We are excited about our new growing climate here at the new farm! Three ecological phenomenon will help our plants grow earlier, faster, and survive longer. At least we hope!
First, proximity to the ocean moderates the weather providing for warmer winters and cooler summers than further inland. We are located on the northern most land area that gets hit by the warm waters of the gulf jet stream. Tiverton is USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7a, where the average annual extreme minimum temperature is 0 to 5F, which is one zone warmer than in Berkley MA (Zone 6b). Yes, we traveled only 30 minutes away and we ended up in a whole climate zone warmer! In the Fall, our average first day of frost is November 15th. We hope to experiment with growing some borderline sub-tropical/ mediterranean plants like persimmon and fig trees.
While it will take a year or two to fully understand the land, with its unique patterns of wind, slope, water flow, etc… we have already identified one amazing feature about the geography of our property. The whole property and all its fields have an eastward aspect/slope with full southern exposure as well. Angled directly towards the rising sun, these fields get more of a full beam, warming up faster in the morning when temperatures are low. This, I believe, is preferable compared to late afternoon sun as photosynthesis often slows or stops working as plants get too hot in the afternoon.
Add to this is the Nonquit Pond acting as a gigantic mirror, beaming extra light onto the fields. A similar concept is how some farmers put reflective material on the southern end of their greenhouse or how indoor marijuana growers cover their floors and walls with a reflective film. This is our view from the top of our fields at about 830am during this time of the year in April.
And another aspect of the micro-climate. Of course we were overjoyed with the expansive view of the descending fields and the waterfront view. This view, we have learned, comes with the wind! With virtually no windbreaks, I’ve been laying awake a night, wondering how well my greenhouse is going to hold up!
We will make sure to update this page next year as we discover more about our land and micro-climate.