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What Veggies to Plant in May

What veggies to plant in May

May is a great time to direct sow vegetable seeds for summer. While you may have started seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants indoors 4-8 weeks ago, you likely still have them growing indoors until it has warmed up to 50-60˚F at night consistently. But did you know that there are still lots of vegetable seeds you can still plant now in May and June?

Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash and Pumpkins
Cucumbers, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe and watermelons grow very quickly and you can sow their seeds directly in the garden in mid-May to June. You can also start these seeds indoors in pots to get them started a little early, but make sure to transplant them when they are still small before they get root bound as they don't like to have their roots disturbed. We find it's best to direct sow them in the garden as it's easier, and the plants usually do better than indoor started transplants anyway. The only reason not to do this is if you have seedling-eating insects like cutworms that may like to eat baby cucumber seedlings as they do often here in the West . We typically sow these seeds repeatedly over a period of a couple weeks so that if a few get eaten, some will survive. Or, you can start them in pots – just make sure to transplant once they get their first set of true leaves so that they don't get root bound.

Cilantro
Cilantro LOVES the cooler weather of May and spring, and even tolerates light frosts well. We like to plant cilantro seeds often to keep a constant supply of cilantro to use in the kitchen. Cilantro grows lots of leaves in the early cool spring months, but tends to flower when the warmer weather arrives. But, don't despair if they bloom, you can enjoy the fragrant delicate lacey blooms along with pollinators, and then let the seeds develop on the plant for an endless supply of seeds to sow continually to keep the cilantro coming. Did you know that the entire plant is edible?  Yes, even the stems and flowers can be added to tacos, salads, and salsa. That's right, you can eat cilantro flowers. When cilantro plants bolt with blooms, they produce seeds which are known as coriander which are also useful in the kitchen! You can also freeze an abundance of cilantro in May/June to use later in summer when it may be harder to keep it growing due to the hot temperatures (coincidentally right when peppers and tomatoes start coming in for salsas and pico-de-gallo  which is when you want cilantro most!)

Lettuce
Little Gem Lettuce is fast growing and perfect to direct sow in the garden or pots in May. Little Gem is a cross between butterhead and romaine, giving it the unique trait of having romaine’s crunch with the sweetness and small size of a butterhead. It grows 8" high producing a sweet and compact heart that is the perfect size for individual salads and sandwiches. Lettuce is a cool-weather crop and is best grown in spring and fall. Little Gem stands up well to summer heat and is slow to bolt.

Peas
Peas are also great to plant in the cool months of early spring, they do best with cooler temperatures and are a great way to enjoy fresh-picked peas long before the peppers and tomatoes of summer come.

Radishes

Our super-easy-to-grow Cherry Belle Radish is one of the earliest radishes to mature in spring, and they're perfect to plant in May! The round, smooth, scarlet 1" roots have crisp, tender flesh that are perfect for fresh eating all season. Their attractive bright red color make them a desirable addition to the garden. Sow them directly outdoors in the garden in May through summer. Radishes grow very quickly, so you can harvest in just 22-30 days after sowing. It's good to sow more Radish seeds every 2 weeks for a continual harvest of these spicy red jewels all summer long. They are great to tuck in amongst your peppers and tomatoes and other veggies. Crunchy raw radishes are delicious eaten whole from the garden or chopped and added to salads, and sandwiches. The radish tops are also completely edible, and they can be cooked like any other greens or the more tender young leaves can be used fresh in salads.


Beans
Beans are great to direct sow in the garden in the West in mid to late May.  They, too, can be eaten when very young by insects like cutworms, so if you have trouble with those, you can start beans in pots and then transplant once they get their first set of true leaves. Try planting pole beans with pumpkins or squash and corn for a tried-and-true three sisters garden! Bush beans also make great companion plants among your pepper plants as all beans fix nitrogen and improve the soil and provide vegetation to help protect peppers from sunscald.

Corn
Corn is easy to grow and can be direct seeded in the garden. We highly recommend planting The Three Sisters of Native American garden with corn, beans, and squash, is an ancient companion plant trio used by various tribes throughout North America. You can also plant Sunflowers instead of corn which also works well in a three sisters garden. This system of companion planting allows the three different plants to help each other by maximizing growing conditions for one another. The corn or sunflowers, tall and firm, grow in the center of a circular bed and serves as a support for climbing pole beans. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil, important for nitrogen-loving, heavy-feeding corn. The squash surrounds the corn and beans and covers the ground, serving to hold moisture in the soil.

Beets
Beets are a great addition to any garden with their striking dark-red flesh with a deep, sweet flavor. They grow perfectly round to 3" in diameter and can also be harvested early for smaller baby beets. They are a colorful, cool-season crop that grows well in the cooler temperatures of spring in May and June.

Spinach
Spinach is also a great green to plant in May! Our Bloomsdale Spinach has thick, crinkly, dark green leaves that have a rich nutty flavor. It grows quickly and handles hot weather better than other varieties so if you plant it in May you can enjoy spinach in the early summer months. Spinach is easy to grow and tastes great fresh or cooked.

Basil
Basil is a fast grower, and you may have some luck direct seeding it in your garden in late May if the weather is warm and you can keep them moist, or you can start it indoors and transplant outside once all chance of frost has passed. We love planting Basil with our Tomatoes and Peppers as it's a great companion plant and companion in the kitchen, too!

Green Onions
White Lisbon Bunching Onion is a hardy, mild-flavored, fast-growing onion that does not form a bulb. They can grow 12" long with white stalks and green tops. This variety is very dependable because it thrives in a wide range of soils, is heat and cold tolerant, and can be sown successively throughout the season. May is a great time to sow these so you'll have lots of green onions for salsas and pico-de-gallo come summer. 

Oregano
Plant oregano in May and enjoy it for years to come! This perennial herb is perfect for pairing with tomatoes and peppers to make sauces. Our Greek Oregano is True oregano and savored for its strong aroma and spicy intense flavor. With its stronger, more aromatic flavor and scent it is one of the most important herbs of Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking. The flavor stands up to bold flavors like tomatoes, onion, and garlic. At maturity, this perennial reaches 18 inches tall and wide, and will grow bigger every year so you'll have an endless supply. You can also cut it and let it hang dry to crush and use as an herb in the kitchen all year round.

Cabbage
Brunswick cabbage is a cold-hardy fall/winter variety that is also heat resistant. It's perfect to plant in May! It has good flavor fresh and is a favorite for making sauerkraut. The solid heads can weigh 6-10 lbs. These are also delicious in our Spicy Cabbage Salsa Recipe!

Carrots
We think carrots are the perfect pairing for habaneros to make hot sauces... they add sweetness and flavor that can't be beat in an Habanero hot sauce! Our carrot seeds are super easy to grow, and can be planted directly into the garden soil and are easy to grow. But there is a secret to growing carrots and getting the seeds to germinate. If you have problems with carrots in your garden (or at least starting the seeds), use the Carrot Board Trick »

Marigolds
Our Marigold seeds grow into bushy beautiful plants that bloom in bright yellow and orange. It is very hardy and attracts beneficial insects. Plant outside 2 weeks before the last frost or start indoors, so they're perfect to start in May! Marigold flowers are edible and make beautiful presentations on plates and when threaded onto long strings. The gorgeous, abundant flowers produce a natural orange dye, earning them the moniker: “poor man's saffron.” They are also great for pollinators, and the roots and stems of marigolds emit a chemical that may suppress the population of root-knot nematodes, tiny soilborne worms that feed on the roots of ornamental plants and vegetables like tomatoes, so we grow them with our tomatoes every year.

Nasturtium
Our Nasturtium Jewel Mix produces edible 2" double blooms in jewel tones of light yellow, orange, and deep red. This hardy annual will flower all summer long with bright flowers that are held well above the foliage for an impressive color display. The flowers and foliage are edible too! The circular deep green leaves that have light-colored veins radiating from the center and taste peppery and fresh when added to salads. You can even pickle the immature seeds – they taste like capers when pickled! Direct sow Nasturtium seeds in the garden in late May for lots of beautiful edible plants to enjoy all summer long.

Sunflowers

Our mammoth Grey Striped Sunflower produces nutritious white and grey-striped seeds and are perfect for planting in May! The massive bright yellow blooms have feathery petals and large chocolate brown centers full of seeds. Thin-shelled, striped seeds are plump and meaty with high oil content. Goldfinches and humans alike can't get enough of them. Plants grow quickly to 6-12' tall and produce flowers that range from 10-12″ across.These are also perfect for planting a Three Sisters garden with beans, and pumpkins or squash. 

Happy growing!! 
























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