Monday, July 29, 2013

What is a microclimate?

To elaborate on what a microclimate is, not everyone realises that we are talking about something as small as one garden. Micro climatic conditions vary from one garden to the next. Describing a micro climate is a way of describing the weather as it is effected by factors like rows of trees (which may break the wind) large tarred surfaces (which allow wind chill to build up speed) the planting of tall grasses that slow down air movement near the earth's surface and even the colour of the soil and plants, since more reflective colours reflect more heat. How much water there is nearby and whether that water is flowing or not are factors that influence not only local temperature of a particular micro climate, but also moisture levels. How much moisture is present in both air and soil has a profound impact on soil life and which types of plants will thrive in the microclimate in question. So when we realise that a microclimate is in fact something very local, impacted on by the local geomorphology, but also by man made and very changeable factors: It becomes obvious that we can exert a degree of control over our microclimate. A greenhouse for example is perhaps the ultimate example of a controlled microclimate, but you can take control of issues like frost in your garden by spreading hay around vulnerable plants. You can add light to your garden by using a reflective mulch like peanut shell mulch. Flowing water reduces the air temperature around it and windbreaks prevent unstable temperature and freezing soil. So get to work creating the best possible micro climate in which you can grow all of your own food. It's easy once you get started.

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