Vegetable planting guide: what to plant in May

Man watering plants
Prepare for a busy month as summer kicks off Credit: Alamy

Windowbox or balcony planter 

Sow: Red-leaved beetroot 'Bull’s Blood’ for cut-and-come again, mixed salad leaves and coriander 'Calypso’.

PlantChilli pepper 'Basket of Fire’, cascading/bush tomato F1 'Hundreds and Thousands’ (in a hanging basket) and cordon tomatoes in growbags.

Patio pots and containers 

PlantGrafted vegetable plants such as bush tomato F1 'Tumbler’, aubergine F1 'Scorpio’ and mini cucumber F1 'Iznik’.

Grafting is a great skill to possess Credit: Christopher Jones

Dwarf/compact vegetable varieties:

  • Aubergine F1 'Pinstripe’
  • Self-fertile courgette F1 'Partenon’
  • Runner bean 'Jackpot Mixed’
  • Sweet pepper F1 'Redskin’
  • Chilli peppers F1 'Apache’ (red) and F1 'Cheyenne’ (orange)

Sunny porch, lean-to or unheated greenhouse (mini or large)


  • Calabrese F1 'Monclano’ (clubroot resistant)
  • Broccoli 'Nine Star Perennial’
  • Sprouting broccoli 'Rudolph’
  • Celeriac 'Monarch’
  • All-female indoor cucumber F1 'Melen’.

Herbs: thyme, Russian tarragon and oregano.

PlantGrafted vegetable plants, indoor beefsteak cordon tomato F1 'Belriccio’, sweet pepper F1 'Milena’ and chilli pepper 'Scotch Bonnet’.

Scotch bonnets are some of the spiciest peppers to grow Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith

Heated greenhouse/in a heated propagator 

Sow: Outdoor cucumbers 'Sonja’ and round-fruited 'Crystal Lemon’, cucamelon and melon F1 'Emir’.

PlantAubergine F1 'Black Pearl’.



  • Kales 'Bolshoi’ and 'Red Winter’ as cut-and-come-again
  • Dwarf French beans 'Purple Teepee’ (purple pods) and 'Sonesta’ (yellow pods)
  • Climbing French bean 'Violet Podded’
  • Courgette F1 'Floridor’ (round yellow fruits) 


Outdoors under cloches and/or garden fleece 

Sow: Dwarf French beans 'Safari’ (green pods) and 'Capitano’ (yellow pods), gherkin F1 'Agnes’ and outdoor cucumber 'Paris White’.

Protect newly sowed beans under a garden fleece

Outdoors in the garden or allotment 


In late May: runner bean 'Firestorm’ (red flowers), 'Celebration’ (pink flowers), 'Painted Lady’ (red/white bicolored flowers).


Plant: Clubroot-resistant summer cabbages F1 'Kilaton’ and F1 'Kilaxy’, red cabbage F1 'Rodeo’, late summer cauliflower F1 'Clapton’ (clubroot resistant), celeriac 'Prinz’,celery F1 'Daybreak’ and curly kale or borecole 'Pentland Brig’.

Send for now

Last chance for

Ordering sweet potato 'slips’ (cuttings) and 'patio ready’ plants by mail order.