Hey Guys, Andre the Farmer is here, and today we're going to talk about microclimates.
Well, I'm going to be doing the talking, well, actually writing, but since I already wrote this, I guess today will mostly be about you reading about microclimates.
Sounds exciting, right?
Well, it is, kind of. First off, let's define a microclimate. A microclimate is a difference in conditions in a particular area. A tree, fence, lake, hill, or house can create unique microclimates in your garden, on their own or in concert. Many people look at their garden in Florida and assume they have the same climate throughout, the same climate as their neighbor, and the same climate as the rest of central Florida. That could not be further from the truth. There are many different microclimates within your garden, and they can pay big dividends if you understand them.
One of the essential aspects of microclimates is temperature.
Central Florida has sweltering summers and can also get freezes in the winter. Our gardens are not at a uniform temperature throughout the day. Every garden will have hot spots and cool spots,
influenced by factors like sunlight, wind, topography, and heat sinks.
Sunlight is the most obvious and easiest to explain. Areas of direct sunlight for more extended periods will tend to be warmer. You can use this to your advantage by finding the spots in your garden that receive the most direct sunlight by observation. But you may also find that the area that gets the most sunlight has no windbreaks and may not be the warmest part of your garden in cold weather.
Let me give you an example of how I am using micro climates to keep a tropical cocoa tree alive here in Central Florida, even though it's not supposed to survive this far north. First, I planted it on the south side of my house, exposing it to the sun for most of the day. Second, I planted it two feet from my house for two reasons. One because the house will act as a windbreak, and two, the house will also serve as a heat sink, and the heat from the concrete creates a microclimate warmer than the rest of my property. That tree stays 3-4 degrees warmer than the coldest parts of my garden.
Another significant component of microclimates is water. How much moisture do you have in different parts of your garden? Whether from a sprinkler, hand watering, rainfall, elevation, or the water table, water will be available to your plants in varying degrees throughout your garden. Low-lying areas tend to be wetter and hold more water than hilltops and mounds. Areas close to a body of water may be constantly moist and ideal for water-loving plants like bananas, sugar cane, or guava. The soil's moisture level will create different factors to consider when determining what plants to plant in your garden.
These are just a few examples of how we can take a step back and use a bunch of micro pictures to create the big picture. Microclimates are all around us. Gardens and permaculture are all about working with them instead of trying to fight against them. So hopefully, you can start your journey into that permaculture life on the right foot.
Interested in meeting Andre the Farmer and learning more about Permaculture Life? Visit permaculturelife.com and sign up for the weekly newsletter for more gardening tips. You can also follow Andre the Farmer on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. And you can also meet him at his "day job", where he's known as Dr. Andre Baptiste, your local orthodontist!
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