Right now may seem like the time for your garden to go dormant but November offers so much possibility. November is the perfect time to plant a variety of greens and make the investment for Spring blooms. Contrary to popular belief, November is a very busy month for the Southern California gardener. For gorgeous harvests that will last you through winter and in to early spring, check out out my recommendations.
November in Southern California USDA Zone 10b is the perfect time to start a variety of fall vegetables and flowers. You can either start directly from seed or buy ready to transplant from your local nursery. In November in Southern California Zone 10b you should transplant Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Chives, Collard greens, Kale, Mustard greens and Swiss chard. In November in Southern California Zone 10b you should start from seed: Arugula, Beet, Carrot, Cauliflower, Collard greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Radish, Peas, Potato, Shallots and Spinach. In November in Southern California Zone 10b you should plant flowering bulbs such as: Allium, Anemone, Crocus, Daffodil, Fritillaria, Iris, Ranunculus, Snowdrop, Tulip.
Whether you want to transplant seedlings from your nursery, start directly from seed, or plant flower bulbs – I have a few of my favorites selections for you! This November, try out these recommendations for a prosperous Fall garden.
As always, amend your soil with nutrient rich organic compost before planting.
Transplants are seedlings you either buy from a nursery or start from seed yourself and transplant into your garden. Below you will find varieties I recommend that are commonly found at your nursery right now.
Plant broccoli seedlings about 15 inches apart from one another.
- Romanesco: For an impressive addition to your Fall garden, try Romanesco. When I first posted pictures of my Romanesco broccoli to Instagram last year, people went bananas asking me what it was. I’ll admit that the geodesic pattern on the head does look out of this world. It may be hard to find this one at your nursery but if they happen to carry it, snatch it up!
- De Cicco: Almost all nurseries carry this variety. De Cicco is well known for being a classic variety of broccoli. It is well-suited for Southern California and disease resistant. When you harvest the head of broccoli, leave the rest of the plant in the ground to produce tender “side shoots.”
- Purple Sprouting: This variety is unique because it is “cut and come again.” With this variety, you’ll be producing mini harvests daily. Purple Sprouting broccoli is perfect for stir fries or quick additions to any meal. Once your Purple Sprouting broccoli plant starts producing shoots, it will produce all season long until temperatures rise and days get longer. Once they start to flower and go to seed, leave them in the ground as long as you can – pollinators absolutely love them!
Photo by Massimo Virgilio Irene Kredenets on Unsplash
Plant cauliflower seedlings about 18 inches apart from one another.
- Snowball: Think your typical cauliflower variety. Snowball is typically found in most nurseries and has medium sized, cream colored heads.
- Purple / Orange / Green: It is always fun to try out one of these colorful varieties. I have noticed that some colored varieties are susceptible to head splitting. Last year I tried “Purple of Sicily” and absolutely loved how gorgeous it looked – and tasted!
If you plan to harvest as it grows, plucking individuals leaves as you see fit, plant your Chinese cabbage 6 inches apart from one another. If you plan to grow a full-sized plant with a large head, plant your Chinese cabbage at least 12 inches apart from one another.
- Napa Cabbage: Napa cabbage offers a much more mild taste than red cabbage varieties. It is tender and slightly sweet. Use in dumplings, slaws, salads and stir fry.
- Bok Choy: The tip of the leaves taste like cabbage but the stems are filled with water, making for a refreshing crispness. Add to your stir fries – the stems will absorb a lot of flavor while the leaves wilt.
Plant chives 6 inches apart.
Chives are suitable for any garden – raised bed, in ground, cut flower, or container. Some varieties of chives are particularly suited for their flowers. Be sure to do a quick google search before purchasing your chives from your local nursery. Harvest all season long but leave some growth as to grow as a “cut and come again” crop.
Depending on when you plan to harvest your collard greens, the spacing changes considerably. I recommend harvesting as it grows by plucking tender, young leaves. If you opt for this route, plant your collard greens 6 inches apart from one another.
Most local nurseries offer a “Southern” collard variety. If available, try a waxy leaf variety as they are less common but have a pleasant, mild taste.
Photo by Laura Johnston Stephanie Moody on Unsplash
Kale makes for a compact, efficient crop. Plant your kale as close as 6 inches apart from one another. Harvest leaves from the outer, lower part of the plant as it grows.
- Lacinato: My all time favorite kale variety. This variety may also be called Tuscan kale, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, or flat kale. This variety is perfect for chopped kale salads, or as an addition to stir fries, soups, or stews.
- Redbor: This variety is your curly leaf kale. I love this variety for kale chips since the ruffled edges get extra crispy.
Mustard greens can grow to take up quite a bit of space. You’ll find that the pungent flavor is quite strong. To flavor a dish, you may only need one or two leaves. For your household, I would recommend only planting one or two mustard greens plants. Plant your mustard greens 18 inches apart from one another.
Photo by Benjamin Lizardo on Unsplash
You really can’t go wrong here. To me, they all taste the very similar so I’d opt for a variety with a colorful stem. Swiss chard also makes for a compact, efficient crop. Plant your swiss chard about 7 inches apart. Harvest the outermost leaves throughout the season.
- Pink Flamingo
- Yellow Canary
- Bright Lights
When I can, I prefer to start all my herbs, vegetables and flowers from seed. The reason being that it is more cost effective and you can control the variety of your crop. While there are many varieties within each category of crop, here are some of my favorite:
- Name: Eruca sativa
- Germination: 5-7 days
- Direct sow: 1/8″ deep, 4″ apart. Plant every 3 weeks until early spring for continual supply.
- Harvest: 21 days for baby leaf. For continual harvest as a baby leaf, clip leaves. Flowers are edible but will be very spicy. 40 days for full size.
Recommended Arugula Varieties:
- Why I like it: dark green leaves that grow upright for easier harvest
- Buy it: Bellezia Arugula, (from $4.95, Johnny Seeds)
- Why I like it: extremely cost efficient at 200 seeds per packet, avoid the high costs and shortage of arugula at the grocery store, always good to have on hand
- Buy it: Common Arugula, ($2.75, Baker Creek)
- Why I like it: upright leaf habit that allows for quick harvest, more pronounced serrated leaves
- Buy it: Uber Arugula, (from $2.95, High Mowing)
- Name: Beta vulgaris
- Germination: Beets will germinate in approximately 7 days; beets are multigerm seeds meaning that when the germinate they may have up to five seedlings at once.
- Direct sow: Sow beet seeds 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep and then thin to 6 inches apart once they produce their second set of leaves
- Harvest: Harvest your beets about 8 weeks after they germinate – mark your calendar! Don’t throw away the tops either, treat them similar to chard – add them to your salads or stir fry.
Recommended Beet Varieties:
- BADGER FLAME
- Why I like it: Row 7 Seeds breeds their own produce and seeds with culinary interests in mind. The Badger Flame beet is sweet without the earthiness beets are criticized for – with bright yellow color and cylindrical shape.
- Buy it: Badger Flame Beet, (from $3.50, Row 7 Seeds)
- BULL’S BLOOD
- Why I like it: Bull’s Blood beets have the reddest beet foliage, careful because this one will surely stain!
- Buy it: Bull’s Blood Beet, ($3.95, Burpee)
- CHIOGGIA (Bassano)
- Why I like it: Chioggia beet makes for the perfect salad beet. With concentric rings of pink and white, Chioggia is always a show stopper
- Buy it: Chioggia Bassano Beet, ($2.75, Baker Creek)
- CYLINDRA (Formanova)
- Why I like it: I recommend the cylindra variety of beet because its cylindrical shape makes for easy slicing.
- Buy it: Cylindra or Formanova Beet, (2.75, Baker Creek)
- Name: Daucus carota
- Germination: Carrots will germinate after at least 14 days but may take as long as a month.
- Direct Sow: To sow carrots, sprinkle your carrot seeds over your worked soil, lightly patting in to soil. After germination, successively thin the seeds to about 1.5 inches apart with a pair small snips.
- Harvest: Carrots may start to “shoulder” meaning you can see the top of the carrot. Otherwise, begin to harvest your carrots approximately 2 months after they have germinated.
Recommended Carrot Varieties:
- SCARLET NANTES
- Why I like it: Scarlet nantes is a 19th century heirloom variety and it is quintessential carrot.
- Buy it: Scarlet Nantes, (from $2.95, High Mowing)
- TONDA DI PARIGI “Round of Paris”
- Why I like it: Tonda di Parigi is well suited for dense soils or shallow container gardening. Tonda di Parigi may be small, but this variety packs a lot of flavor.
- Buy it: Tonda di Parigi, ($1.89, Botanical Interests)
- DEEP PURPLE
- Why I like it: Deep purple carrot makes for a show stopper, the color fades however after being cooked.
- Buy it: Deep Purple, (from $4.75, Johnny’s Seeds)
- Name: Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group
- Germination: You can expect your cauliflower to germinate within 10 days.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow cauliflwoer 1/2 inch deep, 2 feet apart. Place 3 seeds per hole, thin with a pair of fine snips after the seed has germinated.
- Harvest: When the head is at least 6 inches wide; make sure to harvest before the head splits as it will lose its flavor rapidly.
Recommended Cauliflower Varieties:
- PURPLE OF SICILY
- Why I like it: I recommend Purple of Sicily Cauliflower for its large heads, stunning purple color. The purple color turns slightly green when cooked.
- Buy it: Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, ($3.00, Baker Creek)
- GREEN MACERATA
- Why I like it: Green macerata cauliflower is always a magnificent green surprise in a salad or cooked.
- Buy it: Green Macerata Cauliflower, ($3.00, Baker Creek)
- DE JESI
- Why I like it: Similar to the Romanesco, De Jesi’s fractal patterns are alluring while containing the flavor you know and love of cauliflower – if you’re going to eat cauliflower, why not make it beautiful?
- Buy it: De Jesi Cauliflower, ($3.00, Baker Creek)
- Name: Brassica oleracea Acephala Group
- Germination: Collard greens will germinate within 10 days of sowing.
- Direct Sow: Plant collard greens 1/4 inch deep, 18 inches apart. Plant several seeds per hole and thin after then germinate with a pair of small snips.
- Harvest: Harvest your collard greens as each leaf grows to about 8 inches long. Harvest from the bottom, outside of the plant.
Recommended Collard Greens Varieties:
- CASCADE GLAZE:
- Why I like it: Cascade glaze is rare and bred for a recessive gene for waxy, glossy leaves. The glossy leaves are said to repel pests.
- Buy it: Cascade Glaze Collards, ($3.50, Uprising Organics)
- GEORGIA COLLARDS:
- Why I like it: Georgia collards make for an Heirloom Southern classic variety. This variety is suitable for steaming, blanching, stir fry, or salads.
- Buy it: Georgia Collards, ($4.45, Burpee Seeds)
- Name: Brassica oleracea Acephala Group
- Germination: Kale will germinate within 10 days of sowing.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow kale seeds 1/2″ deep about 8 inches apart from one another.
- Harvest: To harvest kale as a “cut and come again” crop, pick the leaves from the outside and leave small, central leaves on the kale plant.
Recommended Kale Varieties:
- WALKING STICK
- Why I like it: Walking stick, like its name suggests, is an extra tall kale variety that can grow up to 12 feet tall.
- Buy it: Walking Stick Kale, ($5.00, Baker Creek)
- BLACK TUSCAN
- Why I like it: Black Tuscan kale is a true lacinato variety with dark green leaves and excellent, almost nutty, flavor.
- Buy it: Black Tuscan Kale, ($3.50, Uprising Organics)
- Why I like it: Redbor is a curly leafed kale with a twist – it has gorgeous magenta leaves and grows prolifically.
- Buy it: Redbor Kale, ($5.95, Johnny’s Seeds)
- Name: Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group
- Germination: Kohlrabi is very quick to germinate, taking about a week or less to pop up.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow kohlrabi seeds 1/4 inch deep and about 10 inches apart.
- Harvest: Harvest kohlrabi when it is the size of a tennis ball, about 60 days from germination.
- Name: Allium ampeloprasum
- Germination: Leek seeds will germinate between 2 to 4 weeks.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow leek seeds 1/2 inch deep, 2 inches apart.
- Harvest: Most leeks will be ready to harvest within 100 days of germination or when the base of the leek is at least 1 inch thick.
- Name: Lactuca sativa
- Germination: Lettuce seeds should germinate within 2 weeks of planting
- Direct Sow: Direct sow lettuce 1/2 inch deep. Depending on the variety, the spacing will vary. For loose leaf lettuce, plant 4 inches apart. For Romaine and butterhead, plant 6 inches apart. For head lettuce, plant 10 inches apart.
- Harvest: When you harvest lettuce will depends on the variety.
Recommended Lettuce Varieties:
- RED SAILS
- Why I like it: Red sails lettuce doesn’t bolt as quickly as some other varieties, making it a suitable fit for the Southern California garden. Red sails has a soft texture with buttery flavor. I grow this variety as a loose leaf lettuce – harvesting tender baby leaves as I go.
- Buy it: Red Sails Lettuce Seeds, ($2.50, Park Seeds)
- LITTLE GEM
- Why I like it: Little gem lettuce is not only one of my favorite lettuces to grow, but probably the favorite of most California gardeners. The reason why: it resists bolting and has a very tender, buttery taste to it. Heads are about the size of your fist.
- Buy it: Little Gem Lettuce, ($2.75, Baker Creek)
- TENNIS BALL
- Why I like it: I’ll be growing this variety for the first time this fall. I was intrigued by this variety because of its compact shape as well as history. Apparently this variety was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite.
- Buy it: Tennis Ball Lettuce Seeds, ($3.95, Monticello Shop)
- Name: Brassica juncea Integrifolia
- Germination: Mustard greens take 7 days to germinate.
- Direct Sow: Sow mustard green seed 1/2 inch deep and 6 inches apart from one another.
- Harvest: To harvest mustard greens, harvest from the outermost leaves when they are at least the size of your hand. Be sure to leave the center, small leaves intact to grow this as a “cut and come again” crop.
- Name: Raphanus raphanistrum
- Germination: Radishes typically germinate within 5 days.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow radish seeds at surface level to 1/4 inch deep, patting in to the soil.
- Harvest: Radishes are typically ready to harvest as soon as you see the top part pop out of the soil and reach 1 inch across.
Recommended Radish Varieties:
- EASTER EGG BLEND
- Why I like it: Easter egg blend combines red, white, pink, purple radishes in one mix. The best bang for you buck!
- Buy it: Easter Egg Blend Radish Seeds, ($1.99, Botanical Interests)
- Why I like it: Watermelon radishes are green on the outside and pink on the inside (like a watermelon). If you find radishes to be too spicy sometimes, try the Watermelon variety since it is considered to be milder in flavor.
- Buy it: Watermelon Radish, ($2.99, Renees Garden)
- CHERRY BELLE
- Why I like it: Cherry Belle radishes are an heirloom variety that make for the quintessential radish. Crunchy, red, and tangy.
- Buy it: Cherry Belle Radish, (from $4.95, Burpee)
- FRENCH BREAKFAST
- Why I like it: French breakfast radishes make for a cutest addition to your crudites and salads. They are cylindrical and have a white tip and red-rose body.
- Buy it: French Breakfast Radish, (from $5.45, Burpee)
- Name: Pisum sativum
- Germination: Peas will typically germinate between 7 and 14 days after planting. To aid germination, soak your peaks for 8 hours prior to planting.
- Direct Sow: Direct sow peas 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart.
- Harvest: To harvest peas, pluck them fresh off the vine (carefully). If they are shelling peas, harvest once the pods are full.
Recommended Pea Varieties:
- KING TUT
- Why I like it: King Tut peas are purple on the outside but contain bright green peas on the inside. While the peas taste great, I particularly like this variety because it is so easy to spot the pods on the vine because the purple stands out.
- Buy it: Currently out of stock on Baker Creek
- Why I like it: Beauregarde is another stunner from Row 7 Seeds. Purple podded peas that maintain their color when cooked. With this variety, you eat the whole pod.
- Buy it: Beauregarde Snow Pea (from $3.75, Row 7 Seeds)
- PROGRESS #9
- Why I like it: Progress #9 is an heirloom shelling pea. Progress #9 is the quintessential pea that is high yielding and disease resistant.
- Buy it: Progress #9 Shelling Pea ($2.49, Botanical Interests)
- Name: Solanum tuberosum
- Germination: Potatoes will begin to sprout in about 2 to 3 weeks from planting.
- Direct sow: Plant potatoes 6 inches deep, about 12 inches apart.
- Harvest: Potatoes are ready to harvest when the top foliage and vines die back.
Recommended Potato Varieties:
- I prefer to pick up whatever my local nursery has on hand. If Yukon Gold is available, it is always a great option that makes for delicious crispy potato wedges. I’ve been eyeing purple potato varieties but I’ve heard mixed reviews – although they look cool, their taste may be compromised.
- Name: Allium cepa aggregatum
- Germination: Shallots take about 7 days to sprout.
- Direct Sow: Plant shallot bulb sets 1 inch deep and at least 4 inches apart. Plant shallot seeds 1/4 inch deep at least 3 inches apart.
- Harvest: Shallots are ready to harvest about 100 to 120 days after sprouting but can vary if you buy transplants. Shallots should be harvested when the green tops start to wither and fall over.
Recommended Shallot Varieties:
- FRENCH RED
- Why I like it: Shallots are a staple of French cuisine. The French Red shallot is the quintessential shallot for your favorite sauces, dressings and soups.
- Buy it: Find at your local nursery or here – French Red Shallot Fall-Shipped Bulb Sets, ($21.95, Kitchen Garden Seeds)
- Why I like it: Zebrune is an heirloom French banana shallot. The shallot is oblong – like a banana. Zebrune make for a variety that you are not as likely to find at your grocery store.
- Buy it: Zebrune Shallot Seeds, ($3.95, Park Seed)
- Name: Spinacia oleracea
- Germination: Spinach takes 5 days to germinate.
- Direct Sow: Sow spinach seeds 1/2 inch deep and 2 inches apart.
- Harvest: Harvest spinach leaves when outer leaves are at least 2 to 3 inches large. Harvest from the outside and leave the smaller, center leaves intact to grow as a “cut and come again” crop.
Recommended Spinach Varieties:
- Why I like it: Bloomsdale spinach is an heirloom variety that has a very thick texture almost similar to lacinato kale. Bloomsdale is well suited for thee Southern California garden as it is slow to bolt.
- Buy it: Spinach, Bloomsdale Long Standing, ($4.95, Burpee)
Photos by Waldemar Brandt Paul Teysen Kiki Siepel on Unsplash
- Planting Instructions: Plant allium in full sun, 4-8 inches deep, 6 inches apart.
With each new season, I am always in pursuit of trying new varieties. This year I invested in a dozen perennial allium bulbs. Onions, leeks, shallots and garlic belong to the “Allium” family. There are however, a number of varieties that are grown specifically as flowers. From the research I have done, alliums are easy to grow and they come back year after year. I plan to intersperse these around my young fruit trees. They will provide abundant hues of purple I’m sure the bees will love. Here are a few varieties I’d like to plant this November:
- Planting instructions: Plant anemone in full to partial sun, 3 inches deep, 3 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant crocus in full sun, 3 inches deep, 3 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant daffodil in full to partial sun, 4 inches deep, 3 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant fritillaria in full to partial sun, 4 inches deep, at least 4 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant iris rhizomes in full to partial sun, 1 inch deep, 8 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant ranunculus in full sun, 2 inches deep, 4 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant snowdrops in partial sun, 2 inches deep, 2 inches apart.
- Planting instructions: Plant tulips in full sun, 3 times their height deep, 4 inches apart.
It is really difficult for me to narrow down my “favorite” tulip varieties. Tulips are my favorite flower, they are truly elegant and spark tons of joy. They are the harbinger of the Spring garden. There are so many types, shapes, sizes, colors of tulips.
- BLUE DIAMOND
- FOXY FOXTROT
- BLUE HERON
- EXOTIC EMPEROR
If you found this November planting guide helpful, or have any feedback for future planting guides, please drop me a comment.