When you know works against you in your desert garden, you can build on what works with you and your plants to get the most out of this year’s crop. Before you plant that first seed, you first need to know that the key to a happy harvest here, is to know your Nevada climate.
Perhaps more frustrating than the fickle foothill frost with Nevada gardening is the wind. It can be downright relentless at times. Here’s why the wind makes your plants sad:
- Wind quickly sucks the water right out of your plants, leaving them to suffer from dehydration.
- It tears at the leaves and the roots, which prevents them from thriving.
- Wind, if cold enough, can chill the plants.
To protect your plants, shield your garden with wire fencing wrapped with cloth, a hoop house, or by planting on a slope. Also, planting your garden behind a shelterbelt of trees from the prevailing winds can protect your plants from the wind, and even harsher sun. Analyze your plot’s location. Then create a plan that works with your landscape.
In the high desert, you can never have enough water. Whether your garden’s a few rows of a variety to feed your family, or a vast crop over a few acres, you need to consider a steady and abundant water source to balance against the drying winds, and harsh sun.
For larger plots, know your rights. If you need to consider a larger irrigation system, Nevada requires irrigation or commercial water rights to be established on the property. Educate yourself before you sow your seeds.
Nevada soil can run the spectrum of types with sand, gravel, and clay. At times planting can be like jackhammering concrete where caliche is found. Supplement with compost. Plant in raised beds, or try some container planting. All of these gardening options help plants thrive in a predominantly alkaline, and changeable environment.