What to Plant in Your Bay Area Winter Garden

What to Plant in Your Bay Area Garden in November

ornamental winter kale

Back when the weather was cooler and more predictable, November brought rains and cold to the Bay Area. Our warm season has grown hotter and longer, but November is still a good time to plant your winter garden and gives you some wiggle room on your October gardening tasks.

If you need expert advice or help planting your Bay Area or Coastside winter garden, visit either one of our garden centers in Half Moon Bay or Redwood City.

For the patient and nurturing types, you can still direct sow (plant seeds directly in your garden without starting them indoors) in October and November, but only with your peas and your hardier root edibles like beets, carrots and radishes.

Start with small plants for everything else in your winter veggie garden, or if you’re like us and not patient enough for seeds right now, you can also just start everything from seedlings.

We often think of a winter garden as having less options, but there are an abundance of plants willing to grow, so we can eat them in stews and soups and hearty dishes all winter long.



  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Beans


  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard greens

All of these plants will do fine with less sun than other winter garden favorites, but they still need at least three to six hours of full sunlight a day, or dappled sunlight all day – but heavy on the sun. Brassicas prefer full sun, six to eight hours a day



head of cabbage

  • Brassicas
    • Turnips
    • Rutabaga
    • Kohlrabi
    • Cabbage
    • Bok Choy

    • Collard greens (can survive on four to five hours of sun)
    • Watercress
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
  • Strawberries. Yes, strawberries, though you won’t get to eat them until spring. They like the chill of winter to set and produce good, sweet, juicy, red berries, but you’ll thank us in April.


geranium in summer garden

The bees, butterflies and other pollinators can use all the help they can get and as water becomes even more scarce, native plants can be a great addition to your garden. For trees and bushes try California lilac, sycamores, manzanita, deer grass, any of the salvias/sages (they are the same thing), yarrow, fuschia, coast aster, matajilla poppies, joaquin sunflower, wedge leaf goldenbush, brickellbush, seaside daisy, white chaparral and goldenrod.

If you’re the seed planting type, now is the time to sow California wildflowers. Plant in an open space of your yard that will get full sun come spring.

Add a little color to your garden with snapdragons, stock, pansies and Iceland poppies, purple fountain grass, ornamental kale and ornamental peppers.

Perennials mixed with annuals are a great way to create a foundation for your garden, so as the years go by, you can play around with the annuals you add and learn what does well in your yard and where. Sunset Magazine tells us, “Many kinds of perennials can go into the ground now, including asters, chrysanthemums, diascia, gaura, geranium (cranesbill), geum, and penstemon. So can California natives such as heuchera, monkey flower, Salvia clevelandii, and Western columbine.”


ranunculus field

Flowering bulbs need the cold of winter to take in nutrients so they can bloom in the spring. For Northern California plant hyacinth, tulips, ranunculus, allium, daffodils, sparaxis and bearded iris.

All of these flowers need at least six hours of sun to thrive, though hyacinth and allium will tolerate partial shade, you just may not get as many blooms out of them. Bulbs also make great cut flowers for gifts or decorating.

We get nearly all of our plants from local nurseries (roses and air plants come from Southern California). Several of our suppliers are family-owned businesses like Blooms Wholesale Nursery up in Sonoma Valley (which is pollinator friendly and uses no neonicotinoids on their plants) as well as Moran and Cavanaugh Nurseries down in Watsonville.

Other nurseries up and down the state who supply us with gorgeous plants all year long:

  • Suncrest Nursery, Watsonville
  • Hollandia, Modesto
  • Soquel Nursery Growers, Soquel
  • Cal Color, Morgan hill
  • Sweetwater, Sebastopol for our organic options
  • Menlo Growers, Gilroy
  • Fisher Nursery, Ripon foo our indoor plants

We also get over 50% of our soils and much of our fertilizers from one of our favorite organic suppliers, EB Stone and Son’s over in Suisun City just east of Napa.

Come by and visit our garden centers and if you don’t see something you want, ask! We will try and get it for you.

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