Perennials are plants that live for several years. Annuals are plants that live only one year. Biennials live for 2 years; 1st year they grow their stems and leaves, 2nd year they grow their flowers and produce seeds.
Since I live in Southern California too I can give you and idea what to grow. Right now I have carrots, radish, beets, lettuce, kale, chard, cilantro, parsley, garlic, arugula, and chives in the ground.
I also have 1 tomato plant, cucumbers, 2 bell pepper plants, 1 serrano pepper plant, bush beans, and 2 leftover Basil plants. I also have several perennials like rosemary, sage, 2 different mints, lavender, yarrow etc.
The peppers are leftover from Spring planting but I am going to let them overwinter and see what happens. As of right now they are producing amazing.
I planted the cucumbers, tomato, and beans kinda late but it is an experiment. Next year I think with the right planning it will go better. I can tell the cooler weather and shorter days are affecting the growth. The cucumbers and tomato are still small. I planted them 1st week of September by seed. There is some flowers on the tomato plant now, but the cucumbers barely have 2-3 leaves on them. Supposedly going to mature in around 55 days, same thing with the beans. I don;t know how much longer the Basil will live, it was leftover from Spring. One I am leaving to flower which it is doing now and the other I am still trimming from.
I also planted some Spinach seeds but they never sprouted. I planted some Marigold flowers and nasturtium flowers and they are growing pretty good, I am surprised the marigolds are starting to produce flowers right now. It is all an experiment though to see how and what grows.