You would think that rain is good for medjool date orchards and any other farm for that matter, but that is not always the case. The harvest took place several weeks ago, so for the most part the medjooldates are okay. If it had rain earlier the crop would have been ruined. The same is true of many other fruits and vegetables. A lot of rain at the wrong time of the year is not good for farmers. A little rain can destroy a crop. It can destroy the blossoms, it can foster the growth of fungus and other plant disease and it can flood fields drowning the new plants. Rain can also destroy new seedlings. We do need rain to refresh the underground water reserves as well as the lakes and mountain caps which we will use to irrigate the medjool date orchards and other farms. The timing is excellent for dates and most but not all fruits and vegetables.
The desert is an unforgiving area. If you don’t have enough water and get lost, you may not survive. The same is true of plant life. Dates do very well in the desert, but only because of water. Without water the dates don’t do well and would die relatively fast. Vegetables do extremely well as well in the desert. In fact the Coachella Valley is some of the best farm land in California. It is exceptional land for growing just about anything. Some furis such as apples require chill hours and will not do well in the desert, in fact apple trees would not produce any apples in the desert. The Coachella Valley is very well know for its dates, about 90% of all the dates in the US are grown in Southern California in the Coachella Valley. Deglet noor and medjool dates are the most popular dates, but a few other dates are also grown. The date industry is not really the primary crop of the Coachella Valley, other fruits and vegetables are grown. Grapes, lemons, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, artichokes, asparagus, brocolli, cabbage, radishes, and many many other fruits and vegetables are grown in the desert. This is because the farm land and the weather is excellent for growing food. The temperature is extreme and not all the popular in the summer, but it is what makes the desert such a great place for growing food. Medjool dates are awesome, very sweet fruit, but there are other sweet fruits grown in the Coachella Valley. Of course in more recent years the bulk of the land is used to grown grass. Quality farm land covered with grass, precious water used to grow grass. It makes a few people happy, but it is exhausting an awful lot of water and quality farm land.
Historically date palms are spaced at significant distances. About 20 feet or more. In between there is a lot of empty space. This empty space is used often used to plant vegetables or other fruit trees. Sometimes apricots, figs, lemons, limes, and grapefruit trees are planted inbetween the date palms. It is pretty much the practice regardless of whether the date palm is a medjool date plam or a deglet noor date palm. This was and is a means of making better use of the land and water. Flooding is often used as a means of irrigating date palm orchards, but the practice is changing. Some date palm orchards are irrigated with very efficient drip systems.