The coastal region of southern California has a climate found in only four other areas of the globe. Because the southern California region is virtually free of frost damage, crops can be harvested up to five times a year. In addition, the soil of the region has a high mineral content which makes it ideal for growing crops. Home gardeners will delight in the choices available for planting and harvesting their own fresh vegetables.
Artichoke should be planted in southern California from May through July on the coast and in July in the interior region of southern California. Varieties of artichokes which do well are Emerald, Green Glove and Imperil Star. Artichoke growers should take precautions against gophers eating these vegetables. They do well when they do not receive any water for two to three weeks during the summer.
Lima beans, snap beans and pole beans are all good choices for southern California gardens. Lima beans may be planted in May or June in all areas of southern California. Snap beans may be planted from March through August on the coast and in April through May and July through August in the interior region. Lima bean growers should choose Fordhook or King of the Garden. Bush bean growers can select from Contender, Harvester or Tendecrop. Pole bean growers can plant Kentucky Wonder or Romano.
Cauliflower may be planted from July through October and January and February in the coastal areas of southern California. In the interior regions, cauliflower should be planted in July or August. Gardeners should plant Snow King or Snowball "Y" varieties for best results. Worms may be a problem for some growers. The herbicide Bt is usually a good treatment option for these.
Lettuce may be planted from August through April in coastal areas. In interior regions, lettuce may be planted in August and again from November through March. Iceberg lettuce is difficult to grow in southern California, but Romaine lettuce usually produces well. Loose leaf lettuce such as Salad Bowl, Oak Leaf and Ruby Red will also grow well in this area.
Onions may be planted from February through March in the coastal section. In the interior of southern California, they should be planted from November through March. Grano, California Early Red, Sweet Spanish, Stockton Yellow and Fiesta are good choices for bulb onions. Green onion varieties to choose from include Evergreen White, Southport White and White Lisbon. Pests are rarely a problem with onions in southern California.
Tomatoes may be planted from early April through mid-July in the coastal section. In the interior section of southern California they should be planted in April or May. Big Beef, Super Steak, Early Girl, Marvel Stripe, Ace Hybrid and Better Boy are choice varieties for planting here. Heirloom varieties such as Black Krim and Sweet Persimmon have a delicious flavor when picked from southern California vines. Gardeners should take care to rotate crops when planting tomatoes to avoid disease on their plants.