Garden microclimates have the potential to dramatically boost harvests – if you know how to use them. Warm walls, suntrap corners, shady areas, raised beds and crop covers can all lead to improved conditions—and higher yields—for different types of fruits and vegetables. In this short video we demonstrate how using your garden’s microclimates to their best advantage can result in bigger, better harvests; year in, year out.
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Harvest the Power of Microclimates
A garden can include several different microclimates. Read on for tips on using microclimates to boost your garden’s productivity.
Use hard surfaces such as walls, fences or even large rocks to absorb heat during the day, then radiate it out at night. This is great for helping heat-loving crops such as chilies and tomatoes to ripen more quickly and evenly.
Radiated heat means that lean-to greenhouses and cold frames built against a sun-facing wall enjoy significantly higher temperatures at night. Use them to start off early seedlings two to three weeks earlier than outdoor sowings.
A suntrap can help extend the growing season, with conditions sometimes a week or two ahead of less sheltered areas in spring.
A sun-drenched patio is a great place to grow vegetables in pots. Or why not fix hanging baskets, troughs and other containers onto sunny vertical surfaces. Don’t forget, the warmer conditions mean they’ll need watering more often in summer!
Roofs and Balconies
Above-ground gardens on rooftops and balconies benefit from their position high up away from frost pockets. With a few carefully placed screens, a sunny balcony can be transformed into a sheltered spot ideal for growing vegetables in containers.
In hot climates, shady areas of the garden enable cool-season crops such as peas and lettuces to grow even in midsummer. Midday and afternoon shade is especially helpful.
Shade netting can also be used to create temporary shading for young seedlings and plants.
Raised beds drain better and warm up earlier in spring. Align beds to face the midday sun to enhance this effect, and extend the growing season even further by covering raised beds with a row cover.
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