top of page

GROW IN ABUNDANCE: Edible Plants That Transition From Winter To Spring

By Sommer Cartier, for Let’s Talk Plants! March 2023.

Wix stock photo of edible plantss that transition from winter to spring when planted in San Diego gardens.

Edible Plants that Transition from Winter to Spring

Early spring is a time of transition in Southern California vegetable gardens. Cool-season crops are still growing and being harvested while warm-season crops are being sown and planted alongside them. With a temperate Mediterranean climate like San Diego’s, early spring can be a tough time for making decisions about planting. March can bring unpredictable weather with bouts of rain and cooler temperatures mixed in with what is otherwise a warm and sunny month. This creates less than ideal conditions for young heat loving crops that are trying to establish themselves. However, if timed carefully, with a focus on hardy warm season crops and quick growing cool season veggies, March and April can be a fruitful time in the garden.

When selecting warm season crops to plant in March, artichokes and tomatoes are excellent choices.


In Southern California, artichokes are grown as annual plants. Seeds/transplants can be planted as early as March and April as they prefer cooler temperatures when getting established. When planting artichokes in March, it’s important to cultivate them in a sunny location with well-draining, fertile soil.

Photo credit Sommer Cartier.


Tomatoes are a warm-season favorite among gardeners in Southern California. While they are heat loving plants and thrive during hot summer months, it can be helpful to plant seedlings in early spring to help them get establish before the heat sets in. In San Diego, tomatoes can be planted in March and April, but make sure to place them in a location that gets at least 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight.

WiX stock photo.

Year-round crops such as beets, carrots and chard can be planted in March as well. Just be sure to identify garden real estate where these veggies can remain without needing to be uprooted to make space for other warm season plantings. If there’s room in your garden, consider planting one more round of cool season crops that can tolerate slightly warmer conditions such as head lettuce, spinach, and broccoli. This will allow you to continue eating fresh veggies from your garden while waiting for those longer, warm season crops to mature.

As temperatures warm up in April, and the weather becomes more stable, you can begin planting the real heat loving veggies such as eggplants, beans, peppers, and squash.

Golden beets. Photo credit Sommer Cartier.

For a comprehensive planting calendar, check out University of California Cooperative Extension Vegetable Garden Planting Guide for San Diego Count at

Broccoli and head lettuce and more. Photo credit by Sommer Cartier.


Sommer Cartier

Master of Arts, International Development and Social Change

Clark University


bottom of page