Plant Your Margins to Increase Harvests

| 7/28/2015 12:25:00 PM

Tags: microclimates, permaculture, drought tolerance, shade gardening, California, Joshua Burman Thayer,


Making your home garden productive is an in-depth and gradual process. Though you can work with a design professional to hash out a use plan and plant list early on, it still takes several phases and periods of acclimation for a garden to begin to really thrive.

Assessing Your Various Microclimates

Assessing where the best sun is and where different microclimates lie can begin to help define use areas.  As each exposure and conditions create a different microclimate, you may have three to four distinct areas at your home, each with their own strengths and setbacks — even in a small urban lot. Best to work with the forces of nature to create plant groupings that reflect the microclimate of each area.

For example, if you try to grow your micro-greens in a hot,south-facing front yard, they may quickly become stressed from the sun’s intensity. Likewise, should you attempt to grow your heirloom tomatoes under that giant Italian stone pine in the backyard, you may become frustrated as it appears to stay stunted despite the loads of fertile organic compost you added.

As for a commercial example, if you were to try to grow two acres of carrots on a parcel of land, but only 3/4 of that land is in full sun, you may have trouble with carrot yields in the shadier area.  Would it not make more sense to work with the lay-of-the-land and plant something more shade-loving in that shadier area?

By working with nature and taking the time to assess the nuances of microclimates on our land, we can most affectively develop a polycultural system of diverse, healthy foods.

7/30/2015 9:54:59 AM

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