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It's late November now, and I'm contemplating what would be good vegetables to plant in the next couple weeks. I understand that most things planted now won't be harvestable until spring.

I'm in Santa Rosa, California, where we do get frost, but temperatures rarely dip very much below freezing (and basically never below 25F/-4C). Not sure if we're technically zone 8B or 9A. Maps claim 8B, but there's a lot of microclimates and 9A might be more accurate. Rain, fog and overcast weather are common through winter.

I know November seems late, but a lot of my spring and summer plantings have only started dying off in the past couple weeks.

I've got maybe 50 square feet (4.5 square meters) of raised bed space that's not already occupied with a perennial.

Already planted some kale a couple months back and considering planting some other kale varieties. Also planted some fava beans recently, mostly for the nitrogen.

Looking for ideas for other winter crops.

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Cold tolerant vegetables:

  • spinach
  • kale
  • collards
  • peas -- the plants are very hardy, but the flowers may be frost sensitive. You may want to consider planting a short variety so that you can cover them if there is going to be a frost while they're flowering.
  • cabbage
  • broccoli -- you may want to cover them if you expect a hard frost
  • lettuce
  • raddichio / chicory
  • mâche
  • (most greens -- e.g. if you bought a packet of mesclun mix seeds, they would probably all do ok)
  • chard

Some of these will not do as well if direct seeded in cold weather. It might be best, for example, to start chard or broccoli inside and then transplant outside.

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  • I am also in zone 8B, and have found leeks and Brussels sprouts to work well over the winter (though you need to plant them earlier than November so they require some planning). – SethMMorton Feb 2 at 2:30
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If it's cool as you describe, I would recommend the following, based on what seems to grow at those approximate temperatures, in my experience (although I'm not sure how the region differs); a little warmer might be more ideal, but you could probably grow all these things (especially the bunching onions and the sorrel):

  • Bunching onions (Allium fistulosum); you can grow them like perennials, harvest the greens only, and let them multiply
  • Sorrel (Green De Belleville); this is a perennial green
  • Radishes
  • Snow peas
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Ornamental cabbage/kale
  • Etc.

You might try winter radishes, too (instead of just spring radishes).

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