Tips for Planting Your High Desert Garden

The high desert climate brings unique challenges, including harsh winters and sudden temperature fluctuations, that can catch unprepared gardeners off guard. That doesn’t mean you have to wait until late spring or summer to plant your garden, just be prepared! Here are some tips for successful early-season gardening, including cold-tolerant herbs and veggies and frost protection strategies.

Summers in our region tend to be hot and dry, while some plants thrive in these conditions, many struggle to survive without ample water and protection from the intense sun. By planting your garden earlier in the season, you give your plants a head start, allowing them to establish stronger root systems and better withstand the summer heat. Plus, planting early ensures you don’t miss a minute of the growing season so you can harvest the most your plant has to offer!

When planning your early-season garden in the high desert, it’s essential to choose cold-tolerant herbs and veggies that can withstand cooler temperatures and even light frosts. Here are some excellent options to consider:

Cold hardy herbs & veggies

Lettuce: Varieties such as romaine, butterhead, and leaf lettuce can be planted early in the season and will thrive in cooler temperatures.

Spinach: This nutrient-packed green can tolerate frost and is an excellent choice for early spring planting.

Kale: A hardy green that becomes sweeter after a frost, kale is a versatile addition to any garden.

Chives: These flavorful herbs are cold-hardy and can be harvested throughout the growing season.

Parsley: Another cold-tolerant herb, parsley adds fresh flavor to dishes and can be grown year-round in the high desert with proper care.

Frost Protection Tools and Tips

Even with cold-tolerant plants, unexpected frosts can still pose a threat to your garden. Fortunately, there are several tools and techniques you can use to protect your plants from frost damage:

Dewitt Frost Blanket: a medium weight, permeable, UV treated fabric designed to protect flowering annuals, bedding plants, and vegetables from the severe cold and freezing temperatures.

Mulch: Applying a layer of mulch or Soil Building Conditioner around your plants helps insulate the soil and retain heat, reducing the risk of frost damage to the roots.

Plant protective fabric: fabric for protecting flowering annuals, bedding plants, and vegetables from severe cold and freezing. temperatures underneath the fabric are 6 – 8 degrees warmer than outside conditions.

Insulated plant protectors: Helps protect plants from frost damage with a multi-channel design. Ideal for all vine plants and tender edibles in the early part of the season.

Frost jackets: Made from high grade polypropylene, frost jackets provide instant frost and cold weather protection.

Don’t let the harsh conditions of the high desert deter you from gardening. By planting your garden earlier in the season and selecting cold-tolerant herbs and veggies, you can enjoy fresh produce throughout the year. And with the right frost protection tools and techniques, you can ensure that your plants stay warm and healthy even on the coldest nights. So why wait until summer? Start planning your high desert garden today and reap the rewards of early-season planting. Happy gardening!


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