By: Amy Grant
I’m quite envious of folks who reside in the warmer regions of the United States. You get not one, but two chances to reap crops, especially those in USDA zone 9. This region is perfectly suited to not only a spring sown garden for summer crops but also a winter vegetable garden in zone 9. Temperatures are mild enough for growing vegetables in winter in this zone. Curious how to get started? Read on to find out about zone 9 vegetables for winter gardening.
Before choosing your zone 9 winter vegetables, you need to select a garden site and prepare it. Choose a site that has at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day with well-draining soil. If you are using an existing garden, remove all old plant detritus and weeds. If you are using a new garden site, remove all grass and till the area down to a depth of 10-12 inches (25-30 cm.).
Once the area has been tilled, spread 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of coarse, washed sand, and 2-3 inches (5-8 cm.) of organic matter onto the garden surface and till it into the soil.
Next, add fertilizer to the bed. This can come in the form of compost. Be sure the bed has adequate phosphorus and potassium as well as nitrogen added to it. Mix the fertilizer in well and water the beds. Allow them to dry out for a couple of days and you are ready to plant.
Fall crops do much better when started from transplants than from seed, and transplants should always be used for tomatoes and peppers. Buy the largest transplants available. Or you can start your own plants earlier in the season, and transplant them. Plant shade tolerant crops between taller veggies like tomatoes.
Fall planted vegetable crops are categorized as either long-term or short-term crops, depending upon the cold tolerance of the crop and the date of the first killing frost. When growing vegetables in winter, be sure to group plants together according to their frost tolerance.
Zone 9 vegetables for the winter garden that are frost tolerant include:
Group the short term veggies together so they can be removed after being killed by frost. These include plants like:
Water the garden deeply, once a week (depending on weather conditions) with an inch (2.5 cm.) of water. Monitor the garden for pests. Row covers or plastic can be used to protect the plants from pests, although they’re usually not as rampant during this time. Covering can also protect plants from wind and colder temperatures.
Be sure to select only cultivars that are suited to your area. Your local extension office will be able to direct you to the right plants for your area.
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Read more about Zone 9, 10 & 11
Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.
If you’re interested in growing the majority of your own food (or even to supplement food to save on groceries), this is a great zone to live in.
Whether you’re new to gardening or looking for a few new gardening ideas, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to share a few gardening basics for this planting zone and also share what you can grow in this area.
If you’re ready to embrace your garden and planting zone, let’s get started. Here’s what you should be growing if you live in planting zone nine:
Zones 9 has a long growing window for gardening. With a last frost date of January 30th or earlier and first frost date as late as November 30th to December 30th. First and last frost days may vary by 2 weeks (or more depending on the weather).
If you'd like to get a jump-start on Spring and Fall planting, it is possible to extend your season by starting seeds indoors. A simple setup might be a shop light over a table or as elaborate as a heated greenhouse or multiple racks with lights.
We hope that our USDA Zone Specific SEED planting guide with be a helpful tool in your garden planning and planting!
Start seeds indoors or outside: Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Mustard, Bunching Onion, Parsley, Peas, Radish, Spinach and Turnips
Start seeds indoors or outside: Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Endive, Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Mustard, Bunching Onion, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Spinach, Tomatoes and Turnips
HERBS & WILDFLOWERS
Start seeds outside: Arugula, BEANS, Beets, Cantalope, Carrots, Celery, Chard, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Endive, Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Leek, Melons, Mustard, Onion, OKRA, Parsley, Peas, Southern Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Summer & Winter Squash, Tomatoes and Watermelon
HERBS & WILDFLOWERS
Start seeds outside: Arugula, BEANS, Beets, Cantalope, Chard, Collards, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, OKRA, Southern Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Summer & Winter Squash, Tomatoes and Watermelon
HERBS & WILDFLOWERS
Transplant: all remaining indoor seedlings
Start Seeds outside: Chard, Eggplant, Endive, Okra, Southern Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Summer Squash & Winter Squash and Cherry Tomato
Plant all HERB and FLOWER seeds outside
When should I start seeds in zone 9b?
As a general rule, most vegetables should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. In zone 9b, this would be around January 1st – January 18th.
Or if you’re directing seeding vegetables into the garden, most seeds should be sown after your last frost date. But you can get all of the exact dates in this planting schedule here.
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.
So zone 9a has minimum temperatures of 20 – 25° Farhenheit and zone 9b has minimum winter temperatures of 25 – 30° degrees F.
What is hardiness zone 9b?
A hardiness zone is a geographic area with specific conditions relevant to plant growth and survival. It typically 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.
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