Southern California's temperate climate makes it the perfect spot for growing vegetables, whether you plant near the coast or inland. Coastal temperatures tend to be cooler than inland locations, with the exception of the inland valleys. Coastal influences may reach up to 10 miles east of the coast. July is prime time to plant for a fall harvest.
Southern California is located in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness zones 8 to 10. The interior valleys are located in zone 8; the coast is considered zone 9a; the flat, inland areas encompass zone 9b. Spotty areas along the coast and in the far eastern part of the region exist that are in zone 10.
Broccoli thrives in cool weather and may be planted in coastal southern California in January, February or July in any part of the region. It may also be planted along the coast in June or in December inland. If the weather is too warm, broccoli plants will flower but not bear a crop. Broccoli, which is a cole crop, has a long harvest season and is easy to grow.
Broccoli takes between 50 to 100 days from sowing seed to harvest, should be planted in full sun and needs regular water.
Also a cole crop, cauliflower does well throughout southern California in July and may be planted through October. Cauliflower may also be planted in January and February on the coast and in August inland. Most important, cauliflower should be planted to harvest well before or after the height of summer.
Cauliflower plants have large, green leaves at the base, which should be tied around the heads as they form. This helps to keep the heads clean and white. Cauliflower should be ready to harvest 50 to 100 days after transplanting seedlings, or a few weeks longer if sowed from seed. These plants do well in full sun and require regular water.
Related to the turnip, rutabaga thrives in both coastal and inland California if planted anytime between July and March. This root vegetable also produces yellow leaves that may be eaten, but are only tasty when young. The vegetable itself resembles a carrot, but is white and may reach five pounds.
Rutabaga should be planted in rich, loose, well-draining soil for the skin to be smooth. These plants are ready to harvest 90 to 120 days after sowing, should be planted in full sun and require regular water.