The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperatures recorded from 1976-2005. It is divided into 26 zones.
The 2012 map is now available as an interactive GIS-based map. You can simply type in your ZIP Code to find the hardiness zone for your area.
There’s zillions of gardening books at our local library, here are a few of the most up-t0-date.
California gardener’s resource: all you need to know to plan, plant, and maintain a California garden by Bruce and Sharon Asakawa (2009)
Edible gardening for California by Jennifer Beaver and Alison Beck (2010)
How to grow more vegetables: (and fruits, nuts, berries, grains, and other crops) than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine by John Jeavons (2012)
The new Sunset western garden book: the ultimate gardening guide / edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel (2012)
Herb gardening from the ground up : everything you need to know to grow your favorite herbs by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan (2012)
What’s wrong with my vegetable garden?: 100% organic solutions for all your vegetables, from artichokes to zucchini by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth (2011)