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Zone 9b Vegetable Gardening Tips

Zone 9b is a pretty common growing zone but can be a little bit tricky at times. So throughout this article, I’ll provide you with all my tips and tricks for zone 9b vegetable gardening success.

Audrey's Vegetable Garden

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I’ve lived in the central valley of California for my entire life and have always had a vegetable garden.

It’s a great zone for so many reasons but then there are things about it that make gardening a little bit tricky… like the extremely hot weather in the summertime.

You have to make sure you stay on top of your watering schedule, plant certain plants in shade, and plant certain varieties in your fall garden since our spring temperatures can quickly reach high temperatures.

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All About Zone 9b Vegetable Gardening

If you don’t know what planting zone you are in, the first thing you should do is find your zone here on the USDA website.

Then, if you are in zone 9, continue reading so you can learn all the tips for gardening here.

States that include zone 9 areas include,

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington

Zone 9b has a minimum temperature range from 25-30 degrees F and high temps that go into the 100s.

But despite the hot summers, it’s a long growing season which gives you lots of opportunities for growing almost every vegetable.

Check out the Best Vegetables to Grow in Zone 9b here.

In this zone, the average last frost is around March 1st and the average first frost is around December 15.

Just note that even if you are in zone 9b the temperatures can fluctuate even in the same county.

So you could have sooner or later first and last frost dates depending on your exact location.

Learn more about zone 9b in my Zone 9b Vegetable Planting Guide. 

Zone 9b Gardening Tips

When it comes to gardening there are so many factors to consider it can often feel like an impossible skill to master.

But whether you are just starting your garden or have been gardening for years, as long as you learn about your area and what grows best, you can master gardening in no time!

1.) Choose Heat and Drought Tolerant Varieties

The nice thing about zone 9 areas is that you don’t have to worry too much about cold harsh winters, but you do have to keep the heat in mind during the summer.

So when it comes time to plant your spring garden try planting varieties that are known for having heat resistant and drought tolerant characteristics.

Such varieties include,

There are many more varieties known for having heat and drought tolerance, so when you pick out your seeds or transplants, look at the plant description and see if that variety has either.

If you’d like to get a list of all of my favorite varieties, zone 9 gardening strategies, planting dates, and more, be sure to get your Complete Zone 9b Vegetable Gardening Guide here!

There are also just vegetables in general, no matter what variety, that are known for doing well in the heat.

Those include,

  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Peppers
  • Okra
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
A Cucumber Plant

So no matter where exactly you are in zone 9b, all of the above vegetables should grow well.

But if your summers get extremely hot you can plant specific varieties known for being extra heat resistant, like the Homestead Tomato.

2.) Plant More Veggies That Thrive in the Heat Versus the Cold

In zone 9b it’s very common to have hot days early in spring and late in fall.

So that makes it difficult sometimes to grow vegetables that are cool-season crops such as,

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts

I find that those vegetables do better in your fall garden because oftentimes in spring it gets warm too quickly.

Unless you get those crops started very early in spring so you can harvest before the weather is too warm.

3.) Overwinter Certain Varieties

Since winters here do not usually drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s possible to overwinter certain crops.

Overwintering vegetables means planting during fall to later harvest in spring.

So instead of the typical fall garden that would be planted in late summer/early fall and harvested before winter, if you overwinter a crop you would be letting it grow throughout the winter so it’s ready to harvest in early spring.

A few great crops to do this with include,

  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
Onion Plants Growing in a Raised Garden Bed

As you grow your garden this year I hope all of these tips help you to have your most successful garden yet!

If you have any questions feel free to comment below or email me! And be sure to get your Complete Zone 9b Vegetable Gardening Guide here!

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

Sign up and get this planting schedule with all planting dates sent straight to your inbox!!

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Audrey's Vegetable Garden


  1. hello there! coming to you from the Sacramento area! and love gardening–I’ve been at it for 3 years now as we moved to a property with 2 acres–i get 1/4 acre to do what i want! and all i can say about gardening is that it’s harder than it looks….and have had to accept the fact that it will take me years to finally dial how to do it efficiently and productively….it’s hard not to get hard on myself for a lot of failure, but remind myself i just started this….this year i’ve been learning more how to use soaker tubes and the spaced out drippers….
    thanks for this 9b article!
    xo eva

    1. Hi Eva!

      That is so great that you get to have such a large area to garden! And yes gardening is for sure many years of trial and error, but so worth the process šŸ™‚ Feel free to reach out anytime I can help you with anything!

  2. Audrey- thank you for all your wonderful tips and educational information. I have recently retired in Florida Zone 9b and having sooo much fun learning. Yes there is work involved but that is what makes it a Blessing- also to be able to feed your own family and neighbors even on a very limited space of property.
    love love love Irene

    1. Hi Irene!

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment! That’s so great that you are retired so you can spend more time doing the things you love. And I completely agree, gardening can take work but the rewards are worth it all šŸ™‚

  3. Hi, I think my zone is actually 9A, rather than 9B (which I think is farther inland.) How do my change my location to 9A? I am in Elfin Forest, which is between west of Escondido, next to Carlsbad, la Costa and San Marcos.
    Thank you for your help,
    Ginger Lamp

    1. Hi Ginger, If you are zone 9a your planting dates will be very similar. You will just need to look up your first and last average frost dates based off of your zip code and then go off of those dates when you plant.

  4. Hello, excited to be here. I saw that you were from central valley. We lived in Modesto for about 5 years on a retired Kiwi farm. The lady we bought it from grew everything from walnuts, pistachios, to freestone peaches. I had a daycare when I was there and snack time was fresh lemonade, oranges and almonds. That is where I fell in love with gardening. We moved up to Sonora at 4600′ so that was tricky but later relocated to 2000′ level and had great success. Now, due to grandchildren, we live in Riverside County šŸ™ and I swear the sun kills everything. I love the rebar wire you put in with the zucchini as last year mine were stunted and black at the end; I assume that was from touching the wet soil. I was wondering if you could put in a search button. I wanted a quick reference to something I read here but couldn’t find my way back. It had to do with complementing vegetable planting. I was happy to hear about tomatoes and basil but I also threw red and yellow bell peppers in the same raised box. Now I am curious about putting bunch onions, green beans and cucumber in the same soil. Also if alyssum can be grown in the same vegetable boxes or do the need to be planted in seperate areas.
    Thank you

  5. Hi! Iā€™m in 9b in Oroville and Iā€™m a new gardener! I have been reading about watering schedules, etc. but no where can I find how *much* I should be watering. I am noticing my basil is getting a yellow tinge and one tomato plant has a tiny bit of yellow. My Cherokee purples both have crispy spots at the tips of some of the lower leaves. I think I may be watering too much at a time. Any guidance on this would be so helpful! Thank you!

  6. Hello Audrey, So happy I found you. I live in Yuma, AZ close to Mexico and the CA borders so I’m not sure what zone I’m in. Different charts say different zones. Can you help? I’m just in the learning phase as I live in a very very small space and will have to maximize the space that I have with raised beds. So excited to find a resource. I look forward to your advice. Thank you!

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