Here in southern California we are lucky enough to have a climate that is only found in 4 other areas of the globe – virtually free of frost damage. Crops here can be harvested 5 times a year and don’t even get me started on the soil. We have the yummiest dirt around, packed with minerals that provide an ideal habitat for harvesting. Despite this obvious advantage, there are still plants that I struggle with every year (can anyone say “basil”), but that’s for another article. What I have learned is that whether you are a novice gardener planting your first vegetable garden or your thumbs are greener than the grass stains on my kid’s jeans, the following 6 vegetables are guaranteed to give you a gold mine of yummy produce on your kitchen table.
Beans: Lima, Snap, and Pole all do extremely well.
When: Plant Lima Beans in May or June, Snaps in March-August on the coast and April-May and July-August in the interior.
Try This: Lima: Fordhook or King of the Garden, Bush Beans: Try Contender, Harvester, or Tendercrop, Pole Beans: Kentucky Wonder or Romano.
When: Plant in May-July on the coast and July in the interior.
Try This: Emerald Green Glove.
Tip: Don’t water for 2-3 weeks in summer.
Kale: Lacinato (Italian Kale), Red Russian Kale, Siberian Kale.
When: Plant in late August-October and enjoy all the way to summer!
Try This: Check out your local seed exchange!
Tips: Worms and aphids love Kale too. These worms come from the Cabbage Moth. If you are finding it hard to get a good harvest I suggest, planting densely and thinning out the more damaged plants. You can also use floating row covers. Planting a few weeks ahead of schedule can also help. Soaking your harvested Kale in salt water will wash away the aphids.
Lettuce: Romane, Loose Leaf.
When: Plant in August-April on the coast and November-March in the interior regions.
Try This: Salad Bowl, Oakleaf, And Ruby Red Good.
Tips: Iceberg Lettuce can have a hard time growing in CA.
Onions: Bulb, Green.
When: Plant Febuary-March on the coast and November-March in the interior.
Try This: for Bulb: Sweet Spanish, Stockton Yellow, and Fiesta. Green: Evergreen White, Southport White, and White Lisbon.
When: Plant in early April-mid July on the coast and April or May in the interior.
Try This: Super Steak, Early Girl, Marvel Stripe, Ace Hybrid, and Better Boy. Heirloom variety: Sweet Persimmon.
Tips: Rotate crops when planting tomatoes to avoid disease.