I live on a 360 acre lake and there is another lake just to my west. There are many nice things about living on a lake including the effect the lake has on the surrounding microclimate. During the heat of the summer, there is a cooling effect and on cold, calm and clear winter nights, with the lake completely covered with ice there is also a cooling effect. However, the autumn nights by the lake are measurable warmer than the land just a quarter mile away. So warm in fact that frosts are uncommon before October 20, while away from the lake frost seems to hit on average around the first of October. This allows a long season for tomato and other tender crop harvest AND it is nearly perfect for late grapes to reach their maximum sugar content. The lake also provides warmer spring nights, but this effect isn’t as pronounced as the fall warming simply because the water is warmer in October than in April. Despite this, the few apple trees we have at the lake made it through last years disastrous apple season.
Right now we are raising vegetable plants which we are going to transplant to our farm located to the east of Briar Hill Golf Course across Gordon Avenue. We have around 67 acres and our roadside farm market is located in the southwest part of the farm. Since we are raising the plants at our home on the lake, we don’t have to worry as much about our plants freezing — at least not after all the ice is gone from the lake. Right now there is still ice on the lake and the warming effect is near zero. Very soon, however, the ice will be gone and we then we won’t have to watch the thermometer as much! Of course we still will keep them in our two small unheated greenhouses at least until the end of April, but we won’t have to bring the plants in to our basement nearly every night like we are doing right now.