UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Cool Season Vegetables

Rows of winter greens, Karen Schaffer
In Santa Clara County, we can grow delicious vegetables year round. Our cool season lets us grow vegetables that are typically grown as early spring vegetables elsewhere in the U.S.

Below are some varieties that Master Gardeners have found grow well here.

OP: Open-pollinated. Seed saved will breed true to type.
Hybrid: Produced from crosses between two distinct parent lines. Seed saved will not be true to the variety planted. (More on Saving Vegetable Seeds from the University of Minnesota Extension)


Arugula: Italian, OP
Delicious salad greens with deep, spicy flavor. Will resow if allowed to go to seed. Flowers are edible too. 8–10" tall. Plant 3–6" apart.

Asian Greens: Mei Qing Choi, Hybrid
Heavy, compact plants can be harvested smaller. Bolt, heat, cold tolerant. 8–10" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Asian Greens: Napa Cabbage, Minuet, Hybrid
Excellent mini variety. Upright, dense heads. Slow to bolt. 9" tall. Plant 12" apart.

Asian Greens: Pak Choi Green Fortune, Hybrid
Ready in 30 days. Great for greens or stir-fry. Slow to bolt. 8–10" tall. Plant 8–12" apart.

Asian Greens: Pak Choi Rosie, Hybrid
Purple-red leaves and greenish-red stems. Harvest mature or as baby leaves. 12" tall. Plant close together for baby leaf or up to 10" apart for larger size.

Asian Greens: Shungiku (Edible chrysanthemum), OP
Clip young leaves frequently to keep plants small and tender. Fine, lacy leaves are mild and tasty. 4–8" tall. Plant close together.

Asian Greens: Tatsoi, OP
Smooth, spoon-shaped leaves in a compact rosette. Mild flavor is perfect for salads or stir fries. 6–10" tall. Plant 6" apart.

Beets: Boldor, OP
Sweet golden beets are mild and tasty. Beautiful in salads. Greens are delicious and mild. 8–12" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.

Beets: Chioggia Guardsmark, OP
Improved version of Chioggia (pronounced ‘kee–OH–jaw’), known for its red & white candy-striped rings. 8–12" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.

Beets: Detroit Dark Red, OP
Popular heirloom beet, uniform and smooth, with sweet red flesh and tasty 14" tops for greens. 10–14" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.

Broccoli: Batavia, Hybrid
Large 6–8" main head plus side shoots on this very early broccoli. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Broccoli: Belstar, Hybrid
Large 6–8" main head followed by plentiful side shoots which will continue all winter long. Later than Packman. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Broccoli: Broccolini (Aspabroc), Hybrid
Easy-to-grow baby broccoli produces dozens of tender, tasty heads with an asparagus-like flavor. 20–24" tall. Plant 24" apart.

Broccoli: Calabrese, OP
Medium-sized 3–6" main head followed by numerous side shoots for months afterwards. 24–30" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Broccoli: Gypsy, Hybrid
Large 6–8" main head followed by plentiful side shoots. Heat tolerant. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Broccoli: Mixed
Mixed four-pack of broccoli. A great way to try several varieties! Plant 12–18" apart.

Cabbage: Candy Red, Hybrid
Deep purple-red pointed heads are a convenient 1½–2 lb size. 12–15" tall. Plant 15–18" apart.

Cabbage: Pixie, Hybrid
Fast growing baby cabbage is just 5" across. Sweet and crisp. Plant 10" apart

Cabbage: Tiara, Hybrid
Delicious 6" mini cabbages are just 1–2 lb each. 12–15" tall. Plant 12" apart.

Cauliflower: Cheddar, Hybrid
Like a regular cauliflower, but orange! Sweet and tasty, with about 25 times as much beta carotene as white cauliflower. No blanching needed. Delicious and striking. 18–24" tall. Plant 24–30" apart.

Cauliflower: Graffiti, Hybrid
Neon purple cauliflower keeps its color when cooked. Makes a great addition to any raw vegetable platter. The 10" heads do not require blanching. For a surprise, dress raw or cooked Graffiti with vinaigrette and watch it turn a bright magenta pink. 18–24" tall. Plant 24–30" apart.

Cauliflower: Green, OP
This Italian heirloom, Verde di Macerata, forms beautiful light green heads with no blanching needed. 18–24" tall. Plant 24–30" apart.

Cauliflower: Romanesco Veronica, Hybrid
Light green heads with incredible swirls that form amazing fractal shapes. Sweet nut-like taste. 18–24" tall. Plant 24–30" apart.

Cauliflower: Snow Crown, Hybrid
Early snowball type is pure white, round and flavorful, weighing up to 2 lbs. each. 18–24" tall. Plant 24–30" apart.

Cauliflower: Mixed
Mixed four-pack of cauliflowers. A fun way to try different varieties! Plant 24–30" apart.

Chard: Bionda di Lione, OP
Large, light green leaves on thick white stems. Excellent flavor. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Chard: Bright Lights, OP
Gorgeous stems are red, yellow, gold, orange, white, pink, violet, and striped. Delicious and tender. Multicolored stems and leaves make a wonderful show. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Chard: French White, OP
Thick green leaves are large and tender, on huge, white stalks that are very wide and delicious. Heavy yields because leaves are so large. 18–24" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Fennel: Di Parma, OP
Superior bulbing fennel, large and uniform, with great flavor. Flowers attract beneficials and swallowtail butterflies will lay eggs on the feathery greens. 24–36" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Italian Greens: Chicory, Heading Sugarloaf, OP
Green chicory looks like a romaine lettuce but has that distinctive and delicious sweet/bitter chicory flavor. 12–18" tall. Plant 12" apart.

Italian Greens: Frisée Cuor D'Oro, OP
Large full heads with delicious finely cut, frilled leaves. Blanch heads tying outer leaves together 2 to 3 weeks before harvest. Holds well in garden, slow to bolt. 8–12" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Italian Greens: Radicchio Orchidea Rossa, OP
Beautiful tennis–ball sized radicchio is crisp and delicious. Reliable header, resistant to disease. 8–12" tall. Plant 12" apart.

Italian Greens: Mixed
One each of Sugarloaf chicory, Blonde Full Heart escarole, Orchidea Rossa radicchio, and Cuor d’Oro frisée. 8–12" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Kale: Lacinato, OP
Heirloom Italian variety is a gorgeous, striking plant with delicious dark blue-green leaves. 24–36" tall. Plant 18–24" apart.

Kale: Premier Blend, OP
You'll get a beautiful variety of colors, textures, sizes and flavors with this special five kale blend (Dwarf Blue Curled, Improved Dwarf Siberian, Lacinato, Premier, and Red Russian). 24–30" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Kale: Tronchuda Beira, Hybrid
Portuguese variety. Paddle-shaped, deep green leaves with mild, rich flavor. 24–30" tall. Plant 12–18" apart.

Kohlrabi: Duo, Hybrid
The white flesh inside these alien looking vegetables is deliciuosly sweet and juicy. Can be eaten raw or cooked. Mix of green Kongo and purple Kohlibri varieties. 8–10" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.

Kohlrabi: Kohlibri, Hybrid
Beautiful purple bulbs look like alien vegetables. The white flesh inside is sweet and juicy. Can be eaten raw or cooked. 8–10" tall. Plant 4–6" apart.

Leek: Carentan, OP
Long, thick leek grows strong and vigorously, with a delicate and delicious flavor. Up to 2 inches across. An old European heirloom variety. 18–24" tall. Separate the individual seedlings and plant them 4–6" apart in trenches. Gradually fill in the trench as they grow to promote a long, blanched stalk. When leeks are planted early enough in the fall, they will start to size up in early winter, so can be harvested all winter long.

Lettuce: Blushed Butter Cos, OP
Tender, semi-romaine type with a buttery texture, green leaves blushed with red. 5–7" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Lettuce: Buttercrunch, OP
Loose butterheads with sweet, crisp, thick, delicious leaves. 5–7" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Lettuce: Cardinale, OP
Thick, crisp and succulent dark red leaves on extremely heat resistant crispheads. Beautiful and tasty. 6–8" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Lettuce: Dragoon, OP
Compact mini green romaine heads are crisp and dense. Bolting and tip burn tolerant. 5–7" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Lettuce: Jericho, OP
Light green romaine. Fast growing, tolerant to heat and tip burn. 6–8" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Lettuce: Nevada OP
Large, handsome, heavy, heat tolerant heads with an outstanding juicy nutty flavor. 6–8" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Lettuce: Queen of Crunch, OP
Crunchy, juicy green leaves can be harvested individually or as the entire head. Heat tolerant and sturdy, this crisphead lettuce is beautiful in the garden. 6–8" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Lettuce: Red Cross, OP
Heat tolerant red butterhead is also resistant to downy mildew. 5–7" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Lettuce: Reine des Glaces, OP
Crisp emerald green leaves with lacy edges enclose a juicy light green heart of these crispheads. Beautiful and delicious. 6–8" tall. Plant 10–12" apart.

Lettuce: Salad Bowl Blend, OP
Sweet red and green oak leaf lettuces make a delicious heat tolerant blend. Plant closely (2–4") for cut and come again harvesting or space apart 8–10" for heads.

Lettuce: Truchas, OP
Compact, dark red mini romaine heads are crisp and delicious. Mildew and virus resistant. 6–8" tall. Plant 6" apart.

Lettuce: Yugoslavian Red, OP
Tender red butterheads are beautiful and flavorful. 6–8" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Mâche: Gala, OP
Gourmet European salad green. Small, low-growing rosettes of delicate, tender leaves, nutty flavor. Pick individual leaves or harvest entire head. 4–6" tall, plant 4–6" apart.

Mustard: Mixed
Tasty and ornamental mix of of Spicy Green, Ruby Streaks, Red Giant, and Mizuna mustards. 12–15" tall. Plant 6–12" apart.

Peas: Mammoth Melting Sugar (snow pea), OP
Heirloom variety with sweet 4–5" long flat pods are borne on vigorous vines. 4–5' tall. Plant 3–4" apart.

Peas: Super Sugar Snap, OP
Vigorous vines yield heavy crop of delicious, edible-podded sugar snap peas. Healthy and mildew resistant. Thick, juicy pods are great raw or cooked. 5–6' tall. Plant 3–4" apart.

Spinach: Oriental Giant, Hybrid
Giant arrowhead-shaped leaves are sweet and crisp, on long stems held high off the ground. Vigorous plants will produce all winter long. 18–24" tall. Plant 8–10" apart.

Spinach: Summer Perfection, Hybrid
New Dutch variety is heat tolerant for a long harvest period. Upright green leaves are crunchy and sweet. 4–6" tall. Plant 5–6" apart.

Turnip: Scarlet Ohno Revival, OP
Smooth scarlet turnips in rounded to flattened shape. Glossy green leaves have pink to red stems. 10–12" tall. Plant 2–4" apart.

Turnip: White Hakurei, Hybrid
Smooth, crisp white turnips, excellent for eating raw or lightly cooked. Greens are smooth and tender. Best harvested young, at 2" or smaller. Plant 2" apart.

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