(Last updated February 12, 2021)
Below are a handful of excellent answers to this question. They are downloadable tables, calendars, and monthly guides with more details. I know they’ll help you get the right vegetables planted at the right time here in Southern California, correct timing being vital to success with most vegetables.
First is Vince Lazaneo’s “Vegetable Garden Planting Guide for San Diego County.” Vince was the University of California Cooperative Extension advisor for my Master Gardener training class, and this guide that he created has been used with success by gardeners throughout Southern California for decades. It includes a handy reference page called “Recommended Planting Dates.” (Click the link above to freely download the pdf.)
The Yard Posts food gardening calendar 2021
Before listing more tables that you can download, let me mention that the resource I use to answer the question of which vegetables to sow or plant at any given time is the calendar I’ve created. (The calendar also includes how to care for certain fruit trees and guidance on watering for each month.) See more about my calendar here.
Monthly Vegetable Planting Guide by Grangetto’s
On to a couple of other good digital planting guides. Grangetto’s is a farm and garden supply store in Southern California, and they’ve made available a single page calendar they’re calling “Vegetable Planting Guide.”
It’s colorful, it’s pretty. It’s arranged so you can easily find specific vegetables or specific months. For each month, it shows whether it is optimal, acceptable, or not recommended to sow each vegetable. And that’s one important thing to keep in mind about this guide: it’s showing sowing dates, not planting dates. In other words, this is when you should sow seeds of each vegetable; however, if you are planting seedlings, then add a month or two to the time period shown.
My single, tiny quibble with this guide is that it fails to show the potato-growing period of late summer through fall. I always get fine harvests sowing potatoes around late August or early September and harvesting around December.
Vegetable Planting Guide by Robert Norris
Showing harvest times is something that this guide made by Robert Norris shows but the preceding two don’t. Norris’s “Vegetable Planting Guide” has this advantage over the other two guides: being more detailed. In addition to showing harvest times, it also shows preferred times to direct seed (sow seeds in the soil of the vegetable garden) versus transplant.
Because this guide splits the gardening year into Winter/Spring vegetables and Summer/Fall vegetables it is actually two pages long.
But wait, did you notice that it says it is written for the Sacramento area? Yes yes. Yet it is accurate enough for down south here. In fact, I only find a single recommendation that wouldn’t work for us, which is the onion and garlic times. We do better with those when sown or planted earlier. He shows onions sown in December (I’ve always sown mine successfully starting in October) and garlic planted in January (I’ve always planted mine successfully in October or November).
We also have some expanded planting windows here in the southern part of California since our winters are warmer, such as being able to sow carrots much later than only August (I don’t sow carrots until mid-September at the earliest, and I continue sowing carrots through winter and into spring).
My monthly vegetable planting and sowing guides
You might like to check out my guides for each month in a Southern California food garden, which include which vegetables to sow or plant. Here are the links to each month:
All of my Yard Posts are listed HERE