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23 Best Vegetables to Grow in Southern California

Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Southern California

For those who live in SoCal, knowing the best vegetables to grow in Southern California is important if you intend to get a bountiful harvest.

Those of us who live in Southern California can’t help but enjoy the mild weather. Summers are warm and sunny and winters are mild compared to most of the rest of the country.

For those of who enjoy gardening or want to try gardening for the first time, the long growing season in California and the great weather makes for larger crops and even the ability in some areas to garden practically all year around.

Although people who live in Southern California can grow almost any vegetable that can be grown anywhere else in the United States we thought you might enjoy learning what are the best vegetables to grow in Southern California.

Pole beans, pumpkins, sweet corn and collar greens - best vegetables to grow in Southern California.

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23 Best Vegetables to Grow in Southern California

#1. Tomatoes


Okay, everyone knows that tomatoes are a fruit not a vegetable, but they are a staple of most vegetable gardens and most of us use this fruit as vegetable so we are including it in this article on vegetables. There are many reasons for growing tomatoes:

  1. Homegrown tomatoes taste better than store bought. The reason for this is that when you grow your own tomatoes you can pick them at the peak of freshness. (Most store bought tomatoes are picked while they are still green.)
  2. Since most people use tomatoes constantly in soups, sauces, salads, sandwiches and even alone, growing tomatoes in your garden can save you a great deal of money.

Tomatoes are easiest to grow from starter plants that can be planted in your prepared garden once the threat of frost has past. You can plant your tomato plants anywhere from March 15th to July 4th to get a great crop for your family’s use.

#2. Peppers


Peppers love warm temperatures making Southern California a great place to grow these tasty vegetables. You can grow anything from bell peppers to more spicy peppers like Jalapenos in SoCal.

In most parts of Southern California you can plant your pepper once the soil warms up to about 75 degree Fahrenheit, which is usually sometime between April and June. In places like San Diego and Los Angeles you can grow peppers all year around.

#3. Summer Squash

Patty Pan - Summer Squash

Growing summer squash here in Southern California gives you a way to provide yourself and your family a wider variety of vegetables to enjoy. There are a number of different summer squash you can plant all offering a different flavor.

Zucchini, patty pan, Luffa and crockneck are all excellent choices of summer squashes to plant. These are fast growing vegetables that can be planted in April, May, June or July.

Harvesting the squash when they are smaller makes for more tender squash. Allowing some Zucchini to grow large will give you zucchini for muffins or bread.

#4. Winter Squash

Pumpkins - Winter Squash

Winter Squash also offers you a variety of different tasty vegetables such as pumpkin, spaghetti squash, butternut squash and so much more.

Best of all, winter squash can be planted at the same time as your summer squash since they require more time to grow. Growing winter squash in your garden gives you some great vegetables for side dishes and to add a bit of hardiness to soups and stews.

For the holidays you can enjoy pumpkin or squash pie made from vegetables you have grown yourself. And spaghetti squash can even be used to replace the carbohydrates you get from pasta while giving you more vitamins and minerals.

#5. Onions


Onions are another great vegetable to plant in your Southern California garden. Not only are onions used in a variety of dishes including sandwiches, onion ring sides, casseroles, soups and more they also make great companion plants for other vegetables as the scent of growing onions can help keep pests away.

Best of all you can actually use the top of onions you have cut off and sprouted to grow a new crop, saving you money all the way around.

The best time for planting onions is early fall around October and harvesting them in the spring. Since onions keep in the ground for a long time you can harvest your onions, as you need them instead of having to harvest them all over a few short days.

#6. Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Since sweet corn takes up a good deal of space, most gardeners don’t plant a large crop of this tasty vegetable. But planting even a few rows of this golden vegetable can add a tasty treat to your dinner table.

There is nothing better than freshly picked sweet corn to cook on the grill, or use to make corn salads. You can normally plant this vegetable in March and have it ready to harvest in 60 to 100 days.

#7. Pole Beans

Pole Beans

Not only are pole beans an easy vegetable to grow in Southern California, they are also extremely tasty and help replenish some of the nitrogen to your garden soil.

Pole beans are one of the best edible vines you can grow vertically in your garden.

You do need to keep in mind however, that pole beans are not fond of hot temperatures, which can slow the beans growth or stop it all together.

So the best time to plant pole beans is early spring when the soil reaches a temperature of around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. That way the beans will be ready to harvest before the temperatures in get too high.

#8. Cucumbers


Cucumbers are another tasty vegetable to grow in Southern California.

Since these vegetables mature anywhere between 50 and 70 days from planting you can usually grow two crops of this vegetable if you plant your first crop in March or April and the second in July. Just make sure this vegetable gets plenty of water.

#9. Herbs

Herbs in Pots

If you are looking for a great way to add excitement to many of your dishes then growing herbs in your garden is a great idea.

Herbs such as sage, rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, chives, tarragon, fennel and more. Simply plant your herbs in the spring and enjoy harvesting them throughout the season.

#10. Collard Greens

Collard greens

You can plant collard greens twice in Southern California, January-March and October-December.

Other Vegetables You Can Grow in Southern California

#11. Cauliflower

#12. Brussel Sprouts

#13. Broccoli

#14. Cabbage

#15. Lettuce

#16. Beets

#17. Radish

#18. Okra

#19. Spinach

#20. Mustard

#21. Celery

#22. Swiss Chard

#23. Carrots

Final Thoughts on the Best Veggies to Grow in Southern California

With the wide variety of vegetables that can easily be grown in Southern California, it would be a pity not to try your hand at starting your own garden or at least growing a container of one or two of your favorite vegetables.

Check out this seasonal plants planting schedule for SoCal to help you know when to plant your vegetables.

Collard green, sweet corn, pumpkins and pole beans and text that says, "Best veggies to grow in Southern California".

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