Seeds to sow in May

Veg Seeds To Sow In May

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May beckons in sunny, warmer days and nights and lots and lots of sowing. However, it is easy to get carried away, particularly with outdoor sowing.

With that in mind, here are some veg seeds to sow in May, both undercover and outdoors.

Sow Undercover

Runner Beans

I still like to sow my runner beans in the greenhouse in May, although it is possible to sow them outdoors now. When sown in the greenhouse, you do give them a little headstart, meaning a quicker crop for you!

I sow a single seed per module using multipurpose compost in a tray or root trainer.

What I Grow

Most runner beans are going to grow tall, but dwarf varities are available
Runner beans

French Beans

I like to grow dwarf, bushy French beans. Dwarf beans are quick to grow and produce beans, and they can be ready in just a couple of months.

They don’t crop for as long as climbing French beans, however. So I like to succession sow throughout spring and summer, sowing a new batch every few weeks.

I sow a single seed per module using multipurpose compost in a tray or root trainer.

What I Grow

French Beans
French Beans

Beetroot

Many people will say you can direct sow beetroot outside now, and you probably can. But I have found I don’t have much success; the soil is still a little cold here in Lancashire.

So instead, I sow in the greenhouse in a module tray. I sow a single seed per module but don’t thin the resulting seedlings. (each beetroot seed actually contains more than one seed!). I plant these little mini clumps together and let them grow.

What I Grow

Regular and Golden Beetroot
Regular and Golden Beetroot

Cauliflower

I sow in small modules, thin to one seed per module. I grow them like this in the greenhouse before transplanting them into larger posts (still in the greenhouse).

Before finally planting them outdoors when they are well-established plants.

What I Grow

Cauliflower
Cauliflower

Cabbage

I sow in small modules, thin to one seed per module. I grow them like this in the greenhouse before transplanting them into larger posts (still in the greenhouse).

Before finally planting them outdoors when they are well-established plants.

You can also direct sow outdoors at this time, but young seedlings are very vulnerable to pest damage.

What I Grow

Cabbage
Cabbage

Sweetcorn

I have my sweetcorn sown already, but you can still sow in May. You could even sow outdoors, but they will start much quicker when sown undercover.

With our season already being short for sweetcorn in the UK, I think getting them off to the best possible start is a great idea.

I sow in a root trainer, one seed per module, as this allows for extra easy transplanting.

What I Grow

Sweetcorn in a raised bed
Sweetcorn in a raised bed

Cucumber

Again this is another crop I have already sown in April, but if you are a little late, don’t worry, they can still be sown now.

Sow in a greenhouse or indoors to get them off to a quick start. As cucumbers quickly turn into large seedlings, I sow them into pots straight away rather than module trays.

One seed per pot using multi-purpose compost.

What I Grow

Grow Lots of Cucumbers
Cucumbers

Sow Undercover or Outdoors

Brussel Sprouts

Now is your last chance to sow Brussels for Christmas time!

What I Grow

Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts

Carrots

Direct sow carrot seeds in shallow drills outdoors. Thin when seedlings start to appear, don’t leave thinned seedlings around, as they can attract carrot flies.

What I Grow

Nice Healthy Carrots
Nice Healthy Carrots

Kale

I still sow my Kale in small modules in the greenhouse, but you can also directly sow it outdoors if you prefer.

If sowing outside, then sow into shallow drills roughly 1cm deep. Thin seedlings to 15cm apart.

What I Grow

Siberian Kale
Siberian Kale

Peas

Due to the seed size, peas are simpler to sow than a lot of vegetables.

You can sow them in the greenhouse or outside in May.

Sow into a shallow trench, 2-3cm deep. Keep each seed 5-10cm apart and leave 20-30cm between rows.

What I Grow

Young Pea Seedlings
Young Pea Seedlings

Spinach

Spinach actually germinates better in cold soil, so you are best off sowing outdoors. I still sow in a module tray but leave it outside.

I then transplant my seedlings into the soil where they are to grow. This helps protect the young seedlings from pests like slugs.

What I Grow

Spinach
Spinach

Swedes

Sowing the seeds directly into the soil where they are to grow is recommended, rather than starting them off indoors and transplanting them later. This is because Swedes have a long taproot that can be easily damaged during transplanting, leading to stunted growth and poor yields.

When sowing your swede seeds, make a shallow drill about 2cm (¾in) deep and sow the seeds thinly. Space rows 38cm (15in) apart to allow enough room for the plants to grow.

Learn more in my Step-By-Step guide to growing Swede.

What I Grow

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is not the best for transplanting, so it is advised to sow it where it is to grow.

Sow into shallow drills 2cm deep. Space seeds roughly 10-15cm apart and leave plenty of room 30cm or more between rows.

What I Grow

Turnips

When sowing outdoors, I like to sow in shallow drills, just a couple of cm deep. Space your rows 20-25cm apart. When seedlings start developing true leaves, then thin them to roughly 10cm apart.

Learn more in my How to grow turnips guide.

What I Grow

Step by step turnips
Turnips

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