Because San Diego has such a temperate climate, there are quite a few vegetables that grow in the winter. However, because there is still a chance of frost in that area, hardy vegetables are the best choices when planting during cool weather. These hardy vegetables can be split into several sub-groups, depending on their structure, edible features and growing time. All of these hardy winter vegetables have shallow to medium root depths, making them easy to harvest even if the ground is slightly frozen.
Stem vegetables that grow in the winter in San Diego include white potatoes and kohlrabi. These vegetables are generally planted from seeds in the early autumn and the harvest period begins in early November. Nearly all stem vegetables should be stored at 32 degrees F after they are harvested. The exception to this rule is white potatoes, which require a slightly warmer 40-50 degrees F.
Leafy vegetables, such as spinach, cabbage, kale, celery, chard and lettuce, are very versatile winter vegetables that can be grown either in a garden plot or in containers outside. These San Diego winter vegetables are generally grown from seeds, though some (such as celery and cabbage) should be available as transplants at a garden center. Using transplants instead of seeds can shave about six weeks off of the growing season and allow you to plant later. Leafy winter vegetables should be planted in early autumn and harvested in early to mid November. They should be stored in a space that's 32 degrees F, but need to be consumed fairly quickly.
Root vegetables are some of the most hardy and versatile San Diego winter vegetable choices. Carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips and radishes can all be grown either in a garden plot or a deep container outside. These vegetables can reach harvest stage in mid to late October, though they will definitely be ready by early November. Some varieties can be harvested as late as December. They should be stored in a 32-degree F environment and will last for several months as long as they're kept cool and dry.
Flowering vegetables refer to plants that are consumed before the buds get a chance to bloom, such as cauliflower, broccoli and artichokes. These vegetables do well even when the weather turns very cold, which means they have a very long harvest season. The San Diego winter vegetables should be planted in a prepared garden plot, and most are available in both seed and transplant form. They should be stored at 32-degree F after they're harvested, and will last for only a couple of weeks before growing limp and brown.