Mar 29

April in your garden

Posted on March 29, 2023 at 8:31 AM by Jesse Ruiz

Desert Friendly PlantsApril is a great garden month in the Coachella Valley as the color season reaches its peak.

The danger of frost has passed, so now is the ideal time to plant subtropicals that are sensitive to cold such as bougainvillea, hibiscus, lantana, cape honeysuckle, and citrus.

Plant warm-season annuals in sunny beds with prepared soil. Marigolds, periwinkles and zinnias will do well. Prune and thin Senna and Texas rangers lightly after flowering stops. You want to control growth and keep natural forms, yet increase plant spread and create additional wood for the next flowering season.

Citrus tips

Plant in a full-sun location or one with some afternoon shade.

Space grapefruit trees 20 feet apart, most other citrus 15 feet apart.

Build a basin around the tree at least 4 feet in diameter with sides about 6 inches high. Fill basin and soak soil to 2 feet deep at least twice a week in April and May. Soak to 3 feet deep about twice a week June through September. In winter months, water every 10-12 days. In a year, water the established tree as a mature tree.

Apply mulch over the basin area and well away from the trunk.

Use these holidays as a reminder to fertilize your citrus trees: Easter, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

Other tasks:

  • Set out culinary herbs like mint, rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme. Basil is the prime summer herb.
  • Continue to plant and transplant warm-season vegetable crops. Consider onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, gourds, eggplant, peppers and melons. Choose short-days-to maturity fruiting varieties before average temperatures hit 100 F.
  • Create a pollinator garden. Lantana, verbena, lavender, penstemon and salvia are options.

How to Become a Master Gardener

University of California Master Gardeners of Riverside County will offer its nine-month training program from September 2023 to May 2024. Twice-a-month classes will be held in Palm Desert.

Those interested should attend an information session from 6-8 p.m.  May 2 at the UCR Palm Desert campus, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert.

Information: Rosa Olaiz,, or learn more here.

Mar 15

Your garden in March

Posted on March 15, 2023 at 4:06 PM by Jesse Ruiz

CVWD Yard SignMarch welcomes smiles from plant lovers as Coachella Valley gardens bloom. Warm, mild weather promotes rapid and sometimes excessive plant growth.

The annuals you planted in the fall will reach peak bloom in March. Keep the flowery scene as long as possible by thinning crowded plants. You still have time to plant if you missed the fall planting season. You want to get those plants established before summer heat arrives.

Fertilize citrus, lawns, perennials and vegetables.

Of course, with temperatures rising, plants will need more water and you should reset irrigation systems. It’s smart to have a smart controller for your irrigation system. It adjusts to conditions automatically. Visit CVWD rebates to learn how to apply for a free device.

Here are chores for March:

  • Plant two-year-old citrus trees in the ground now so the trees develop a strong root system before the summer’s high temperatures.
  • Plant warm-season vegetable seeds. Green beans, corn, eggplant, and melons are some options. Continue to set out warm-season transplants.
  • Wait to prune frost-damaged trees/shrubs until the first branch leaves emerge so you can tell where the damage begins and not cut live wood.

H20 for HOAs

What: A free water conservation summit & expo and vendor expo with discussions on drought and water supply, water budgets, rebates, drought-friendly landscape design for HOAs, and best irrigation practices.

When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on April 5

Where: Steve Robbins Administration Building, Coachella Valley Water District, 75515 Hovley Lane East, Palm Desert

Questions: Email

To register: Water Conservation Summit & Expo: H2O for HOAs

Feb 16

MidCanal Storage Project funding approved

Posted on February 16, 2023 at 12:11 PM by Jesse Ruiz

CVWD Board Room - YouTube ThumbnailCVWD Board of Directors authorized payment agreements Feb. 14 to move a step closer to awarding construction of the MidCanal Storage Project, Phase 2.

The project will create a storage reservoir of up to 728 acre-feet to improve canal water management and efficiency. It will remove the concrete lining in the 4.9-mile section of the canal between Mile Post 54.6 and Mile Post 59.5 and the berm between the existing and original earthen canal.

The project is estimated to cost $7.5 million. The board approved a loan agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation and funding agreements with San Diego County Water Authority and San Luis Rey River Indian Water Authority.

The board also:

  • Learned the NEXGEN Computerized Maintenance Management System was implemented on Feb. 6. The system has identified and recorded 310,000 CVWD assets. Other factors included preventative maintenance requirements of every asset, their condition, remaining useful life, and how likely they are to fail. This data will help the District decide what capital investments to make.
  • Heard a presentation outlining the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program that reduces levels of salt in water that reaches the lower Colorado River. Measures in place reduce the annual salt load of the river by more than 1.2 million tons. However, the quantified damages to U.S. users are approximately $354 million per year. They are projected to increase by $671 million per year by 2040 if the program is not aggressively continued.
  • Adopted the District’s strategic initiatives for fiscal year 2024. Some of those include:
    1. Analyze acquiring a zero-emission fleet, including cost and infrastructure such as charging stations or hydrogen refueling stations.
    2. Evaluate security at critical infrastructure sites.
    3. Develop a training program for supervisors, including cross training, mentorships and apprenticeships.
  • Approved a water supply assessment and water supply verification for a residential development In Indio. The Desert Retreat Project plans 1,500 single-family homes on 377.7 acres between Madison and Jefferson streets. Nonpotable water would irrigate non-residential outdoor areas.
  • Recognized the 20-year anniversary of Customer Service Representative III Suzahana Davila.