When the weather starts to turn, protecting your garden can take a lot of planning in the High Desert. We’ll divide this up into Perennials and Annuals:
Annuals are plants that you expect to die off each winter, so this isn’t about how to preserve them, just what to do for a bright and fresh Spring:
- Do actively turn the plants over and cover them with clean dirt. This allows the maximum nutrients stored in the leaves and stems to be re-absorbed into the bed for next year. Old plants can also harbor disease or become a breeding ground for certain undesirable bugs.
- Do water the area before the rain comes and ice forms so it has time to soak in below the 4-6″ of ground that can freeze as early as mid-September.
- Do incorporate soil amendments like compost, manure or nitrogen-rich Miracle-Gro.
- Do remove any weeds from the planting beds so they don’t have the same benefits as your preferred plants.
- Plant cover crops like ivy or manzanita.
- If you have raised beds, you might want to cover them with garden sheeting.
- Trim back dead branches and leaves
- Clean up the beds from fallen leaves, branches
- Pull weeds. You don’t want to see them in the Spring!
- You might want to wrap any fruit-bearing plants in sheeting so they don’t freeze.
- If you have a recycling center, gather up pine needles in bags and take them over there for green recycling.
Good luck closing down your garden for the cold season.