Don't pack up the vegetable garden after you've picked that last tomato or pepper. In most of Southern California there are vegetables for every month. A few, including lettuce, carrots, beets and radishes, sprout and grow almost anytime, though the seed might take a little prompting during the hottest or coldest weather. Others grow in one of our two gardening seasons -- during the warm weather of spring and summer, or the cool months of fall and winter. You simply need to know what to plant when.
For instance, cauliflower, broccoli and the other cole crops grow only during cool weather. You could be planting these as we speak, but you could also plant anytime in autumn. Peas are another vegetable that prefers cool weather, while their cousins, the many kinds of beans, favor warm. Most of the popular crops do best in warm weather, such as corn and cucumbers, squash, eggplant, melons and peppers. And, of course, the tomato and its friend the tomatillo.
Some gardeners actually prefer growing the cool-season vegetables because they are generally easier and have few pests and diseases. It's also easier to keep them watered since the sun is lower and days are cooler. Rains often do all the irrigating. Weeding remains a big chore, though the weeds are different than those of summer: They too have their seasons.