- Choose a sunny location. Most vegetables need at least 6–8 hours of sun. Some leafy greens and root vegetables can take a little shade, but most (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) need full sun.
- Prepare the soil well. Thoroughly remove all weeds, dig to loosen the soil, and amend with compost and fertilizer as needed.
- Plant vegetables at the right time. See our Vegetable Planting Chart to choose the right vegetables for the time and season.
- Keep vegetables well watered. Seedlings may need extra to get established. Don't overwater, but be sure give them enough so they grow well and are productive.
See Vegetable Garden Basics for more details. For information on a specific vegetable, check the individual vegetable pages listed below.
When to plant
Here in Santa Clara County we can grow vegetables year round. Our Vegetable Planting Chart gives month-by-month planting times for warm and cool season vegetables to help you make full use of your vegetable garden. The chart includes when to transplant seedlings, when to plant seeds directly in the ground, and when to start seeds if you are growing your own transplants.
These are vegetables that grow best in the summer (April–September) and generally can't tolerate temperatures below about 50° F. Perennial vegetables that produce in the summer are included here.
These are vegetables that grow best in the fall, winter, and early spring (September–April). Some of these can be grown in the summer as well, with some care.
Seasonal plant sales
Be sure to put our popular Spring Garden Market and Fall Garden Markets on your calendar. We sell thousands of vegetable seedlings at these markets, including many unusual or heirloom varieties. It's a great chance to talk to UC Master Gardeners and get your questions answered, plus the sales support our volunteer program. Sign up for our Tips & Events newsletter to receive a monthly email of seasonal gardening tips and a list of our upcoming talks, courses, and plant sales like these.