Region Description: Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

Zone Map
USDA Hardiness Zones
7 to 9
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AHS Heat Zones
5 to 8
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Sunset Zones
7 to 17
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Major Cities

Bakersfield CA, Chico CA, Fresno CA, Modesto CA, Oakland CA, Redding CA, Sacramento CA, San Francisco CA, San Jose CA, San Luis Obispo CA, Santa Cruz CA, Santa Rosa CA

The Region

The Northern California Coastal and Inland Valleys points north to Mendocino, inland through the Sacramento Valley at Redding to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It follows the Central Valley south to Bakersfield, then points west to the coast at Point Conception.

The Climate

This region has two distinct areas; those affected by the coastal fog, and the dry inland and mountain areas. The coast features cool days and nights with minor fluctuation in temperatures from winter to summer. Summers are dry from March to November and may often have fogs keeping the temperatures cool, while winters feature rainstorms from November to March, and rarely receive a frost. Coastal mountain valleys are warmer and cooler than the coast, but still are moderated by fog in summer and warm coastal temperatures in winter. The coast and coastal mountain valleys receive 40 to 60 inches of rainfall on average a year. Their growing season ranges from mid February to late November, depending on your location. Inland areas are drier (10 to 20 inches of average rainfall a year), hotter in summer, and colder in winter.

The Growing Season

In the subtropical southern part of the region such as San Luis Obispo, the growing season is continuous and perfectly suited to growing everything from tomatoes to bougainvillea. The northern parts of the coast are consistently cooler and more suited to plantings such as fuchsias and begonias. The coastal mountain valleys such as Sonoma can drop below freezing in the winter, but heat up to well over 100 degrees F. during the summer months. These areas are famous for their vegetables such as lettuce and fruits such as grapes and strawberries. Further inland the Central Valley features a sunny, long (9 to 10 months), growing season with temperatures around 100F in summer and into the 20Fs in winter. In southern parts of the valley such as Bakersfield and Fresno are not affected by the cooling marine influence, but are in the thermal belt, meaning that cold air flows from higher elevations into the low lying valleys. This area is great for many growing fruits, from apples to oranges. Trees and shrubs range from the subtropical oleander and acacias along the coast to the redwoods and pines in the valleys to the oaks and in drier valleys.

View this week's Regional Report for
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys »


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