May Vegetable Gardening Tips

By May 23, 2023Garden Tips

By Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the author of The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast and Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia

Keep Weeding and Thinning
When May comes around it’s time to start weeding and thinning. Thin your beets and carrots 2 weeks after they emerge to keep them growing vigorously. To keep the weeds under control and save your aching back, lightly scuffle hoe regularly on sunny days and hand weed when the ground is moist.  Learn more about The Importance of Thinning from our blog post.

Add Beans, Corn and Cucumbers to Succession Plantings
Start sowing heat resistant lettuces like Sierra and summer greens such as Malabar spinach, orach and Rainbow chard. Add beans, corn, cukes, and squash to succession plantings. When the soil warms at the end of May sow peanuts, okra, edamame, sweet potatoes and other hot weather crops. Learn More about Sowing Summer Crops Straight into the Ground.

Egyptian Onions and Other Perennial Alliums
Perennial alliums are really lovely at this time of year with bulblils, flowers and seedheads putting on a  colorful display. May is a good time to preorder perennial onion, shallot, garlic and Egyptian onion bulbs for delivery  at the correct fall planting time for your area( mid-September to Mid-October) to avoid disappointment when you favorite varieties are unavailable later in the season.. For more growing info read our Garlic and Perennial Onion Growing Guide

Time to Transplant  Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant and  More!
Mid-month transplant tomatoes, celery, and peppers into mulch to keep ahead on weeding. Plant eggplants  into bare soil for better control of flea beetles. If needed a bucket made sticky on the inside with tangle foot makes a nice trap for flea beetles. Put the bucket under your plant and  just shake’em in.
Hill your potatoes when they are 8 inches high. Cover half the plant and repeat at 2 week intervals thru May. Keep an eye out for Colorado Potato Beetles on your potatoes. Pick them by hand or use BT to control them.

Delicious, Nutritious Homegrown Sweet Potatoes
We just started planting sweet potato slips and will continue planting thru mid-June. Tasty, easy to grow sweet potatoes are one the most nutritious vegetable commonly grown in home gardens, low in fat and sodium but high in fiber, potassium, manganese, vitamins A and C. Start growing your own orange, purple or white sweet potatoes now! For growing details see our Sweet Potato Growing Guide..