October is an ideal month to plant cool season vegetables and herbs in Southern California’s areas of coastal influence.
Start most cool-season annual vegetable-and-herb seeds for fall-and-winter harvest indoors or directly outdoors, and transplant starts outdoors; experienced gardeners growing appropriate varieties may succeed with a variety of cool-season crops and warm-season crops year-round in your zone including chard, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Irrigate new garden beds, wait 10 to 21 days prior to planting to flush weed seeds, and remove or till in weed seedlings.
Inspect and repair raised beds, garden structures, fencing, hose bibs, and drip or other irrigation systems.
In new beds or compacted soils, double-dig or loosen soil with a spading fork and remove stones and obstructions shortly before seeding new crops.
Amend soils prior to planting by surface dressing and/or gently working in compost, organic matter, manures, and other amendments.
Monitor new starts and seedlings daily to minimize plant losses during establishment.
Seed or transplant crops successively for successive harvest, especially of crops that you eat regularly or in large quantities.
Spot-plant in bare garden areas.
Add organic amendments and 1 to 1 1/2 inches of fine mulch after vegetable and herb starts are 3 to 6 inches tall.
Consider growing cover crops in dormant garden beds.
Plan fall-and-winter vegetable-and-herb plantings in well-drained, reasonably fertile, uncompacted soil with southern and western exposures unshaded in winter to maximize sun during short winter days.
For complete, customized instructions for growing cool season vegetables and herbs in your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code; then go to Plants and make your selection. After selecting a plant, see Recommended Varieties/Cultivars in the Getting Started section for each vegetable or herb and purchase seeds for fall-through-winter crops.