Fall and Winter Gardening in Southern California

Fall and Winter Gardening in Southern California

For most new gardeners who are growing their first fall or winter gardens in Southern California, it can be confusing what to plant and when. To make matters even more confusing, our weather patterns in Southern California can be tricky to understand. Luckily, we are here for you and want you to discover one of the most pleasurable times to grow in Southern California—fall and winter.

Weather patterns are important to understand when planning your fall and winter gardens in Southern California. The fall can be brutally dry and hot. That makes it hard to think about planting things like lettuce and peas. Don’t worry, we have a few pro tips that will have you starting your fall crops with success in late summer so that they have time to grow before the days get too short and plants don’t grow very fast.

First, as surprising as it sounds, you should start cool season crops like cabbage by seed in late July and August. Cool season crops are the following:

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Lettuce,

leafy greens

Root

crops

Spinach

Potatoes

Here is a complete list of crops and seed starting dates for Southern California.

Seeding in late July can be disastrous without a few pro-tips up your sleeve. Here are ours.

1.Use 40% shade cloth.

Shade cloth is the most important tool on our farm. We use it all year round but it is vital to our fall seed starting success. We must have 40% shade cloth to protect our baby seedlings, keep our greenhouse from getting over 100 degrees, and to keep the moisture in the soil. Because we believe that shade cloth is vital to good gardening practices in Southern California, we have a specialty shade cloth made for our customers. Learn about it here: Shade Cloth

2. Use seed starting mix that can hold onto moisture.

When you start your seeds in the heat of the summer, you need to make sure that your soil will not dry out between watering. To do this you need a seed starting mix that is heavy in peat moss and holds on to moisture. We recommend the Sungrow propagation mix that can be found online and at local farm suppliers.

3. Provide seedlings with proper airflow.

Hot stagnant air can hinder the growth of a seedling. A small fan can make all the difference allowing seedlings to create stronger plant fibers as they move from the wind produced by the fan. The airflow also helps with insect issues by not allowing hot stagnant air around the seedling which is a prime environment to breed pests.

With these three top tips—and a little babying of your seedlings, you can become wildly successful at seed starting for your fall and winter garden. Once you discover the freedom of creating your own starts for your garden, it is unlikely you will go back to buying starts again!

We look forward to seeing your fall and winter garden success! Post photos and tag us so we can see your wonderful garden! Happy Growing!

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