Garden, Home and Garden

Seeds to Sow in May

seeds to sow in May

Wondering which seeds to sow in May?

Let me share with you the seeds to sow, as well as handy growing tips for each plant.

Treat this sowing guide as a general guide.  Some years the typical growing season might be a few weeks out of kilter.  If it feels a little bit too cold outside,  you might instead want to wait until later in May to sow outdoors.  Alternatively, sow indoors or undercover, or else be ready with a fleece in case of any cold nights still ahead of us.

what seeds to sow in May

I originally made the guide image-based, but I’ve recently updated these with the text below in case any readers are visually impaired and use a text reader. 

What to Sow Outside:

what to sow in May UK

French beans

Sow seeds 5 cm deep into the soil.  Space the seeds 15 cm apart, with 45 cm between rows.

Beetroot

Sow your seeds 1cm deep into the soil. Space the seeds 10 cm apart, with 30 cm between rows.

Cabbage

Sow at a depth of 2cm, 25 cm apart.  Leave 30 cm between rows.

Kale

Sow at a depth of 1 cm, leaving 60 cm between seeds and rows.

Leeks

Sow at a depth of 1 cm, 15 cm apart.  Leave 30 cm between rows.

Turnip

Sow at a depth of 1cm, leaving 30 cm between rows.

Lettuce

Sow thinly at a depth of 1cm, leaving 30 cm between rows.

Runner beans

Sow two seeds at the base of a cane.  Plant them 5cm deep and space them 15 cm apart.

Broccoli

Sow three seeds 2cm deep, leaving 30cm between each row.

Cauliflower

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 2cm. Depending on the size of the variety you’re growing, rows should be between 15 cm apart for small varieties to 60 cm apart for larger ones.

Chicory

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 1cm, in rows 30 cm apart.

Peas

Make a flat-bottomed trench around 5cm deep and 15cm wide. Sow the seeds evenly in the trench about 7.5 cm apart, before covering them with a light layer of soil.  If you sow a second row, space it at a distance equal to the height of the final pea crop.

Kohl Rabi

Sow seeds, 1 cm deep in rows 30 cm apart.

Swedes

Sow 2cm deep in rows 38cm apart, and thin to 23cm apart.

Spring Onions

Sow thinly at a depth of 1cm in rows 10 cm apart.

What to Sow Undercover:

what to sow in May

Sweetcorn 

Grow sweetcorn in a warm, sheltered, sunny position, protected from strong winds.  I find a polytunnel works best. Sweetcorn is pollinated by the wind, therefore seeds should be sown in blocks rather than rows, 45cm apart. Try sowing two or three seeds at each point, then thin out the extra seedlings to leave just the strongest one.

Courgette

Sow two or three seeds in the centre of a 2.5 cm deep hole. Cover with a glass or plastic cloche, and leave the covering in place for at least two weeks. If more than one seed germinates, remove the smaller, weaker seedlings to leave just the strongest one.

Marrow

Similar to courgettes, sow two or three seeds at a depth of 2.5cm and cover with a cloche for at least two weeks.  Then thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one.

Pumpkin – follow the advice for both courgettes and marrows.

What to Sow in Heat:

what to plant in May

Aubergine

Sow at 18-21°C in small pots.

Peppers (chilli peppers and sweet peppers)

Sow seeds in small pots.  Place the pots in a heated propagator at about 18–21°C, or on a warm windowsill.  If you don’t have a heated propagator, cover your pots with a clear plastic bag or clear lid to trap moisture and warmth.  Transplant your seedlings into 7.5–9 cm pots when two true leaves have formed.

Cucumber

Sow cucumber seeds on their side, at a depth of 1cm, in small pots. Keep them warm in a heated propagator, greenhouse, or on a sunny indoor windowsill.

Tomatoes

Sow in small pots, then either place in a propagator or cover each pot with a clear plastic bag and place on a sunny windowsill. The seedlings need to be kept at around 18°C. Once two true leaves have formed, transplant them into 9cm pots.

What seeds are you sowing this month?

I have lots of other useful gardening guides on Moral Fibres.  From some great sustainable garden ideas to why you should choose peat-free compost. and how to attract bees to your garden.

ps: if you’ve found this page through Google then for future reference you may be interested in my March and April sowing guides!  Bookmark them for next year!

Garden, Home and Garden

How To Attract Bees to Your Garden

how to attract bees

Want to know how to attract bees to your garden?  Let me share with you my bee based secrets!

The poor bees have taken a beating lately.  Between wet summers, a reduction in their natural habitat, disease, and the January 2021 UK Government decision to reintroduce the use of pesticides harmful to bees in the UK, the number of butterflies and bees in the UK has drastically plummeted.  Which as well as being bad news for bees, is bad news for us.  This is because it’s estimated that at least a third of the plants we eat are directly or indirectly dependent on being pollinated by bees.

Our little fuzzy friends need all the help they can get to help recover their population.  First, you can sign the petition to overturn the decision to allow farmers to use bee-harming pesticides in the UK. There are also heaps of things you can do in either your garden or window box, depending on your situation.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a Moral Fibres guide on how to attract bees to your garden (or window box):

Un-bee-lievable ways to attract bees to your garden

how to attract bees to your garden or windowbox

The Plants That Attract Bees To Your Garden

What you plant has a big impact on attracting bees to your garden. Aim to plant a diverse mix of nectar and pollen-rich plants. Not sure what to plant? Steer towards traditional native plants. Think cottage garden and you’re on the right lines.  From roses to lavender, to clematis, to hollyhocks, as well as other classic British varieties such as alliums, butterburs, and geraniums.

If you want something that you can enjoy as much as the bees then edible flowering herbs are a great choice. Herbs such as chives and thyme are highly valued by bees. These are also great choices for window boxes, if you don’t have a garden.

This post on bee friendly plants is also very handy!

The Plants to Avoid

Some plants have been bred by horticulturists to look pretty, but provide little by way of pollen.  For that reason, pansies and double begonias, for example, are best used only as part of a wide range of different flowers in your garden.

Give The Bees A Home

bee hotel to attract bees to your garden

A bee hotel* will encourage solitary bees to lay eggs in your garden.  We popped one in our garden, and it was amazing to sit and watch the bees going in and out of it, and stuffing it with bits of leaves. For a low-cost option, you can bundle some bamboo canes in a south-west corner, out of prevailing winds.  You can also drill holes in some bits of wood, which will also do the job.

Provide Water

It’s also a little-known fact that bees need drinking water. A small shallow dish in your garden will suffice.

Bee Lazy

If all this gardening sounds like too much hard work then don’t worry. Lazy gardeners the country over will be rejoicing when I say don’t be too harsh on the weeds.  Bees and butterflies don’t discriminate between your best flower-show quality roses and the dandelions pushing up on your path or lawn.  Weeds offer pollen and nectar to bees and are just as valuable as any other plants in your garden. So there you go – a nice excuse to put your feet up and let the weeds poke through. You’re doing it for the bees!

Even if you are a proud gardener, it’s prudent leaving an area of your garden to weed over for wildlife in general. Nettles are especially beneficial to butterflies.

The best bit is, the more bees you can attract to your garden then the more your garden will grow with minimal effort from you. This is because the bees will do all the hard work of pollinating all of your flowers and vegetables.

Bee Frugal

how to attract bees to your garden uk

You can buy already established plants at garden centres. However, it’s really easy to get carried away and spend a ton of money.  

A more cost-effective method is to pick up bee-friendly seeds at most garden centres and even supermarkets. This allows you to easily sow a little wildflower meadow for a pound or two.  Devote a patch of your garden to these seeds, or sow some in planters or tubs and the bees will be buzzing about in no time.

The single most cost-effective way of bee-friendly gardening, however, is by getting together with your friends, family, or neighbours, and taking cuttings from any plants you have already established in your gardens.

Most plants take well to being split at the roots – here’s some good advice on how to do it. Or you can take cuttings from them. You could have a little free plant swap.  Or you could take a small payment for each plant (say 25p) and donate the takings to a bee charity, such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

And that’s how to attract bees to your garden!  Have I missed anything?  Do let me know in the comments below!

PS: This post on how to help bees even if you don’t have a garden shows you how to do your bit. And find out how to revive tired bees.