Two proverbs/quotes that are applicable:
- Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.
- Mark Twain – Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.
It has been said that gardeners have grass is greener syndrome. Everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the world or even the next zone. But the real truth is that we all face challenges and no one zone can grow every plant.
But what if I told you there was a way to maybe exploit a loophole so to speak, to cheat the climate in your area.
Its called microclimates.
Definitions: Local atmospheric zone that differs from the surrounding climate. You are essentially changing the conditions to match the plant rather than finding plants that match the conditions. This is important when you want to grow something that’s just outside your zone or maybe will survive but won’t fruit. You can actually make it fruit.
It doesn’t always mean upzoning. You could downzone as well. A lot of people in the south have trouble with apple production because apples grow well in cooler more northern climes. So you could go cooler or warmer. It just depends on what the plant wants. Its also about moisture as well
You have to know a little about thermodynamics among other things.
If you want warmth there are some things you can do.
1. Dig a pond. The humidity that it causes acts a bit like a greenhouse effect and the water vapor holds in the heat from the sunlight.
2. Add things that are black (or at least dark) – stones, compost, volcanic rock, black plastic. Use rocks and other objects to store some heat.
3. Maximize solar exposure - Angle planting surfaces toward the south, more sun exposure.
4. Block winds – Use windbreaks such as hedges to block the cooling winds.
5. Plant things in higher areas. Cool air sinks, warm air rises.
6. Use reflective surfaces, greenhouses, house panelling, stone walls, ponds.
7. Keep soil loose – pockets trap warm air.
If you want cool there are some things you can do.
1. Block some solar exposure – plant on North slopes, use other plants and structures to shade.
2. Allow in cooling winds.
3. Create depressions and plant in them. Cool air sinks.
4. Use light colored mulches
If you want more moisture – Use ponds and other water retaining features and plant close to forest edges.
Be thoughtful when creating microclimates. Not everything works for everyone. Don’t spend four hours building something that raises your growing temp by .00001.
Some plants will need to be mobile to a degree. Movement can maximize time spent in favorable climates.