By Jannie Vaught
Definition , the climate of a very small or restricted area, especially when this differs from the climate of the surrounding area. Conventional wisdom states that what a gardener can grow is limited to the USDA Hardiness Zones their gardening in, but i have found that this is not always right. We see one garden area thriving and another struggling to survive. One garden flourishing and a few miles away in the same growing zone a garden does not produce. There are certain factors in each garden area, such as trees and shade, stone walls and buildings, exposed and protected areas within even a small yard. Microclimate.
This is where being observant can bring a garden growing area back to abundance. Identify your microclimates. Where is heat stored in your garden? Heat is stored after the sun goes down in stone, brick, concrete and water absorbs heat, and releases in the night.A phenomenon know as “thermal mass.'” Which areas are exposed? Cold strong winds can freeze tender shoots, and snap plants and tumble supports and Dry out soil. Wind tunnels between two buildings can be extreme. Which areas receive the most sunlight in my garden? This changes with the seasons as the sun shift its course, is there shade from trees or fences, and a good spot in fall may be a terrible spot in summer. And Where does water pool as it travel across your garden and property? Take a pencil and paper and draw out your garden and property area. now take notes and observe from each growing season what your dealing with. Season etenders such as shade cloth above the garden and row covers can make a area grow again. Realizing the west brick wall is a heat sink tells you not to plant that young tree there. And when the wind blows and the rain flows where are the really fierce storms coming from? This will give you the much needed advantage of what and where to plant.
Do you need more shade trees in a specific area or in that shady spot you can grow shade or mottled light loving plants in this area? Study the plants that need these specific areas and plant for them. When your rain rushes in a certain direction a berm and swale at the bottom of the area will catch and spread water. Begin to understand your gardens microclimate, if it’s too hot how can you cool it down with shade, how to keep it warm when needed with windbreaks, Look at sun and shade. manage your water and the dispersal of saved or caught water by using cover cropping to hold and build soil. Bare soil runs off, covered soil absorbs water. Mulch, and be a leaf and grass clipping saver. More carbon in the soil stores everything nature is building, don’t take it away. Observing and managing your specific microclimate can make your garden a abundant harvest and a joy to work in.
Growing green with Jannie
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