Planting your crops outside during May

May is considered a beautiful month in gardening with garden centres offering particularly tempting plants to buy. The threat of frost is nearly gone and now is the time to sow the seeds of your favourite spring plants. To help inspire you, here are some ideas about what you should plant in the beautiful month of May in the UK:

Sprouts, Cauliflowers, Cabbages and Broccoli

If you want your Brussels sprouts to be ready by December, then this is the month to sow a few seeds. The same applies to cabbages and cauliflowers. Depending on the weather, you can sow them indoors or outdoors. You can also sow some of them in a temporary seedbed and then transplant them later in the year when there’s space. Calabrese and sprouting broccoli, in fact, can be sowed right until July.

Cucumbers, Chillies and Peppers

It’s always a good idea to sow your peppers and chillies indoors because seeds have a tendency not to germinate outdoors, even if it’s May. On the other hand, cucumbers will do just fine when sown outdoors in a cold frame or ideally under a cloche.

Leafy Vegetables

You can continue to sow Swiss chard, spinach and kale as well as Oriental leaves like mustard greens, Chinese broccoli, mizuna, mibuna and chop suey greens. You can easily sow them outdoors although you should provide them with adequate cover on those cold nights, which May can bring about every now and then.

Peas and Herbs

Maincrop peas, snap peas and mangetouts can be sown outdoors but you’ll need to protect the seedlings with nets or cloches, if necessary. Seeds of herbs like chervil, dill, parsley, lovage, coriander and sorrel can be sown in May – although with tender or half-hardy young plants like basil, you’ll need to provide them with extra protection using a cloche.

French and Runner Beans

You can sow these indoors if the weather is still cold or generally unpredictable. However, if there are no visible traces of frost and the soil has adequately warmed up, you can sow them outdoors. Protect the young seedlings with cloches if need be.

Kohl Rabi and Florence Fennel

Sow seeds of each outdoors if you like – but with fennel you need to be particularly careful as it demands really warm soil – warm enough for the seeds to germinate properly. When the full-fledged summer season arrives, you can reserve some of the seeds for a second batch.

Root Vegetables

Turnips, swedes, beetroot, carrots, you name it. You can safely sow these outdoors. Be careful with beetroot though as they may need protection through cloches – that is, if the spring weather conditions are not quite ideal with the soil still being damp and cold.

Lettuces and a Variety of Salad Crops

Go ahead and sow as much rocket, lettuce, land cress, corn salad, summer purslane other common salad leaves as you like but sow them outdoors for best results. As with the other May plantations, cover them up if the weather is cold.
Looking for more ways to beautify your garden this May? Take a look at our Raised Garden Beds for crafty ideas.