There are plenty of fruits and vegetables to plant in May, as the soil warms up and the danger of frost should be mostly passed.
What to plant in May: Vegetables
After enriching your soil with lots of good organic matter, plant out your pumpkins, marrows, courgettes and other squashes. Make sure you give the tender young plants plenty of water and if there are any late frosts about, cover them with cloches. You’ll also need to do a bit of slug protection.
Young leeks and any remaining seed potatoes can go in by the end of the month, along with pepper, aubergines and chillis. These will need to be hardened off first and if temperatures dip, it’s wise to keep them under cloches. The same applies to cucumbers.
Make sure you keep planting out your salad leaves on a rotational basis to avoid a glut and use bottles to make homemade cloches to ward against both slugs and frost. Peas can also be transplanted regularly, with stakes to climb up and nets to guard against birds.
Sweetcorn seedlings can go in the ground now, sown in blocks rather than rows to facilitate fertilisation. You may need to protect them with cloches.
If you want to propagate artichokes you will need to divide babies from established plants and plant them out now, or you’ll miss the boat. Among other more exotic fare, Florence fennel, celeriac and kohl rabi seedlings can be hardened off before planting out.
If we’re lucky enough to get a mild month, brassicas can go in. Remember these take up a lot of space and like beds with firmly packed soil. If cabbage root flies are likely to be a problem, use brassica collars.
If you’re desperate to get your young tomatoes out, use bottle cloches but really you’re best to wait until next month for optimum growing conditions.
What to plant in May: Fruit
What to plant in May on the fruit front is a bit more tricky than with vegetables. If you’ve been growing rhubarb from seed indoors during April, you can put the young plants out this month and you can carry on strawberry planting. If you have Alpine varieties you would like to fruit this summer, you will need to get them in this month.
Otherwise, May is also a good month to plant out your herbs, being careful to cover more tender varieties at night, particularly basil.