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 a decade ago, and this guide that he created has been used with success by gardeners throughout Southern California since before then. It includes a handy reference page called “Recommended Planting Dates.” (Click the link above to freely download the pdf.)
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:
The Yard Posts food gardening calendar
The resource that I use is the calendar I’ve created. Not only does it list which vegetables to sow or plant each month, but it also includes how to care for fruit trees and guidance on watering. This calendar is available for purchase during the first half of each year unless they sell out earlier.
All of my Yard Posts are listed HERE
I believe you’ve stated in earlier posts that you hand water your garden. When you plant seeds in the fall how frequently do you water them? Also, it looks like you set your seed trays directly on top of the soil in your garden while waiting for the seeds to sprout. Is this correct? Thanks for feedback and all the guidance you share.
I do some handwatering but also use drip lines to water my vegetables, and of the seeds I’ve planted recently this fall my watering frequency has varied. For big seeds like peas, I soak them for 24 hours, sow them in moist soil directly in the garden, and then don’t water again until they’re up and growing. On the other end of the spectrum are small seeds like carrots and lettuce. I usually water carrot seeds once per day, but if it’s a warm spell they might need water twice per day. In late fall or in cooler weather, they need water a little less often.
This time of year, I set my seed trays in different places according to how warm it is and whether I am around to water them frequently. If it’s really warm (like in the 80s as it’s been the last couple days), then I keep them in the garage while they’ve yet to sprout. But if it’s cooler then I put them out in some sun to warm the soil because the seeds will sprout faster in warm soil. Also, if I’m away from home all day then I keep them in some shade because I won’t be around to water them as they dry out in the sun.
Once the seeds have sprouted though, I try to keep them in maximum sun so they’ll grow fast and strong.
Do you have copies of that calendar? Is it available for purchase?
I don’t have copies, but I’m willing to make one for you. In fact, you deserve one for Christmas.