In Zone 9 we have the pleasure of growing vegetable gardens all year round. This can cause a lot of confusion for new gardeners or gardeners from further north. The fact that pretty much all the gardening books explain gardening from a further north view and don't mention our southern zone view, makes the confusion that much worse.
You have to think in reverse, and it requires a little math.
- Instead of the last frost of winter, think first frost of winter.
- Instead of planting after danger of the last frost, think harvesting before danger of the first frost.
- Instead of worrying about heat and shade, think cold and wrapping.
You can plant seeds of all your plants directly in the ground at the appropriate time, BUT, you run some risks if you do, especially with the warm weather plants.
- Seeds don't germinate and you have to plant again, maybe several times
- Seedlings get destroyed or die
- You may only have a few seeds of a certain variety, or not commonly available locally, or rare seeds, or very expensive seeds that need to be nurtured
- Planting bed isn't ready yet
- Run out of time for plants or fruit to mature before temperatures and day length turn too cold and too short