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Now that we’ve arrived in May, there are plenty of things that you can still plant in May here in the UK, many of these will have been on our April list as that’s the key sowing time – but a few you’ve had to save until now.
The days are getting warmer and longer, there’s definitely no risk of frost now (and if there is, it’s rare!) so plenty of plants can go straight in the ground or in prepared raised beds and containers during this month. Freeing up the window sills, cold frame and greenhouse space after they have been full of seedlings and propagators up until this point.
Patience is always a virtue when planting some of these seeds out in May, we’re moving into the time of the year when the things we’re planting in May here in the UK, are winter varieties or have a long growing period – so may not end up bringing produce until February next year, but stick with it as they’re some of the best.
Tiny trees, perfect for grilling with a steak or popping in a stir fry for a fresh bite – sprouting broccoli is some of our favourites here at Wonky HQ. As mentioned above, this is one of those vegetables that you will sow in May, but won’t get the goodness for some time with the key harvesting months being Jan to April the following year, depending on when you sow.
Don’t let that put you off though as sprouting broccoli is some of the best and one of the most popular is the beautiful Purple Sprouting Brocolli – which not only tastes delicious but looks stunning in your garden as well, though it’s worth noting that they turn green when cooked.
Again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here and although the summer sun might be just around the corner – it’s time to think about the Winter veg if you want a good crop. They might take a long time to mature, but you’ll certainly be thankful when you have plenty of veg to still harvest during those colder months.
We’re lucky to have a wide range of varieties to grow here in the UK, from the tighter savoy style to the big leafy varieties such as the ‘Duncan’ that feature large leaves perfect in butter while still having large tight white centres to go with your Sunday roast.
You’re best starting them off in seed trays or modules so that you get tough seedlings, then once they have 4-6 of their first true leaves, you can transplant them out to their final spot and nurture them through to February when you should be good to harvest.
Courgette (Last Chance)
Courgettes are some of our favourite vegetables to grow, and although the best time to sow them is back in April, you’ve still got a chance to get them in the ground during May and still benefit from an abundant harvest.
Big ones, small ones, long ones, round ones – courgettes come in all shapes and sizes and once they get going they are incredibly easy to grow most varieties produce a huge amount of veg when it comes to harvesting.
It is worth noting, that they can grow quite large and take up a good amount of space with their trailing vines and large leaves, but you can try one of the many bush varieties that don’t sprawl too much and can be contained in a large pot.
When it comes to harvest, make sure you take the courgettes off before they get too large, otherwise they effectively become marrows which have more of a bitter taste and aren’t ideal in many recipes.
We love growing courgettes here at Wonky Shed HQ and have written more about this tasty veg, head on over to our other blog to find out more about growing courgettes and how to care for them.
Another easy vegetable to grow that also produces a huge amount of produce once it gets going. As with courgettes, these can be planted early in April especially if you’re starting indoors and you can keep sowing in June to get a later crop — or sow in all 3 months to keep getting beans throughout the end of Summer into late Autumn.
All runner bean varieties are climbers, but they come in a range of sizes. Huge trailing types are best growing with a sturdy A-frame that can support their growth and it’s worth noting that varieties that climb high, often take longer to produce beans. If space is an issue, runner beans also come in dwarf varieties and these can be grown in pots, with some canes tied together into a tee-pee for a frame — the benefit is that runner beans produce beautiful flowers, so they’re easy on the eye as well as tasty!
We’ve covered the basics of growing this fantastic crop here, but you can also find our read our full guide on how to grow runner beans if they’re going on your garden plan for May this year.
You’ll never need to buy a plastic pack of salad again once you start growing it yourself and May is an ideal time to plant some here in the UK. Whether it’s the popular lettuce, or something a bit more daring such as rocket, spinach or mustard — you’re sure to be able to grow something that is perfect to go with your BBQ.
Salad can be started indoors, or even grown full indoors in pots – some varieties are cut and grow, meaning you can snip off a few leaves and the salad will keep growing. Most salads will produce 3-4 harvests if you look after them during the growing period, so the real trick is to plant them successively as many varieties are hardy and grow well into the winter – meaning that if you plan well, you can have a constant stream of salad leaves.
There are a wide variety of crops that you can plant in May here in the UK, the suggestions on this page are some of the most popular and easy to grow – but you may find some more adventurous things if you take a look at a handy annual guide.
Happy growing Wonky Shed friends and family, here’s to a good harvest!