What to Plant Now: December in the Southwest Gardening Region

By Staff
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WHAT TO PLANT NOW
December in the

Southwest Gardening Region

Stay on Schedule

Vegetable planting times can change fast in a Southwest garden, so make sure you’re in the right month. Click on the current month below to learn more about what to plant now, anytime. 

INSERT MONTHLY HYPERLINK LIST

Top Crops for the Southwest Gardening Region

Successful Southwest gardeners emphasize crops that naturally grow well, which was clearly shown in our National Survey of Most Productive Garden Crops. Choose your favorites from the list below. These crops received the highest ratings from fellow organic vegetable gardeners in the Southwest. Additional options found on the Recommended Crops list are sorted by plant family to make it easier to plan effective rotations.

Top 10 Crops: Southwest Region

1. Potato
2. Garlic
3. Cherry tomato
4. Bulb onion
5. Slicing tomato
6. Carrot
7. Summer squash
8. Snow/snap pea
9. Paste tomato
10. Sweet pepper

Other Highly Recommended Crops:

Cabbage family: Kale, kohlrabi

Cucumber family: Cucumberpumpkin, winter squash

Leafy greens: Arugula, chard, Chinese cabbage, mache, lettuce, pac choi, spinach

Legumes:  Dry soup beans, edamame, fava bean, snap beans, snow/snap and shell peas, Southern peas

Root crops:Beetradish, rutabaga, shallot, sunchoke, sweet potato

Tomato family: Eggplant, peppers (all types), tomatillo

Miscellaneous: Bulb fennel,leek, okra, rhubarb, scallions

December Vegetable Planting Chart, Southwest

VEGETABLES

Sow Indoors  

Sow Outdoors 

Transplant

Low Elevations Only

Artichoke, globe

 XXX XXX
Asian greens XXX XXX
Asparagus XXX XXX

Beet

XXX

XXX
Broccoli XXX XXX
Cabbage XXX XXX

Carrot

XXX

XXX

Chard

XXX

 XXX  XXX XXX
Collards XXX XXX
Endive

XXX XXX
Fennel, bulb

XXX

XXX XXX
Kohlrabi XXX XXX
Leek XXX XXX XXX XXX
Lettuce XXX XXX XXX
Mustard XXX XXX
Onion, bulb XXX
Peas (snow, shell, snap) XXX
Potatoes XXX XXX

Radishes

XXX

Rutabaga XXX XXX

Scallion (green onion)

XXX

XXX

XXX

Spinach

XXX

XXX

XXX
Turnip

XXX

XXX

CULINARY HERBS

Sow Indoors  

Sow Outdoors 

Transplant

Low Elevations Only

Chives

XXX XXX XXX

Cilantro

XXX XXX

Fennel, leaf

XXX 

XXX
Horseradish XXX

Marjoram

 XXX

XXX

Parsley

XXX

 XXX

XXX

Rosemary

XXX  XXX

Sage

XXX  XXX

Savory, summer

 XXX

XXX

Thyme

XXX XXX

Good Reading About the Southwest Gardening Region

The Mother Earth News online archives include three decades of homestead and gardening reports from the Southwest gardening region, including these neat stories: 

Best Tomatoes for the Southwest, January 2010

Phoenix Custom Chicken Coops, December 2009 (online)

The Southwest, March 1990

Chino Valley Changes, January 1987

Mule Train Nomads, July 1979

Water in the Desert,  June 2004

Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of

Brisbee, Arizona, August 2008

San Luis Obispo, California, August 2008

Dixon, New Mexico, August 2007

Silver City, New Mexico, October 2009

Yavapai County, January 1987

Resources for the Southwest Gardening Region

Climate factors such as elevation or distance from the sea will influence when to plant what. These links will help you find your best planting dates, starting with extension service recommendations.

Home Vegetable Gardening in New Mexico, New Mexico State University 

Vegetable Planting Guide, Arizona State University (click to your zone to find exact planting dates) 

Vegetable Planting Guide, San Diego (California) County Extension Service 

Sustainable Agriculture in Arizona. PDF from University of Arizona 

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, University of California 

California Certified Organic Farmers, Santa Cruz, California 

Farm to Table, Santa Fe, New Mexico