Month By Month Guide for Southern California: A 'Cheat Sheet'
These generalizations are for The Learning Garden, located in Sunset Zone 24, less than 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean in an alluvial plain that is just above sea level. Cold air from the surrounding hills drains into our area and we are reliably cooler than much of the surrounding areas. If you are growing inland from us, your temperatures fluctuate more than ours. As one gardens further from the ocean, the temperatures are less moderate and the effects of heat and cold are more pronounced. While we can grow some cool season crops year round (kale and chard come to mind first), this becomes more difficult without the ocean's pronounced influence. (Photo: Bundles of fresh food are being sorted into individual packages for distribution with the Westside Produce Exchange for redistribution.)
Plant in the ground: lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, celeriac, radishes, spinach
Harvest for lettuce @ 30 day+s; carrots 90 days; beets 75 days; parsnips 90+, potatoes 90 to 120 days, celeriac @ 100 days, radishes 40, spinach 40+
Harvest Production begins to pick up again later in the month – especially with rain, harvest root crops, peas, fava beans (you can use fava leaves for a pesto), chard and kale cabbages, broccoli, etc.
Plant in containers in a sheltered location: lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, (these last two can be started now, but they would have been better started earlier – their production will be reduced by the coming warmer weather), peas, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans
Plant in the ground: lettuce (and other salad greens), carrots, beets parsnips, radishes, spinach, purple beans
Harvest: late in the month, lettuce, radishes, spinach, thin beets and have baby beet leaves in your salad,
Plant in containers: early tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, summer squash
Plant in the ground: purple beans, lettuce, radishes, purple beans, beets, radishes, spinach, set out plants of basil, early tomatoes, later in the month, sow early sweet corn
Harvest more lettuce, beets, carrots, celeriac etc
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, all squash
Plant in the ground: beans of all colors, lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach, set out plants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, you can start planting all corn now
Harvest purple beans, most of the winter crops
Plant in containers: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons & squash, okra
Plant in the ground: all basil, eggplant, all melons and all squash (including cucumbers, set out plants of same and all tomatoes, eggplants and peppers) green and yellow beans and all the dried beans; corn too, if you have room
Harvest first of the zucchini and summer squashes, purple beans winter crops, garlic, leeks and onions
Plant in containers: As in April, but it's getting late – peppers, eggplants and basil are still OK to start, but it's getting late, did I say it was getting late?
Plant in the ground: all the above, but it's getting late... you can still get a crop, but it will be cut shorter by any early cool weather; the last of the corn can go in early in the month
Harvest first of the tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, beans, early sweet corn, the end of winter crops (in a normal year)
Plant in containers: pumpkin seeds, then take a nap
Plant in the ground only out of necessity any of the June plants, but they will have a hard time
Harvest EVERYTHING – this along with weeding and watering is your focus at this time of year.
Plant in containers: continue napping
Plant in the ground: nothing if you can avoid it
Harvest MOREOF EVERYTHING
Plant in containers: towards the end of the month, in a shaded location, the first of the winter veggies can be started, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, fava beans, leeks, shallots, onions...
Plant in the ground: nothing, until mid-month, start sowing turnips, parsnips, radishes, beets and carrots – keep seeds moist! Peas, lentils and garbanzo beans can be sown...
Harvest last of the eggplants, peppers, basil, cucumbers, winter squash and beans. Tomatoes will hand on until October in most years.
Plant in containers: Cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard, favas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
Plant in the ground: set out some of your cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, chard and so on. Continue with seeds as above... you can also direct sow favas if you want. Potatoes can usually be found about now as well as sets or seed bubls of onions, garlic and shallots and they all should be planted from now until late November.
Harvest The first of the turnips and beets will be edible, you'll have carrots soon, might still have some basil and tomatoes,
Plant in containers: More Cruciferae and favas, celery and celeriac
Plant in the ground: More of September's plants can be sown – you still have time for all of them except onions, this will be the last month to plant peas, lentils, garbanzos, shallots, garlic and fava beans. Their growing season is too long to get the harvest you would want. Although the legumes can be planted if you are willing to take a lesser harvest or are using them as a cover (green manure) crop.
Harvest lettuce, early cabbage, some kale and chard leaves, radishes, turnips, carrots, beets,
Plant in containers: I'm still sowing cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower, but Brussels sprouts are a longer season item so they're not a part of my efforts until next season's planting begins.
Plant in the ground: Too little light and too many parties make it difficult to find garden time – but if you have some things left over from November, try to get that done.
Harvest a lot of veggies slow way down you will probably have leftovers from November, but not a lot of production. You'll find the chard and kale really begin to pump out while everything else slows down.
Plant in containers: Pretty much the same story, if you have time, do more of all that's listed from November.
There are two big shifts in Southern Californian gardening: At the end of September, beginning of October it's all about the winter crops. At the end of February, beginning of March, the focus all shifts to summer and the heat lovers. Seeds get started slightly before then (if you have the right conditions, up to six weeks before then!).