Sow and grow in May


Sow and grow in May

May is the month of fecundity; therefore, it is time to find your trowel and fork and get busy in the garden. Here is a guide to what to grow in May.

What to sow in May: flowers

It is definitely getting warmer out there but it is safer to start off your seedlings indoors until any risk of frost has passed. May is the time for planting a number of flowers, including larkspur – an annual that is an easy alternative to delphiniums if you have struggled with these. Start your salvia off indoors for colourful summer bedding later on and start your biennials in seed trays now for later transplanting. Wallflowers, sweet williams and foxgloves sown now will flower next year.

Plant some perennials in seed trays now to flower next year and they will keep coming back for years to come – think primulas, aquilegias, lupins and delphiniums.

There are some hardier flowers that can be sown directly outdoors in May – sunflowers, nasturtiums, scabious, cornflowers and poppies can all go straight in the ground. Go for some clarkias, linarias and candytuft for some easy summer colour, while limnanthes in your veggie plot will help to bring in beneficial insects.

What to sow in May: fruit and vegetables

Like flowers, some fruit and veg are best started indoors. Sweetcorn should be on your list of what to grow in May. Start off with at least 12 seeds in modules indoors, then plant out in grid formation to aid pollination after the danger of frost has passed.

Basil likes warmth and should be sown in pots indoors. Perennial herbs such as lemon balm, thyme, sage and rosemary should go in under cover now.

Pumpkins, squash, marrows and courgettes should be started off under cover; however, don’t overdo it or you could find yourself eating them with every meal for weeks this summer! Sow French and runner beans and cucumber and gherkin seeds individually in modules for planting out later.

You can start off cauliflower seeds under a cloche or cold frame, ensuring that the soil is kept moist.

You can also sow some fruit and vegetables directly into the ground this month. Beetroot seeds like space, so sow them thinly into the ground. The same applies to cabbages, but get them netted early or cabbage white butterflies will lay eggs on the leaves. Carrots can be planted in rows and protected from carrot fly with a layer of fleece or Enviromesh.

Kohlrabi is a more unusual choice and will be ready in just eight weeks if you sow it outside now.

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