Understanding the Tisey Climate
I continue to be surprised by the number of people that don't seem to understand the climate here where "here" means in the Tisey reserve. Some of them have been to Esteli and there abouts but I think "it's near the equator, it's hot" seems to override reality. So, here is your CoolTop climate lesson for the day.
It's interesting to me that the name CoolTop was actually from Jinotega Tony. The name is older than the idea to build here. It reflected his desire to be someplace cool. Were he still with us, I think he would like our choice. But, what does cool mean in Nicaraguan terms and what will grow here?
Let me start with some weather information. This is not for a full year but it includes the hottest month (April) and while it missed the coldest, what you see is no more than a few degrees above the coldest.
- Temperature: 27C maximum, 14.8C minimum
- Humidity: 89% maximum, 33% minimum
- Wind speed: Maximum 17 m/s (while I don't have average, I would expect it to be around 8-10 m/s)
- Rain: 90.7mm in one hour, 124.8mm in 24 hours
Clearly, not exactly extreme except for possibly the rainfall. Yes, we had close to four inches of rain in one hour but you can see that amounted to about 70% of the total for 24 hours. Rain, more often than not, is only part of the day, the rest being sunny. Very different from Seattle's "it's been overcast for six months" problem.
The temperatures reflect the elevation. We are at 1400 meters and in the tropics the primary influence in temperature is altitude.
So, what can you grow here? Clearly, pine and oak trees as that is what covers the majority of the property. We do have coffee growing and avocado, guava, banana, platano, orange, mango and sweet lemon trees are the primary shade providers there. But, there are sections where crops have been/could be grown. The typical crops in the area include cabbage, potatoes, beans, corn and broccoli. Other things that should do well are malanga (taro), assorted kinds of squash, carrots and, well, lots more.
A good reference might be things that will grow in coastal California plus the more tropical crops like banana, coffee and mango. But you then get this added benefit—year round growing seasons. They are not the same but, for example, in some areas three bean crops are grown each year.
The seasons here are "dry" and "wet". Dry is late November through April. Wet is the rest of the year. There is little temperature difference between the seasons, just regular rain or virtually no rain. As long as you have a water source (or, with a crop such as corn, know the right time to plant so it will grow in the dry season) you really can grow stuff all the time.
The other issue is what is the soil like. Well, it varies is the best answer. We have some parts that are all clay, others very sandy. While I haven't tested it, I would expect most is a bit acid because of the pine trees but nothing that can't be adjusted.