| |

Zone 9 Vegetable Planting Guide

Growing a garden in Zone 9 is the best because we can grow year-round! I am a Zone 9b gardener in Central California and have grown a garden my entire life! I have learned tips and skills passed down from multiple generations of family farmers and I can’t wait to help you learn to grow your best garden yet!

Audrey standing in front of her Zone 9 California garden

Audrey's Little Farm may earn a commission after clicking links on this page at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden before you probably know that it can often seem overwhelming.

Learning when to start your seeds, when to transplant, how to use crop rotation, how to care for the plants, how to harvest, and so on…

There is so much to learn!

Or if you’ve never grown a garden maybe it’s because all of those things are holding you back.

But let me encourage you by saying gardening is completely worth it! It requires you to learn new skills and you are going to have failure along the way. But harvesting your own food that you grew on your own is so rewarding!

So let’s start learning!

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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

An Overview of Gardening in Zone 9

Gardening in Zone 9 is great because it’s a year-round planting zone which means there is almost always something that you can harvest, whether it be vegetables, fruits, or herbs.

States with Zone 9 areas include,

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Nevada 
  • Arizona
  • Texas 
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Florida

In general, these are climates that have mild winters and hot summers.

So as I’m sure you can understand by seeing that list of states, just because you’re in Zone 9 does not mean you will have the same growing conditions as all gardeners in Zone 9.

California versus Florida is drastically different. 

However, one thing that all Zone 9 gardeners have in common is that we have long growing seasons and can grow a garden nearly year round!

But when it comes to vegetable gardening it’s important to know that hardiness zones really don’t matter for annual plants which are the majority of vegetables. 

For example, lemon trees are hardy to Zone 9 which means they will grow well in areas Zone 9 and above, but if they are planted in a colder zone they likely won’t survive. 

So if you’re planting perennials (which are plants that continue growing for two or more years) it’s a good idea to choose plants that are hardy to your specific zone. 

But if you’re planting annuals you really only need to know your first and last frost dates and most importantly look at the current and future forecast so that you plant when the weather is ideal for the crops you’re planting. 

My vegetable garden located in California Zone 9
My Zone 9b Vegetable Garden

Cool Season Crop Growing Conditions

Cool season crops thrive in temperatures ideally around 40-70° F but many cool season crops can even survive a light or moderate freeze.

However, if cool season crops are grown in temperatures above 70°F they will likely bolt and head to seed. This can make growing cool weather crops a bit tricker.

In Zone 9 you’ll have better success growing most cool-season crops in the fall compared to gardeners in colder climates that plant their cool weather crops in late winter and early spring.

I plant all of my cool-season vegetables starting late summer to early fall. Then in late winter I will plant again but only with quick maturing crops or vegetables that can can be harvested young like leafy greens.

You can learn more about planting vegetables in the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide.

Baby Mix Lettuce growing in the garden

Warm Season Crop Growing Conditions

Warm season crops thrive in temperatures 70°F and above. They should be planted after all danger of frost has passed, when nighttime temperatures and consistently 50°F and above and when daytime temperatures are consistently 70°F and above.

When you plant warm season crops too early it usually causes more harm than good. But in Zone 9 we have such a long growing season and so there is plenty of time to plant heat loving crops.

When it’s time to plant your warm season vegetables such as squash, tomatoes, and peppers remember that your first spring planting date is your first planting date, not your only planting date.

Zone 9 gardeners can continue planting warm-season crops all throughout spring, early summer, and even late summer in many areas.

To learn about all of the vegetables you can grow in Zone 9, check out my article, The Best Zone 9b Vegetables to Grow.

To find the exact times for when to plant each vegetable, make sure to download my free planting schedule

It’s a PDF download that you can print off and fill in no matter what zone you are in!

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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

Zone 9 Monthly Gardening Tips & Tasks

Below I’ll go over general tasks and planting tips for each month throughout the year. But just remember that nothing is set in stone.

It’s a great outline with a general idea of what’s coming up but I don’t list every single crop you can grow or every task you should work on.

The best way to stay on track for gardening year-round is to join the Zone 9 Garden Club. It’s my signature program inside of my membership Audrey’s Little Farm Academy where you’ll get monthly planting calendars, garden tours and teachings, access to courses, guides, and ebooks, plus an amazing community to connect and ask questions anytime! 


The start of the new year is a great time to start planning and preparing for your spring garden. If you planted a fall garden there are many crops that are likely still growing. You can also plant another round of cool season vegetables before the weather starts warming up.

  • You may be able to directly sow cool season crops such as beets, carrots, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips. But note that many cool season crops germinate in soil ideally around 50-60°F and so if your soil is too cold in January you may have slower germination.
  • Transplant vegetables such as asparagus crowns, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi.
  • Keep in mind that crops such as broccoli and cauliflower that need to mature into a head (versus something like lettuce that can be harvested young) need at least 60 days of consistent cool weather to mature, ideally around 60°F. Sometimes we have random warm days in February that will cause these crops to bolt and head to seed, but sometimes they grow well. It’s worth experimenting with or you can plant in the fall.
  • Many herbs also grow great in the cooler weather so consider adding some herbs into the garden. Just make sure they are not sensitive to frost (like basil).
  • Plant fruit trees, vines, and bushes.
  • Prune existing fruit while plants are still dormant. 
  • Order seeds for your spring garden. My favorite seed companies include Renee’s Garden, True Leaf Market, and Botanical Interests


There are many years when February has a few warm days but it often cools back down. So don’t start planting warm season crops at the appearance of the first warm day. But it’s a great month to continue succession planting with another round of quicker maturing cool season crops. It’s also a good time to start cleaning up your garden and working on garden projects. 

  • Direct sow quick maturing root crops such as radishes and turnips as well as leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. 
  • Plant seed potatoes in grow bags for easy harvesting.
  • Direct sow herbs like cilantro and parsley that prefer the cooler temperatures. 
  • Start working on any garden projects that need to get checked off before Spring such as filling raised beds with soil, clearing out weeds, and amending in ground garden beds.
  • Start your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant indoors with grow lights or in a greenhouse.
Tomato seedlings growing in the greenhouse


By March the weather is often starting to warm up and your average last frost date should be coming up. However, don’t rush to plant all of your warm season crops just yet. Your first spring planting date is not your only planting date, it’s just the first. There is more harm in planting too early than there is holding off until temperatures are more consistent. 

  • Harvest leafy greens often because they’ll bolt in the warm weather. But you can also re-seed leafy greens every couple of weeks and harvest the greens young to get continued harvests as long as possible. 
  • Spread a 1-2 inch layer of compost on top of all of your garden beds to amend the soil before planting warm season crops. 
  • If the future forecast has daytime temperatures consistently 70°F and above and nighttime temperatures 50°F and above, you can start direct sowing seeds for your warm-season crops. But remember that March is often still pretty unpredictable so I prefer to wait until April before I plant. 
  • Set up irrigation and a timer so that you can take watering off your plate. It’s a game-changer in the garden, especially once it gets really hot!
  • Repot your indoor seedlings into bigger pots until they’re ready to be transplanted. For example, I start my tomatoes in smaller 2” x 2” seed starting pots and then once they are a few inches tall I transplant them into pint size or larger pots until they are ready to transplant out to the garden. 
  • Set up trellises for vining and sprawling plants such as cucumbers, pole beans, tomatoes, and tomatillos. 

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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


April is a special month because it’s usually the time when I plant all of my heat loving crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash! If you want to start your first garden it’s not too late. You can start now and continue planting all throughout spring and early summer which is the great part about gardening in Zone 9!

  • As long as the weather is warm enough with consistent weather in the forecast, start planting all of your warm season crops such as beans, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers. I directly sow most warm-season crops, except for tomatoes and peppers, those two should always be transplanted. 
  • Water consistently so that the soil doesn’t dry out in between waterings. It should stay moist but not overly saturated. 
  • Mulch your garden beds with garden straw or mulched up leaves to retain moisture and decrease weeds.
  • Mulch walkways with bark or gravel.
  • Record planting dates, germination dates, expected harvest dates, and all relevant gardening information in a garden journal such as my Garden Planner here. The more information you record the better your garden will get each season. 
  • Plant flowers and herbs throughout your garden beds to attract beneficial insects and pollinators and naturally keep pests away.


You can still plant all of your warm-season crops in May, don’t feel behind if you have not planted yet. Whether you’re planting your first round of the season or succession planting, go ahead and get the crops in the ground.

  • Continue to plant warm season crops. In Zone 9, you can continue planting all throughout spring and summer and typically even into late summer with most heat tolerant crops. Some areas in zone 9 slow down in the hottest part of summer, but here in the Central Valley of California I tend to have great success with all crops until the first frost hits. 
  • Harvest any fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ready to pick. The more frequently you harvest the more productive your plants will be. 
  • Check your plants for pests often and learn how to identify good and bad bugs. You want to keep beneficial insects in the garden because they will keep the problem pests under control.
  • Fertilize your plants if needed. If your soil is healthy and you added compost to your garden beds prior to planting you may not need to fertilize at all.
Harvesting basil from the garden


By June you should be starting to harvest many of your crops or will be soon! It’s an exciting time and so rewarding! 

  • Plant another round of warm season crops. Consider planting another round of pumpkins for a Halloween harvest.
  • Continue to monitor plants for pests and disease. 
  • Weed often.
  • Harvest often.
  • Tie up your tomato plants to keep branches off the ground as they continue to grow upwards.
  • Make a plan for any crops that you want to preserve and get the supplies and ingredients ready before you harvest. A really easy canning recipe are these bread and butter pickles.
Audrey tying up tomato plants in the garden


Summer is typically pretty hot this time of year. Make sure everything is getting plenty of water. You can also start making a plan for your fall garden. 

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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


Summer crops should be in full production and you’re likely getting tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you plan on growing a fall garden, start preparing now so that you’re ready when planting time comes. 

  • Pull weeds and keep up on gardening chores. Even just 5 minutes a day makes a huge difference. 
  • Later in the month, start cool season crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts indoors to transplant in your fall garden. 
  • You can still direct sow quicker maturing warm-season crops like beans, cucumbers, and summer squash. Refer to the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide for more planting tips and information. 
  • Keep track of your favorite varieties of the season, pest problems, and any other information that can help you out in future gardening seasons. Use a simple notebook or check out my Gardening Planner here. 
Audrey harvesting fresh tomatoes


This is one of my favorite months of the year because we usually start to see temperatures cool off, at least at night! September is also full of possibilities with so many new crops to plant!

  • Amend your garden beds with compost prior to planting your fall garden. Simply spread a 1-2” layer right on top of the soil. 
  • Since the temperatures should continuously cool off, you can start direct sowing seeds for many cool season crops such as beets, parsnips, carrots, and peas. 
  • Start seedlings indoors or purchase already started transplants for cool season crops you’d like to transplant.
  • Direct sow your last round of quick maturing herbs and vegetables that prefer warmer weather such as basil and bush beans. 
  • Save seeds from summer crops like okra and cucumbers.
Okra seeds saved from dried out okra pods


The days should keep cooling off and there are so many cool-season crops you can plant! Any crops that don’t mature quickly will overwinter and so keep on planting!

  • Continue to direct sow cool season crops like carrots, rutabagas, baby mix lettuce, and turnips. These crops don’t tolerate transplanting well and so they’ll grow best when directly sown by seed. All of this information is in the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide for easy reference. 
  • Transplant any remaining cool season vegetables and herbs that you started as seedlings or purchased at the nursery.
  • Direct sow seeds for herbs like cilantro, chives, and parsley which all prefer cooler weather.
  • Plant your seed potatoes and softneck garlic.
  • Consider setting up floating row covers to protect your crops from pests like the cabbage moth. Learn about an easy floating row cover set up in this video here.
A floating row cover protecting fall vegetables


Some Zone 9 gardeners may experience their first frost this month or next. Harvest any remaining warm season crops and continue planting cool season crops.

  • Continue to direct sow or transplant cool season veggies and herbs. Refer to the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide for information on which vegetables can and cannot tolerate root disturbance. 
  • Plant your softneck garlic if you haven’t done so yet.
  • Turn off irrigation if you’re starting to get rain or turn off the timer and just water as needed. 
  • Clean garden tools and garden supplies such as seedling pots, and then store away for the winter. 

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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


Many gardeners in Zone 9 will get their first frost this month. The majority of cool season crops can tolerate a light freeze so shouldn’t have to worry too much. But keep an eye on the weather and protect plants if needed. 

  • This is your last chance to plant softneck garlic.
  • Purchase frost cloth so you’re ready to cover plants and citrus trees when a hard freeze hits. 
  • Continue harvesting any crops that are ready.
  • If there is anything that has not reached maturity, for example a head of broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. Let it overwinter and you’ll be able to harvest in late winter or early spring. 
  • Look back over the previous year and take notes in a garden planner before you forget. It’s great to record things such as, where crops were planted, what varieties you grew, which plants grew well and which did not, etc.  and keep gardening records of all important information that can help you in future gardening seasons. 
  • Make a list of any fruit trees you’d like to add to your garden. Most nurseries will start selling bare root fruit trees in January. Learn how to plant in my video here, How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees.
  • Add mulch to the tops of all of your garden beds even if there is nothing planted. It will help suppress weeds over winter and the mulch will break down improving your soil structure and fertility for spring planting. I like to use mulched up leaves or garden straw.
  • Treat yourself for the holidays with the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide or a membership to the Zone 9 Garden Club
Audrey and her son Cooper harvesting veggies and pulling weeds
My son helping me in the garden!

I hope the month by month overview was helpful! Just remember that planting times may vary for each gardener even if you’re in the same zone.

So it’s great to start with a plan and follow a guide such as the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide but then you can always adjust as needed!

How to Find First and Last Frost Dates

First, you may be wondering what frost dates are and why they’re important. Earlier in this post I mentioned that knowing your first and last frost dates is more important than hardiness zones when you’re planting annuals, which are most vegetables.

Your last frost date is the average date of the last light freeze that occurs in spring and your first frost date is the first light freeze that occurs in the fall.

To find your first and last frost dates check the Farmer’s Almanac Website. Just type in your zip code and it will give you the dates for your location.

Knowing your average frost dates is super important because they help you determine when to plant. If you happen to live in an area that does not get frost you will just plant according to the ideal growing temperatures for cool and warm season crops, which every gardener should do anyways.

For example, my average last frost date is March 2 but this spring of 2024 was very cool so I did not plant my warm season crops until the end of April.

Warm season crops grow best when daytime temperatures are in the 70’s and above and when nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 50’s and above. So even though we were past our average last frost date the actual weather was not ideal until the end of April.

If you’d like an in depth overview of planting I do a garden tour and teaching each month in the Zone 9 Garden Club! So as a member you’ll be able to watch a video tour and teaching of planting my entire summer garden!

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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

The planting schedule above includes all of the exact times of when to transplant and direct sow seeds for all of your most common vegetable plants.

Although, just know that frost dates are meant to be a guideline. There is a 30% chance that a frost may occur before or after the average first and last frost dates.

How to Find Your Growing Zone

If you don’t know your growing zone head to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map here, type in your zip code and it will show right up!

What is a Plant Hardiness Zone

The plant hardiness zone map is a tool that will let you know if plants can tolerate year-round conditions in your area.

It is based on the area’s high and low temperatures as well as average amounts and distributions of rainfall.

The zones change by 10-degree Fahrenheit differences in average minimum temperatures. The zones are then broken down again into “a” and “b” zones, which have 5-degree Fahrenheit differences.

Zone 1 has the coldest climate and as climates get warmer the zone number increases up to 13.

What is the difference between Zone 9a and Zone 9b?

Zones change by 10-degree Fahrenheit differences in average minimum temperatures. The zones are then broken down again into “a” and “b” zones, which have 5-degree Fahrenheit differences.

Zone 9a has minimum temperatures of 20 – 25° Fahrenheit and Zone 9b has minimum winter temperatures of 25 – 30°F.

What is Hardiness Zone 9b?

A hardiness zone is a geographic area with specific conditions relevant to plant growth and survival. It refers to the minimum temperatures that a plant can tolerate.

So a plant labeled zone 9b hardy would mean that variety can handle minimum temperatures of 25 – 30°F.

My Zone 9 Gardening Experience

I have been gardening in zone 9b for my entire life and I am still learning something new every season!

Gardening is one of my greatest passions and so I am always trying to learn new tips and strategies so that I can help others have the most success!

Each year gets easier, but the important thing to know is that you can have zero experience and still grow a thriving garden, you just have to get started!

But since gardening is so much easier with a plan to follow I created the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide below to help fellow Zone 9 gardeners simplify and master vegetable gardening!

The Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide
A digital mockup of the Complete Zone 9 Vegetable Gardening Guide

This guide includes,

  • Exact planting dates for over 30 vegetables
  • Indoor seed starting dates for spring and fall
  • A list of proven heat-tolerant vegetables
  • A list of zone 9b cool weather crops that will thrive
  • The best planting methods for all vegetables in your spring and fall garden
  • Plus specific zone 9b gardening strategies!

So if you want a complete gardening guide that can can keep you on track in your Zone 9 garden, this guide is for you!

Learn more about Zone 9 gardening in my YouTube video below!

3 Must Have Tips for Zone 9b Gardeners

Do You Enjoy Podcasts?

My podcast The Audrey’s Little Farm Show is all about gardening with a specific focus on Zone 9!

You can learn more and listen here!

Get your free Vegetable Planting Schedule!

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


  1. Hi Audrey. I recently found your blog. I am in desperate need of advice for planting zone 9b. I live in south Texas. It is hot 95% of the time down here. This year our winter consisted of 50 and above degree mornings and 70’s – 80’s throughout the day. Which is perfect but that only means that Our spring, summer and autumn are going to be excruciatingly hot! Anyway. I downloaded a schedule for when to plant what for 4.00 thank you for that but I kind of want a guide. Also, do you have a Youtube channel? There are no good zone 9b channels most are Indian channels. By the look of your blog You would rock!
    Have a happy day! Miriam

    1. Hi Miriam, with really hot weather like that and mild winters you could likely have a great winter, early spring, and fall garden. But I am so happy you mentioned the youtube channel because that is on my list of to do’s. I hope to start getting videos up soon and since you are on my email list from getting the garden schedule you’ll get all the updates for when I start it 🙂

    2. BTW, Nature’s Always right has been in San Diego which is zone 10. You might find his channel helpful. Calikim is in Southern California, so she might be applicable. I landed here because I was trying to find advice for my friend who lives in Tampa.

  2. Hi Audrey, I love in Southern California. Rural San Diego to be exact. So my zine is 9b. It is now April and I’m trying to get my garden started. By all the dates on the guideline I’m about a month late. Am I too late? Any suggestions? Any advice would be much appreciated.. thank you

    1. Hi Patti,

      You’re not too late at all! Zone 9b is such a long growing season so you can still get everything started and it’ll do great. The only vegetables that it’s too late for are your cooler season crops, but you can get those going in your fall garden.

      As far as all your veggies such as squash, peppers, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, and green beans, you’re good to go!

      1. Really afraid to follow this guide. You state average minimum low temps at 25- 30 in 9b. I don’t recall ever seeing a low of 25 her in 9b Florida and only a couple of times had to cover in the 9 years I have lived here.

        1. I can second that. Here in 9b Florida I have never seen a frost and I have lived here for 30 years. I AM, however, right on the coast about 1/2 mile from the ocean.

        2. just wait. i haven’t seen much in the past 30 years, but i moved down here to be with my mom right after i visited for the christmas freeze of ‘89…

  3. Hi Audrey!
    First of all….I love your website and blog. Its so resourceful, well written, and I genuinely have used a lot of your advice (which has helped immensely)!
    I started gardening last year in the start of the pandemic while working from home and it quickly became something I was really passionate about. I live in 9b in Sarasota FL where it’s HOT and rainy in late July/August. Question: Vegetable wise; is there anything that I could plant now as seedlings in trays and transplant in Sept to my garden? Or should I just wait? Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thank you so much, I am so happy to hear that!😊 Yes there are lots of things you can get started now that should be transplanted as transplants later in fall, in fact, I have this post here that explains all of them in-depth. https://audreyslittlefarm.com/fall-vegetables-to-plant-in-your-garden/

      But as a quick summary, all the veggies below will do great started as seedlings to later plant😊

      Swiss Chard
      Brussels Sprouts

  4. Hi, Audrey!
    The zip code zone maps tell me I’m Zone 9a, but it covers the town that is 1000 feet lower in elevation than my property. Plants bloom in town about 2 weeks earlier than where I am, halfway up the mountain, and in the forest. My temperatures are usually 3-7 degrees cooler. Should I still garden as 9a zone? Is 9b for cooler or higher areas?

    1. Hi Audrey, zone 9a is about 5 degrees cooler than 9b. And so it sounds correct that you are zone 9a. I’d follow planting dates for zone 9a, or even zone 9b but just plant about a week later in spring and a week earlier in fall to make up for the difference in temperature😊

  5. I wonder if you have any suggestions as how to deal with eucalyptus roots in the vegie/flower bed as I have tried everything. They came right through the garden cloth so now I’m lost. I have a hoop house my son built and hate to see it go to waste. Any suggestions? ??? Sincerely, (HELP)lol, Rhonda Keelin

    1. Hi Rhonda, So sorry for the long reply. Unfortunately, if you have tree roots coming up into your garden beds your best bet is to cut the tree down or use raised planter boxes that the roots cannot grow into. I had this same issue with a willow tree and it ruined my entire garden. I had to cut down the tree and re-do all of my garden beds.

    2. We had root problems with the redwood trees and hedges from our neighbor’s backyard. After years of digging them out every spring we finally poured concrete pads for each bed and built new beds 16″ deep (2 2×8 rough cut boards per side. Filled them with 25% compost 75% top soil. It seems to be working really well!

  6. Hello,
    This looks like such a great resource! I’m trying to start my first garden (might be too late in the year to start now? Maybe in the fall) and I’m completely lost. I’m in zone 9a – can I still use this guide, or can you advise of a similar resource for 9a?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vanessa, if you’re in zone 9 you’re not too late at all. We are pretty much a year-round growing zone. Zone 9a and 9b are very similar, I cover the difference above in this article but regarding my Zone 9b Gardening Guide, it will be helpful for any zone 9 (a or b) gardener 🙂

  7. I live in Northern Calif 9b… but its totally different planting times/ high temps from a Texas 9b… where exactly is your 9b?? I want to be sure it would work for me with cooler 9b temps, etc…

  8. I’m also in zone 9 but on the central coast, Cambria, California, we have several micro climate es my part of hardly ever freezes maybe around 34 and highs rarely above 75, summers can be cool and foggy and summer arrives around mid September thru November. Sometimes we have wet winters and very dry summers. Waters is outrageous expensive. It’s hard to figure out what to plant beside natives. We also deal with deer, while turkeys and gophers. Any suggestions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *