This post is a part of a series about the things I usually do/sow/harvest in my garden in a given month. I post at the beginning of each month and at the end of each month I check in to let you know how the month went in our garden(s). I am gardening in the eastern part of the Netherlands, in a cool temperate climate, roughly zone 7. Your sowing times might be somewhat different depending on your local climate.
May to do list
Beans, sweet corn, beetroot, kohlrabi, chard, carrots, fennel, bunching onions, edamame soya, quinoa, pumpkins & winter squashes, zucchini
Sowing in a nurserybed (to transplant later):
winterbroccoli, kale, broccoli, cauliflower
tomatoes, pumpkins and winter squashes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants, sweet corn
asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, chard, leaf mustards and Asian greens, rocket, spinach, lettuce (cut-and come-again)
Thin out carrots, onions, beetroot, parsnips
Mulch all beds
Support peas and broad beans
Put up nets over strawberries and soft fruit bushes
Weed as necessary
Protect potatoes from late frosts as necessary
Almost anything can be sown in May but it’s good to remember that you don’t want a glut later. It’s better to sow a little and often than a lot in one go. Some large plants like kale and cauliflower that will eventually take a lot of space are better sown either in modules or in a nursery bed. They can be transplanted into a permanent position later, after something else was harvested. I like to plant winter kale after garlic and other onions, because the antifungal properties of garlic help to prevent the dreaded clubroot. Kale can also be planted between tomatoes, which is a good way to save space and also a great way to confuse pests. After the tomatoes are cleared, the kale will take over the bed and keep producing throughout the winter.
The fun of annual vegetable growing is that every year you can try different things and this year I want to try growing quinoa and edamame soya.
Mid May is the magical date after which no more frosts are to be expected and tender vegetables can safely be planted out. In reality, there are seldom frosts at least a week before this date. But because the nights are often still pretty cool, even though the tomatoes would probably not die if we planted them out earlier, they would not really grow either. Nothing is won by planting too early, so I continue to harden them off and plant out in the second half of the month. Peppers and eggplants need even more warmth to thrive, so I wait with planting these till the end of the month, when the nights are warm too.
It is also time to put nets over strawberries and put up our fancy fruit cages. Gooseberries especially are often eaten by birds even before they are remotely ripe.
I will also try to make sure that by the end of the month all the vegetable beds are mulched because mulch is the key to low maintenance gardening.