The days are warming up and growing longer… you might even notice powdery mildew on your winter kale or see your lettuce bolt and turn bitter overnight. It’s time to transition your garden from cool season plants to warm season crops!
San Diego County contains two USDA Growing Zones: 10 and 9. These areas have differing average annual minimum temperatures during the winter.
Zone 10a (higher average temperature): Coastal San Diego, from La Jolla to Imperial Beach
Zone 9 (lower average temperature): Desert regions west of El Cajon and Santee
The majority of San Diego is Zone 10a. Growing zones matter because they give suggestions on the ideal planting time. For example, Zones 9 and 10 have two basic seasons (hot and cool), but Zone 5 in Nebraska has a single growing season of April to October.
Your location within San Diego will determine the best time for you to start your new plants. For example, if you live in the warmer Zone 10, you can plant the warm season crops earlier. San Diegans living in easterly Zone 9 should wait for the warmer days of April to plant their tomatoes, etc. Find out the zone you’re in by entering your zip code at the USDA website.
You can plant the spring and summer season crops listed below at any time during the suggested months, but consider starting them early to take advantage of the long growing season! Here are some tips to follow while you prepare your garden:
Growing food in San Diego and Orange County’s warm season is incredibly rewarding. Harvests are often heavy and varied, and you can bite right into the fruits of your labor!
Corn: March – July
Cucumber: April – July
Eggplant: April – June
Lettuces: heat-tolerant only, preferably in the shade!
Melons: April – June
Okra: April – June
Peppers: April – June
Squash, summer: March – August
Squash, winter: April – June
Sweet Potatoes: April – June
Tomatoes: March – July
Potatoes: August – Sept