Gardening Basics #2: Microclimates

Your garden is likely to have small yet important microclimates. Shadows can cause a cold pocket, and a hard surface facing the sun can reflect too much heat. These areas will not only change daily but also with the seasons. Summer might be too hot for lettuce but great for tomatoes. Anticipate these changes when you decide where to grow your garden.

You may have at least four different microclimates around your home:

  1. A hot side facing south
  2. A shadowed, cool side on the north
  3. A warm western side with afternoon sun
  4. An ever-changing eastern side that may be warm or cool depending
    on trees, high fencing or the time of year


Carefully observe heat and light to know where to create your garden. Position your raised beds, rows or plots to run north and south so plants will receive more sunlight in winter and not shade each other. In winter, keep tall trellised plants against the north wall and the shorter plants to the south. In the summer, do the opposite. These are the basics of microclimates.

Gardening Basics is a nine part series outlining how you can get a healthy and beautiful garden the organic and natural way