The picture shows the nano-climate* of the jug. The translucent sides of the jug make it workk like a miniature greenhouse. Notice the same pattern we saw with the pole beans: Seedlings sprouting through cracks in the soil.

We can also see a pattern of light soil and dark soil. Since all the soil is potting soil (from a bag [blush]) that’s not the source of the variation; I’m guessing I poured water too randomly into the jugs when I made them (step 2), and the light soil lacks water.

I made the jugs in February, when the early spring was already evident, and I was afraid that with the squash seeds I would end up duplicating a scenario with the jugs that I had already been through without them: Planting too early in moist soil, then having all the seeds rot when the weather turned chilly, and buying flats at the farmers market.

I didn’t need to do that twice, so, to avoid rot, I kept the water light this year, uniformly. But when I looked into the jugs, the dry soil looked very unhappy, so I decided that the first warm day I would add a little more water to each jug that looked dry.

Which I did today, which is how I discovered that cantaloupe, pole beans, and these tomatoes had sprouted! The squash haven’t sprouted, but squash are always late, and never sprout until you give up, rather like the xerox machine that senses the stress of the operator, and jams.

* * *

I’m using the following terms, which are conceptually something like permaculture zones, arranged concentrically in the mind, if not on the ground:

Micro-climate. Wikipedia define microclimate as follows:

A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square miles. Microclimates exist, for example, near bodies of water which may cool the local atmosphere. A microclimate is a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example a garden bed) or as large as many square miles. Microclimates exist, for example, near bodies of water which may cool the local atmosphere, or in heavily urban areas where brick, concrete, and asphalt absorb the sun’s energy, heat up, and reradiate that heat to the ambient air: the resulting urban heat island is a kind of microclimate.

However, I’m going to use micro-climate to refer to anything larger than a bed, from a garden on upwards.

Nano-climate: The climate of a particular bed or a portion of a bed. For example, the soil of my cantaloupe patch is warmed by sunlight reflected by the house, so it is a suitable nano-climate for a vegetable that loves heat.

Pico-climate: The climate of a particular plant or a portion of a plant. For example, the underside of a leaf may provide a suitable pico-climate for an aphid.

I don’t know if these terms are backed by any authority, but they work for this project. In particular, with the iPad as a tool and the daily post as a lash and a spur to endeavor, I’m training my gardener’s eye to see at the pico- and nano- level. The prefixes, I took from the metric system.

Update: Here’s another definition from an academic source, but I don’t agree with it; micro- applies to areas that can be hundreds of square meters in extent, and nano- to the underside of a leaf. However, as any gardener knows, between one’s patch (our micro-) and a leaf (my pico-) lies the bed (my nano-) so, authority or no, that source has its scaling all wrong and will be literally unable to categorize or enumerate objects of interest to gardeners.

* * *

And now I know that next year I need to write the detail — the set-out date and species — on the inside of the milk jug, as well as the outside, to keep the project self-documenting in all its aspects. Why take two shots when one would do? Also, I should make the direction of the sun self-documenting, for any given jug. But I can’t mark the sun’s direction on the jug when I set it out, since the angle and the position of the sun will change. Hmmm….

Advertisements