The primary climatic factors affecting plant growth are the average temperatures, rainfall, and sunshine that reaches the site, with the addition of frost and snow in Winter. The various climatic maps on the next page, will enable you to assess what the affect of the climatic factors will be on your own location. For the best detailed Daily Weather Forecast, for your location, watch BBC 1 detailed weather forecasts for your area.
You can modify the climate for your particular site by providing wind protection, and so reducing the wind chill factor. Wind protection could be provided by hedges (need a lot of cutting), wind reduction netting, walls, and fencing. Walls and solid fencing can produce damaging gusts of wind. Therefore, fencing with gaps between the slats, will slow the wind in a more stable way. Choose a South facing aspect if possible, rather than a North facing aspect. This can enable plants to start into growth some three to four weeks earlier. An open sunny aspect rather than a shaded one, is also desirable, to improve your own micro climate.
Further modification of your micro climate can be achieved by using cloches, fleece, a cold frame or a Greenhouse, which all help to protect tender plants from frost, snow, winds and heavy rain. They also raise the temperature in the protected area, and so promote growth. So the higher up and the more exposed your site is, the more protection you will need to give to your plants for success. Remember it could be warm during the day but freezing at night. Therefore before you plant out seedlings and young tender plants, make sure that you are able to provide protection to prevent them getting chilled at night. As we would say in Scotland “ne’er cast a cloot till May is oot”, referring to humans, but it is still apt for plants!! There is a hotel in the far North West of Scotland that grows much of the vegetables for its guests, in a poly tunnel! If they can do it in that cold, wet and very windy climate, anyone can. The secret is to provide enough shelter.
Buchan’s cold and warm periods, are of historical interest, and were based on weather data collected in Scotland, but which proved to be relevant for other areas of the UK. The data is not absolute, rather an indication of when there may be warmer and colder periods, relative to the average trend. (Taken from Buchan’s Days by E. L. Hawke). It is surprising how often cold and warm periods still happen as indicated by Buchan.
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