Creating Your Own Micro-Climate


| 3/11/2014 3:20:00 PM


Tags: micro-climate, winter gardening, greenhouses, season extension, hoop houses, Aaron Miller, Washington,

Farming is tough business. Whether you are growing in fields or raised garden beds, anything dependent on the weather itself is going to be tough. There are just too many variables. The soil must be the right temperature, there has to be just the right amount of sunlight and limited exposure to strong damaging winds. The odds are against us and we need to use all the tools we can to help us succeed. One simple idea, if used properly, can be one of those tools.Michelle Hoop Tunnel

Micro-Climates

A Micro-Climate is what you would consider to be the small differences throughout an environment. On a miserably hot sunny day you can find it degrees cooler under the shade of a big tree. UV light sensitive bugs and organisms find it beneficial to live under a rock where the soil is cool and moist. Certain snakes may in turn lie out on top of the rock to absorb the warmth throughout the day. Different organisms need different environmental conditions. In the world of plants, they need a combination of sun, heat, wind and rain to survive but too much of any of them spells disaster. Micro-Climates can be used take the edge off the harsh weather outside so that whatever could thrive there, can thrive. By influencing the climate or weather of an area surrounding your crops, you can help their chances of survival.

“What sort of voodoo is this that controls the weather?” you ask. It is much easier than that. If you know me at all by now you know that I look for techniques that make my life easier. Micro-Climates can make it easier, but it’s not just something you do, it’s a way of thinking.

Creating a Micro-Climate, Step 1

I used to struggle to keep any houseplant alive. I used to either water them too much, or not enough, or maybe just the right amount and they would still die on me. Now with my forty something houseplants I know that it’s as much the right spot as it is the right ingredients. Some like the early morning light in the front window while others enjoy our low lit kitchen. Some don’t mind being in a drafty window and a few don’t seem to like it anywhere (reality showing its ugly face). In order to keep your plants alive you must know them. Watch them, and pay attention to signs of stress.

We have quite a few Aloe plants that we grow inside. Most do fine in our front windows under direct light but the small ones struggle in it. We notice they start turning a darker color than the brilliant green of our healthy mama Aloe. But move them to the banister about five feet away and they pop right up. Like a sick child that suddenly starts feeling better, you see the vibrancy in it and you just know that it’s going to be alright.Cayenne

This is the first step to creating a micro-climate. Watching for signs of stress and changing the conditions to best suit the plants. This doesn’t work with just decorative houseplants but should be applied to beneficial plants grown inside as well. Most of our starts for the spring garden begin in the house. I use no heating pad or grow light. I find the best spot for those little seedlings to germinate and get as strong as they can before I send them outside.




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