UNITED STATES—Climates and geology are why cinema and television industries are so established here. Cinema evolved in Niles before relocating, with the evolution of television, to Hollywood. The diversity of local climates, geology and associated scenery was the primary appeal. Farmers of all sorts had already been exploiting such climates as well as microclimates.

Climate is a regionally prevalent pattern of weather. Mediterranean or chaparral climates are prominent locally. Coastal, desert and alpine climates occupy other relatively nearby regions of California. Variations of geology influence weather, which determines climate. This comprises mountains, valleys, various altitudes and proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Microclimates, as their designation suggests, are small climates within big climates. With such a mix of climates here, microclimates might be difficult to distinguish. Some climate zones of steep coastal hillsides are very narrow, for example. Yet, if they are distinct from those for higher and lower elevations, they are climates. Microclimates are even smaller.

Confined climate zones are not the same as microclimates.

For microclimates, exposure is as relevant as endemic climates. Such exposure cannot change climate but modifies its influence. For example, large eaves and warm walls can provide localized shelter from frost. Southern slopes of hilly terrain are likely a bit sunnier and warmer than northern slopes. Buildings and fences shade garden area to their north.

Many microclimates, such as those that involve terrain or forest shade, are natural. They are generally less dynamic than unnatural microclimates. Forest shade changes only as fast as associated trees grow or die. Only major disruption, such as fire or timber harvest, accelerates such slow change. Terrain may not change significantly for millions of years.

Unnatural microclimates are more dynamic and unpredictable. Taller modern homes and fences shade more within adjacent gardens. Skyscrapers can extend their shadows into gardens a few blocks away. Conversely, some can reflect sunlight to adversely increase heat and glare. Expansive and unshaded pavement likewise increases ambient warmth.

Highlight: Carob

John the Baptist survived in the Wilderness of Judah by eating locusts and honey. These locusts could have been large orthopteran insects, such as grasshoppers. However, they were more likely fruits of locust trees, such as carob, Ceratonia siliqua. Both possibilities are both nutritious and kosher. The insects got their name from resemblance to the fruits.

That was almost two millennia ago, and more than 7,000 miles away. Carob is much more popular than grasshoppers here and now. Unfortunately, though, within home gardens, the fruit is more of a mess than an asset. Male trees are not messy like females but produce objectionable floral fragrance. Monoecious trees are both messy and stinky.

Mature trees develop broad canopies that are generally less than 30 feet high. Trunks and main limbs eventually become sculpturally gnarly. Densely evergreen foliage is very shady. Pinnately compound leaves are olive drab, glossy and four to seven inches long. Female orchard cultivars should be fruitless without a pollinator, but are rarely available. Besides, it is impossible to know if a male tree is within pollination range.

Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.