Winter container vegetables in San Diego?
September 27, 2008 9:38 PM   Subscribe

What winter vegetables can I grow in pots in a warm climate?

I'm in San Diego, so it will get into the 40s at night in the coldest part of the year, maybe even the 30s if it's an especially cold winter. Days can be in the 50s to the 80s. There's not much rain.

I have some largish pots (maybe 18" diameter) on my front steps that get full sun for part of the day (south-facing but there are trees that shade it sometimes). I had tomatoes in them over the summer.

Now that the tomatoes are done, can I grow root vegetables? Onions? Potatoes? Lettuce?
posted by exceptinsects to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I just looked up today what I could plant now in the SF Bay Area, and the answers from a local gardening guidebook were lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, peas, and garlic. For peas, you'll have to string them up somehow. 18" pots should be fine for all those (assuming it's equally deep, except for maybe garlic, but I find that kind of a pain in the ass anyway).

Alternative answer: find a good gardening store and ask them. Good ones will be selling the starts for the best ones anyway.
posted by salvia at 10:49 PM on September 27, 2008

Broccoli! And if you don't pick it come spring, then you get lots of lovely little yellow flowers where the edible florets once were, which the bees will adore, especially since there's precious little else for them to eat in early spring.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:08 PM on September 27, 2008

It's not your weather that's the problem -- you could have great success with any root vegetable in that climate. Your problem is that root vegetables don't grow well in pots, because most of their real estate needs are underground.

You can grow plenty of greens, though. Lettuces, arugula, mesclun mix, that kind of thing. You could do successive crops of radishes too. Also, snap peas.

As for broccoli, I dunno. You could maybe do one broccoli plant per pot, but even then it's iffy -- you'd have a very meager harvest with one plant per pot.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:24 PM on September 27, 2008

Kale is pretty, and is a great addition to soups, stews and vegetable dishes. Basil, cilantro and rosemary are expensive to buy fresh, and easy to grow in pots. Arugula and other lettuces are easy to grow, and it's nice to go out and pick your own salad lettuce. Just keep planting new seeds every couple of weeks. Peas can grow up a trellis.
posted by theora55 at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2008

This book on "Bountiful Container" gardening is a pretty good guide.
posted by roofus at 2:18 AM on September 29, 2008

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