May Garden Checklist

It’s safe to say that even for the northernmost planting zones, spring is here! May is a busy month in the garden, and it’s also a thrilling one. Morning strolls through the garden reveal new seedlings popping up, flowers unfolding, and some veggies ripening.

While it’s tempting to plant everything at the first sign of a warm day, May has a tendency to bring unexpected weather that can damage your garden. Late cold snaps, heavy rains, and strong winds are all still possible, so be prepared to protect your garden from inclement weather.

As always, seek the advice of a trusted garden center or your local county extension office for the best times to plant in your area.

Clippers pruning bush.

May Garden Planning

If you kept up with your late winter/early spring chores and planning, May should be a little easier. Still, it’s worth noting in your garden journal any successes you’ve experienced with your plantings. Is there something that you might have planted sooner (or later) than you did? What pests are you observing in the garden so far? How much rain are you getting?

Spring Garden Prep & Maintainance

Keep up with your weeding chores — May can be a doozy! Reapply mulch if you see any bare spots on the soil surface. Be sure your irrigation system continues to operate efficiently as the growing season heats up. If you live in an area with watering restrictions or guidelines, make sure your watering schedule honors that. Fertilize fruit trees with compost, and thin fruit to every 6” while the fruit is still small.

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 should harden off annuals before transplanting them outside and can remove winter protection from cool-season crops.

Sow & Plant Indoors in May

While most zones are finished with indoor sowing by the time May rolls around.

  • Zone 3 & 4 may start seeds of beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, peas peppers, and spinach under grow lights.
  • Zones 5-7 can start seeds of beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn, cucumber, and squash.
  • All other zones continue with outdoor planting and sowing.
Close-up of a female hands cutting a plant with pruning shears in her vegetable garden.

Sow & Plant Outdoors

  • Zone 3 & 4 can plant transplants of tomatoes, peas, kale, melons, potatoes, and pumpkin.
  • Zones 5 & 6 can direct sow seeds of squash, lettuce, melons, cucumber, and corn.
  • Zone 7 can transplant onions, peppers, and tomatoes.
  • Zone 8 can transplant beans, Brussels sprouts, corn, cucumber, and squash.
  • Zones 9 & 10 can transplant Brussels sprouts and squash if they haven’t already.

Harvest in Spring

  • Zone 6 & 7 can harvest peas, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and lettuce.
  • Zone 8 can harvest beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, peas, and spinach.
  • Zones 9 & 10 can harvest beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.

Share The Garden Love

Hands planting seedling into soil with text, "May garden checklist"
Close-up of a female hands cutting a plant with pruning shears in her vegetable garden with text, 'May garden planting and harvesting"


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  1. I live in Punta Gorda, Fl, Southwest Fl coast.
    In what planting zone do I live?
    Please advise.
    Thank you for this wonderful information!!!

    • Hi Kasey, yes there is! It is inside of our Monthly Organic Gardening Guide. We just resent you the email that contains a link to download the guide. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help!

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