Alicia DeVore

Is too late to plant vegetables for spring and summer in May? I’m here to tell you that you are not too late to plant depending on the temperatures of where you live.

May is the perfect time to get your garden growing whether your temperatures are cool between 35-75 degrees or warming up above 75 degrees. By choosing the right crops for the best times of the season, you can start planting your garden.

Want to start your veggie garden off, right? Combine your local temperature with our list of May planting options and 10-minute tasks to ensure a bountiful harvest. Get started now with our tips for May gardening tasks.

Here are 5 easy May Garden tasks in 10 minutes a day to complete to start your summer garden going now.

Check Monthly Temperature Averages

Not too late to plant in May.

  1. Check your local weather forecast: Your local weather forecast should give you an idea of what temperatures to expect in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to check both daytime and nighttime temperatures, as some crops may not tolerate cool nighttime temperatures.

  2. Use a soil thermometer: Soil temperature is an important factor to consider when planting vegetables.

  3. Most summer veggies prefer soil temperatures between 60°F and 70°F. You can use a soil thermometer to determine the temperature of your garden soil. Check the temperature a few inches below the surface, where your seeds will be planted.

When Do I Plant Cool Season Crops?

Cool-season crops are those that can tolerate frost and cooler temperatures. Some common crops include lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. The best time to plant these crops in your veggie garden depends on your location and your climate zone.

In general, they should be planted in early spring, once the soil has thawed and warmed up a bit. This is usually around mid to late March, but again, it depends on where you live.

It’s important to keep in mind that these crops don’t like hot weather, so you’ll want to harvest them before the temperatures start to rise in the summer.

What are Cool Season Crops to Plant in Late Spring?

Here are some crops that you can plant:

  1. Lettuce – Lettuce is a fast-growing, easy-to-grow crop that is perfect for late spring planting. There are many different varieties to choose from, from butterhead to romaine to spinach.

  2. Kale – Kale is a hardy green that can grow in cooler temperatures. It’s packed with vitamins and other nutrients, and can be used in salads, smoothies, and more.

  3. Radishes – Radishes are a fast-growing crop that are perfect for planting. They’re easy to grow and add a bright pop of color to your garden.

When planting crops in late spring, pay attention to your local weather forecast for any potential heat waves or sudden cold snaps and your average last frost date especially when you have planted out tender perennials. What to plant in May will depend on your average temperatures.

When Do I Plant Warm and Hot Season Crops?

Warm and hot season crops are those that require warm soil and warm air temperatures. These crops include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, and squash.

The best time to plant these crops in your veggie garden depends on your location but in general, warm and hot season crops should be planted 6-8 weeks after last frost.

The last frost date is the date after which there is a low chance of frost occurring in your area.

In most areas, warm season crops can be planted in early summer, once the soil has warmed up to at least 60°F or 16°C.

Hot season crops, such as beans, squash, and okra can be planted a bit later than warm season crops. These hot weather crops prefer warmer soil temperatures of around 70°F or 21°C.

What are some Warm and Hot Season Vegetables to Plant in Late Spring?

What to plant in May? This month it is a great time to plant warm and hot season crops, provided that your area has warmed up enough summer harvest them after the last frost.

Here are some warm and hot seasoned vegetables to plant in May:

  1. Tomatoes – Tomatoes are one of the most popular warm-season crops. They love the heat and sunshine.

  2. Peppers – Peppers are another warm-season crops that thrives in hot weather. From sweet bell peppers to spicy jalapenos, there are endless varieties to choose from.

  3. Cucumbers – Cucumbers are climbing plants that are a refreshing and easy-to-grow addition to any garden. They need hot temperatures to thrive. Cucumbers can be sown direct into the ground when the soil temperatures are above 65 degrees.

  4. Eggplant – Eggplant is a heat-loving vegetable that produces beautiful purple fruits. Like peppers, there are many different varieties to choose from, including both traditional and heirloom types.

  5. Squash – Squash, including zucchini and summer squash, are great hot-season crops that can grow quickly and produce a lot of fruit.

  6. Sweet Potatoes– Plant sweet potatoes during this month to get a harvest at the end of summer. Sweet potatoes take around 100 to 140 days to grow.

How to Plant Tomatoes for Success

Tomatoes are one of the most popular warm-season crops to plant in May in the vegetable garden. The warmer weather gives these growing vegetables a head start.

Here are some tips to help you plant tomatoes for success:

  1. Choose the right variety: There are many different tomato varieties to choose from, and it’s important to select one that is well-suited to your growing conditions. Consider factors such as the amount of sunlight your garden gets and the size and flavor of the tomato you prefer.

  2. Prepare your soil: Tomatoes prefer well prepared soil that is rich in organic matter. Incorporate plenty of compost or other organic amendments into your soil before planting to help give your tomato plants the nutrients they need.

  3. Plant deep: When you’re ready to plant your tomato seedlings, bury them deeper than they were growing in the nursery pot. Plant the entire stem except for the top few leaves. This will help your tomato plants develop a strong root system and establish more quickly.

  4. Give them space: Tomatoes need plenty of room to grow, so make sure to space them at least 2-3 feet apart in the garden. This will help prevent overcrowding and reduce the risk of disease.

  5. Support your plants: Most tomato plants require some type of support, such as a trellis, stake, or cage. Be sure to provide support for your plants early in the season, before they become too large or unwieldy to manage.

  6. Water consistently: Tomatoes need consistent moisture to thrive, so make sure to water them deeply and regularly. Water at the base of the plant, rather than from above, to help prevent moisture-related diseases.

  7. Fertilize regularly: Tomatoes are heavy feeders and will benefit from regular fertilization.

What to Plant in May: Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant

Start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants indoors as seeds, 2-3 months before the temperatures hit 65 degrees outside. If you don’t have time to grow seedlings, then buy at a local nursery and don’t lose time in getting your garden all started indoors.

What Herbs to Plant in May

May is a great time to plant herbs, as the weather has warmed up and the risk of frost has passed in most areas.

Here are 5 herbs that you can plant in May:

  1. Basil needs plenty of sun and well-draining soil, so make sure to plant it in a sunny spot in your garden.

  2. Cilantro likes cooler temperatures and plenty of moisture, so plant it in a location where it will get a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day.

  3. Thyme likes well-draining soil and plenty of sunshine and can be grown as a perennial in many areas.

  4. Parsley prefers partial shade and moist, well-draining soil. Once planted & established, it can grow for two years and give you a continuous crop.

  5. Rosemary likes plenty of sunshine and well-draining soil and can be grown as a perennial in many areas. It does not like consistent freezing temperatures. Plant outdoors in a pot or inground if your temperatures allow.

Popular Annual Flowers to Plant in May

May is a great time to plant annual flowers, as the weather is warming up and the risk of frost has passed in most areas.

Here are 5 flowers that are perfect for planting in May:

  1. Marigolds – Marigolds are a popular annual that can add a bright pop of color. They’re easy to grow and can be a natural pest deterrent for some pests.

  2. Zinnias – Zinnias are another bright, colorful annual flower that likes hot and sunny weather. They come in a variety of colors and can be grown in raised beds or in containers.

  3. Petunias – Petunias are a classic, versatile annual flower that can be planted in raised beds, hanging baskets, or containers.

  4. Geraniums – Geraniums are a hardy perennial flower that can be grown in a variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade.

  5. Sunflowers – Sunflowers are a cheerful annual flower that can add a dramatic touch. They like full sun and well-draining soil, and can grow quite tall, so they’re best planted in the back of the space.

5-Ten Minute Tasks with Printable Checklist:

  1. Start planting warm-season crops:

    May is the ideal time to start planting warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Make sure the soil temperature has warmed up before you plant. Make sure to add herbs and flowers to help your veggies grow well.

  2. Fertilize:

    Your vegetable space will benefit from some extra nutrients in May. Make sure to use a quality, well-balanced fertilizer that is appropriate for vegetable gardens.

  3. Protect against pests:

    As the weather warms up, pests such as aphids, slugs, and snails may start to become a problem. Consider using organic or natural pest prevention methods, such as companion planting, physical barriers, or natural repellents.

  4. Water consistently:

    As the temperatures rise in May, it’s important to make sure your plants get consistent water.

  5. Weed:

    Weeds can compete with your veggies for water and nutrients, so it’s important to stay on top of them in May. Try to pull weeds shortly after they emerge, before they have a chance to establish deep roots.

In Conclusion

Check out the free printable checklist for May and the tasks that you can get done in 10 minutes. Get this list here on the blog post. If you want to see the 10 minute tasks for April, check out this post. Take the overwhelm out of gardening and start allowing yourself to enjoy the growing process one little part at a time. If you want to know what to plant with kids, check out this blog post.

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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