Outdoor sowing

In the first half of May, you can sow early beetroot, early carrots, parsnips, perpetual spinach, annual spinach, chard, radish, turnip, peas and runner beans directly into the ground.

Towards the end of the month you can sow main crop carrots and beetroot and any crops you didn’t manage to sow at the beginning of the month.

Indoor sowing

In May you can still sow the following vegetables into modular trays. These will be planted outdoors about four weeks after sowing; winter cabbages, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, kale, kohlrabi, swede, turnip, lettuce, scallions, spinach and chard.

If you haven’t sown courgettes, pumpkins, squash, runner beans and sweetcorn yet you can still do so in the first half of the month.

Towards the end of the month you can sow Florence fennel, Chinese cabbage and all the oriental salads


You can plant out the crops you sowed in the previous month; the first batch of leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, kohlrabi, rocket, swede, turnip, lettuce, perpetual spinach, chard, annual spinach and scallions.


Towards the end of the month you may be able to harvest some oriental salads, radish, turnips and annual spinach.

Pest watch

Don’t forget to keep a check on your plants especially the seedlings outside. This is the time when they are most vulnerable to a slug attack. You also need to be wary of leatherjackets, the larva of the daddy-longlegs. They can be a terror during this month especially on newly planted lettuce.

May is the most exciting month in your tunnel or greenhouse

If a small lettuce suddenly dies, it was probably eaten by a leatherjacket. They actually just bite through the stem of the young plants. If you don’t find the culprit in the soil, it will move on to the next plant.

If you had carrot root fly in previous years it is nearly essential that you cover the early sown carrots with a bionet.

May is the most exciting month in your tunnel or greenhouse. This is the time to plant out your summer crops – your tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and basil.

Take good care of them and give them a fabulous soil and they will reward you with a bounty of delicious sun-ripened fruit. Once the busy spell of planting is over you can start to relax again.

About Klaus

Klaus Laitenberger is the author of three gardening books; Vegetables for the Irish Garden, Fruit and Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse and A Vegetable Grower’s Handbook.

He works as an organic inspector for the Organic Trust Ltd and as a consultant for Bórd na Móna on their new medicinal herb production project.

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