Vegetables That Grow in the Winter in San Diego

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Gardening in San Diego during winter, or its cool season, bears not only stem and root vegetables, but also leafy and flowering ones because the region so rarely freezes. This southern California city's temperate climate makes possible a second complete growing season during the winter months--not a mini one like in other southern regions of the United States where gardeners rescue their vegetables in November before the frosts set in.

Root, Stem and Bulb Vegetables

  • Root and stem vegetables are hardy garden choices for San Diego winters just in case the area does freeze or comes close to freezing. San Diego has average lows during January, its coldest month, of 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Root and stem vegetable seeds can germinate at low temperatures. Winter carrots, parsnips, beets, kohlrabi and other turnips, radishes and leeks can be planted from September until the spring. Potatoes and onions have two winter seasons. Potatoes can be planted from mid-August to September and from February to March. San Diego gardens not overlooking coastal waters can take winter potatoes as late as April. Winter onions can go in between October and December or between January and February. Planting onion bulb transplants will save weeks of soil growing time to allow more planting flexibility. Despite being hardy, root and stem vegetables need sustained daily sunshine. Partial shade will not kill them; but they may grow slower without direct sunlight.

Leafy Vegetables

  • Leafy vegetables also do well in San Diego's cool season--from December to March--when average highs reach 66 degrees F. Seeds for winter spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, cabbage, leaf and head lettuce and celery can be planted in August through December. Nursery transplants of any of these leafy vegetables can save as much as six weeks of soil growth to allow planting dates in September. The cool season has fewer insects; but cabbageworms can be just as prevalent during the winter months as they are during the summer ones. They can cause damage to all the leafy vegetables in the garden. Winter moths and butterflies may try to feed on them, as well. Leafy vegetables need protection as well as moist soil with plenty of compost.

Flowering Vegetables

  • Flowering vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes also do well in San Diego's cool season. They can be added to the garden from August to December and have a long harvest period. Broccoli or cauliflower transplants can be planted from September to February. Winter tomatoes can be planted in August. According to The San Diego Reader website, the best varieties for San Diego are glacier, Oregon spring and Siberian. Tomatoes will need more water and sunlight than the other vegetables in the garden. Winter peas can be planted in coastal San Diego gardens from September to March. Gardens inland can accept winter peas from January to March.

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  • Photo Credit carrots 2 image by Lee O'Dell from Fotolia.com
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