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.

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