5 plants that can be sown in May

Kathrin Auer Kathrin Auer

May has finally arrived: Frost-sensitive plants can now be sown outdoors too. We introduce five plants that are suitable for sowing in May.

May is an important time in the seed sowing calendar: When the last frosts have passed in the middle of the month, the cooler temperatures are finally behind us and frost-sensitive plants can now be sown outdoors in open ground. It’s not only the seeds of popular summer flowers that can be directly sown into flower beds, you can also sow some vegetables outdoors in May.

These plants can be sown in May:
  • Beans
  • Nasturtium
  • Hollyhock
  • Chicory
  • Pot marigold

Sowing beans in May

As beans are particularly sensitive to cold temperatures, they should be sown in the from May. At this time of year, the soil temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The soil should be loosened and enriched with mature compost. If you want to sow dwarf beans in rows, you should make sure to leave a distance of 15 to 20 inches between rows. It is best to leave a distance of 1.97 to 3.94 inches between the individual seeds. With so-called wide row planting, you should sow four to six seeds into the ground every 15 inches. According to an old saying: Beans like to "hear the bells ring". The seed should therefore be sown at a maximum depth of 0.79 to 1.18 inches.

Climbing aid for runner beans

Runner beans need a climbing aid. This can be a structure made from stakes or simply wire mesh fencing

When sowing runner beans, it is important to use a climbing aid that is anchored to the ground at a depth of 12 to 15 inches. Draw a circle around each stake and sow six to eight seeds in 1.18 inch deep furrows. Make sure there is sufficient moisture, it is best to fertilize with compost and an organic fertilizer with a low nitrogen content. Winter savory is an ideal companion plant – it protects the beans from black bean aphids. Depending on the variety, it takes 75 to 100 days for the first harvest.

Sowing nasturtiums

From mid-May, you can also sow the popular nasturtium either directly into flower beds or in pots on the balcony or patio. Sow one seed every 3.93 inches in 0.79 inch deep furrows. There needs to be a distance of around 8 inches between seed rows. If you want to sow the nasturtiums in pots, it is best to arrange the seeds in a circle on the potting soil – the distance to the edge and the next seed should be at least 1.97 inches.

Nasturtium seeds

Nasturtium seeds are pea-sized

Nasturtiums generally love a sheltered, sunny spot: The more light the annual summer bloomers get, the more flowers they will produce. The substrate needs just a moderate level of nutrients. If you put a climbing aid, such as a trellis, next to the fast-growing nasturtiums, they will gladly and reliably grow upwards. And they soon become green privacy screens on fences and pergolas.

Sowing hollyhocks outdoors

Hollyhocks are classic cottage garden plants and usually cultivated as biennials. They particularly like sunny spots with nutrient-rich soil. Before sowing the seeds at the end of May, the soil should be loosened and weeds removed – so that the tap root can spread undisturbed.

Hollyhocks in front of house wall

The upright flower stems of hollyhocks look particularly beautiful in front of walls or buildings, in front yards, or directly behind a garden fence

Dig a shallow furrow, plant two to three seeds in each furrow at intervals of around two inches, and cover them with around one inch of soil. Keep the seeds moist – in warm weather, the first seedlings should appear after around two weeks. Thin out dense clusters while the young plants are still small. Hollyhocks look particularly nice in groups – it’s advisable to leave a distance of 15 inches between the individual plants.

Sowing chicory in May

freshly harvested chicory

Chicory is characterized by a distinctive tap root and a leaf rosette similar to the dandelion

Once the soil is warm enough in May, it is very easy to sow chicory without any problems. Make sure to the seeds in deep soil with low levels of nitrogen and to leave a distance of 10 to 12 inches between rows. The vegetable germinates after around three to four weeks and can be thinned out to a distance of 5.90 to 7.87 inches. In poor soil, it is best to fertilize chicory with compost and plant-based liquid manure. Dig up the roots in late fall and put them in a dark cellar or basement room until they sprout.

Sowing pot marigolds

Pot marigold, Calendula

Pot marigolds can be sown directly into flower beds from April to June

The is not only an old ornamental plant, it is also used as a medicinal herb. In May, you can directly sow the seeds of this summer flower into the desired location in the garden. First loosen the soil, remove any weeds, and lightly rake in the seeds. After germination, the young plants should be thinned out to a distance of 9.84 to 12 inches. Carefully take out any excess seedlings and replant them in a different location.

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