a few years ago I believe we had a 20-hour frost in the 20s and low 30s F.. although furthermore I will say that some things like mangos and papayas, even when burnt down to a stump, can sprout back from that stump. Because the immediate crust of the earth and anything under the soil or mounded up with soil will never even freeze at all (the crust maintains above freezing temps, at least for sure in our area)
As for the Asian markets I usually go to the Bien Dong or Asia Market on E. Cervantes, although thereís another called My Tan thatís smaller, and I spotted out one called Tonyís Asian Market on Olive Rd near scenic but I havenít stopped by that one yet..
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 08:17:03 AM by 850FL »

Mark in Texas

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2020, 09:46:16 AM »
Wow, sorry for your losses and bad luck!  After living in the hurricane prone area of Corpus Christi for 45 years and being a shelter manager as needed we finally got the hell out and moved to the hill country, elevation 1,780'.  1970 was probably the worst regarding ultra high winds of hurricane Celia.  We took the eye and the anemometer blew off at the Port Aransas airport at 168 mph.  Towns were leveled, asphalt was stripped from some roads so I feel your pain.   

Trust me, you didn't lose anything of value with Joey.  Stay away from those cold hardy Mexican types that originated here in south Texas. They suck.

Recover well and I hope you can get back to a sense of normalcy soon.

odin.9

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2020, 10:49:00 AM »
Very interesting and thanks for the tips!

I do have a .6 acre lot near the water S. of milton... but again too close to the water - it is in the flood zone (all of garcon point is a flood zone...). It should be close enough that I may be in more fully a 9a zone. On the positive side, all the trees i had in 1.5 ft raised planters (you can see two in the second photo) faired just fine. SO i may go more toward that route.

I will be checking out some asian markets soon and will go to the one you mention. Would love to check out the UF greenhouses.
My neighbor to the .6 acre lot has 30 acres of ag. designated land with horses... maybe i could get some 'restoration' greenhouses there!

Well I will say this.. some trees can take extended flood conditions.. what comes to mind are our native American persimmons and lychees among some others.. also some plants can take higher levels of salt in the soil than others.. synthetic fertilizers contain various nutrients in salt forms.. also it rains so much in this part of Fl, even if the bay (which is brackish, probably half the salinity of ocean water or even less) did flood your coastal land, depending on the time of year, heavy rainfall could probably dilute the residual brackish salts, at least in theory. Even planting on a slight slope or mulch mound would likely help with that a good bit.
I wouldnít say any of our sub-towns (Navarre,GB, Perdido,Pcola, Garcon/Milton) are reaally in a completely solid 9a zone... what I mean by that is yeah, 4 out of 5 years the average low will be somewhere between 22-27F, and evidence from the last century of lows does indicate we are warming up a bit (we havenít hit a low of 15F in over 20 years, although in the 1980s it got into single digits..) but occasionally in that fifth year or whatever it will dip into the upper teens, and even what seems like a small stray from the normal lows will spell disaster for many if not most subtropicals.. unless you have very specific varieties that can handle brief upper-teen temps or even prolonged 20s temps ( a few years ago I believe we had a 20-hour frost in the 20s and low 30s F.. although furthermore I will say that some things like mangos and papayas, even when burnt down to a stump, can sprout back from that stump. Because the immediate crust of the earth and anything under the soil or mounded up with soil will never even freeze at all (the crust maintains above freezing temps, at least for sure in our area)
As for the Asian markets I usually go to the Bien Dong or Asia Market on E. Cervantes, although thereís another called My Tan thatís smaller, and I spotted out one called Tonyís Asian Market on Olive Rd near scenic but I havenít stopped by that one yet..

again, appreciate the insight.

Avoid Tony's though... i stopped there recently and they didn't have any fresh fruits or veggies to speak of.

odin.9

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2020, 10:50:53 AM »

Trust me, you didn't lose anything of value with Joey.  Stay away from those cold hardy Mexican types that originated here in south Texas. They suck.


that's kinda what i've been reading on these forums about Texas avos.

We need to find a variety that is cold hardy and can withstand N. Fl summer heat/humidity.
One of the trees i lost had a brogden graft i was hoping to experiment with. Since i can start fresh, what varities might you recommend for this area?

Mark in Texas

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2020, 02:21:00 PM »

that's kinda what i've been reading on these forums about Texas avos.

We need to find a variety that is cold hardy and can withstand N. Fl summer heat/humidity.
One of the trees i lost had a brogden graft i was hoping to experiment with. Since i can start fresh, what varities might you recommend for this area?

Stewart and Mexicola outdoors.  I have Reed going on 19 months of hang time which we're eating now.  Fruit is creamy rich and one tough tree. It has sailed thru temps at 112F a lot and took 18F thanks to a heater failure.  Froze back to a stub but came back with a vengence and in 7 months looked like this. V V V

The key to frost resistance  is a heavy mulch, deep and thick canopy around the graft, both retaining ground heat,  deep watering and a good 24 hours of low 30's for a day or so to acclimate to the big one.  What kills trees  here in Texas is our wild swings from 85F one afternoon and then wake up to 24F the next morn due an arctic blast straight out of Canada.



Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 02:23:13 PM by Mark in Texas »

850FL

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2020, 05:19:58 PM »

that's kinda what i've been reading on these forums about Texas avos.

We need to find a variety that is cold hardy and can withstand N. Fl summer heat/humidity.
One of the trees i lost had a brogden graft i was hoping to experiment with. Since i can start fresh, what varities might you recommend for this area?

Stewart and Mexicola outdoors.  I have Reed going on 19 months of hang time which we're eating now.  Fruit is creamy rich and one tough tree. It has sailed thru temps at 112F a lot and took 18F thanks to a heater failure.  Froze back to a stub but came back with a vengence and in 7 months looked like this. V V V

The key to frost resistance  is a heavy mulch, deep and thick canopy around the graft, both retaining ground heat,  deep watering and a good 24 hours of low 30's for a day or so to acclimate to the big one.  What kills trees  here in Texas is our wild swings from 85F one afternoon and then wake up to 24F the next morn due an arctic blast straight out of Canada.



Good luck!

Why do you say to stay away from the Texas Mexican Avos? Sure they can be small and have large seeds, but at least they donít require you to wait 20 months on the tree for decent quality fruit like Hass or even worse, those nasty watery West Indian types.
Reed is supposed to take 22-24 F before damage.. under a greenhouse itís not receiving frost just low temps.. but youíre right, last year we had a 40 degree temp swing (80 to 40 F within 7 hours) and that affected the subtropicals WAY worse than even the lowest frost temp we had that winter (27F).
Mexicola is also a Mexican type, does it have larger fruit? I saw a video of a grower in Pcola that said his Mexicola did burn back to a stump around 18F.
I at least wanna say the Tex-Mex avocados are good as parents for potential new varieties. Maybe a Joey crossed with Hass would yield something all around good... meaning good fruit and good seed-fruit ratio that doesnít have to sit a year and a half on the tree, with good vigor, good shipping ability and cold tolerance to the low 20s? Sure itíd take many offspring to find that exact type but Iím sure itís more than possible
« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 06:09:07 PM by 850FL »

Mark in Texas

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Re: A Hurricane "Resistant" Gardenhouse - Hurricane Sally Damage Report
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2020, 09:25:18 AM »
Why do you say to stay away from the Texas Mexican Avos? Sure they can be small and have large seeds, but at least they donít require you to wait 20 months on the tree for decent quality fruit like Hass or even worse, those nasty watery West Indian types.

Cause they suck, taste like grass with a thin skin that is susceptible to anthracnose.

Any veteran avocado grower will tell you the best hangs on the tree at least 12-18 mos. post blossom.  Who cares if it takes more than 10 months to ripen?  Once it starts fruiting it's a moot point.  We've been eating them since June.   

Quote
Reed is supposed to take 22-24 F before damage..

Glad mine can't "reed".   ;D  Actually Reed is not supposed to be cold hardy below 30F.  Like most of this stuff you can throw it out when it comes to reality.

We had an outside ambient temp of 13F that night.  Heater failed and my recorder posted a low of 18F in the greenhouse.   Lost all my mangos and most of my pineapples.  Citrus and avocados made it.  Grafted Ardith over the Gwen and Lamb and Sharwil over the Oro Negro.   I literally had a compost pile of leaves in the greenhouse that morn.

Tex-Mex avocados are only good for one thing - rootstock.  Then again I'm spoiled growing Ardith, GEM, Lamb, Pinkerton, Sharwil, Jan Boyce, etc.

Some of the Reeds are big.  Meat is always perfect creamy and rich.  Great with only S/P and a squeeze of fresh key lime juice. Drizzle of Italian salad dressing really kicks it up a notch.







 

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