Seed Sowing Calendar for May

Seed Sowing Calendar for May

In this post, I'm going to show you how planning your seed starting or seed propagation efforts over the course of the year will actually save you time, frustration, and give you the FREEDOM to grow more your own food.

As I move into this new mindset and practice of sowing most of my seeds inside THROUGHOUT the majority of the year, the biggest stumbling block comes down to PLANNING!

Planning HOW I want my garden to evolve throughout the garden season.
Planning WHICH crops I want to grow and HOW I intend to use them.
Planning WHAT seeds I'll be starting indoors and WHEN I'll start them. 
Planning WHEN to move them outdoors and WHEN I'll harvest them.

There's lots of things to figure out, and this doesn't even include HOW I'm going to fit them all in my garden! That's a whole other topic of discussion (although I've actually done an entire workshop on How to Design Your Garden Beds!)

And maybe this is why most people don't do this type of gardening, because the initial planning seems daunting. I get it. I really do.

But lucky for you, if this is something that interests you, I'll be rolling out A LOT information over the coming months that will help you jump into this practice!

And I'm going to do a plug....I do offer personalized garden consults. So, if you want help planning out your garden, as well as your garden space. This is something I LOVE to help people with, and you can request a consult anytime. Trust me when I say, hiring someone to help you figure out the nitty gritty will SAVE YOU TONS OF TIME!

    Why Sow almost Year Round?

    Now, truth be told, I had already done a lot of this planning this year. In order to grow the amount of food I am trying to grow, I had to answer all those questions WAY before I started any of my seeds!

    What has shifted, however, is HOW I'm timing my seed starting efforts.

    It's May 11th currently (Happy Birthday, bro!), and you may be thinking, aren't we pretty much passed the seed starting stage of gardening at this point???

    No, actually. There is still SO MUCH you can do, especially if your goal is grow most of your food and/or market the food you grow. And even if it's not your goal, you can benefit from this type of gardening.

    So, over the next few months, I'm going to show you how you can start seeds in your house
     throughout the majority of the year (and why you'd want t0). 

    You may surprised to see how much you can grow throughout the course of the gardening season (and beyond!) It certainly was a revelation to me when I started delving into this idea!

    And it's actually given me a lot of FREEDOM to realize I'm not pigeon-holed to such a short range of time to get my seedlings growing!

    This schedule and mindset has also helped me to focus my efforts on a smaller amount of plants at a time - starting a few varieties every few weeks or so, and spreading them out over the course of several months.

    It's also allowed me to do a better job of succession planting, following up one variety of crop with another (once the radishes are harvested, sowing late season onions or following up early lettuce with late chard, etc.)

    Either way, there's a lot you can do with this style of gardening!

    Now, before I launch into what you can start in May... 

    A Few Important Considerations:

    1. I GARDEN IN ZONE 5B/6A. So if you're in a different zone, here's how to adjust your dates accordingly. Compare your frost dates with my frost dates and then do the math. You can either work backwards or forwards
      1. For example, if your last frost date is a month before mine (mine is 5/11/23), you can start everything listed below in April. If your last frost date is 2 weeks after mine, start these items mid-May, or just know they might be in your house a couple weeks longer than here. That being said, some of these items are frost-tolerant and won't be bothered by the difference in timing. But you'll need to do your homework to know your varieties.
      2. To work backward, find out how many weeks (or days) difference there are between your FIRST FROST DATE and mine (mine is 10/8/23) and then add or subtract according. If your FFD is after mine, you can start these things that many days/weeks later. If your FFD is before mine, you'll start your seeds that many days/weeks BEFORE.
    2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO START ALL THESE THINGS NOW. Some of the items on this can actually be started in other months of the year (and I've marked them with a **). In fact, as I role out the rest of the Sowing Calendars, you'll see how many of these crops have quite a large propagation range. And this is what makes this style of gardening so great... you have so much more flexibility in your schedule!
    3. YOU GET AWESOME GERMINATION! The nice thing about this schedule is that most of these crops will only be indoors for a few weeks, long enough for them to germinate and get their first set of true leaves (the first set AFTER the initial set of leaves). In my video on How to Get Awesome Germination, I talk about how starting all your seeds indoors on heat (except carrots & parsnips) will give you the best germination and the most control over your seeds. THIS is why this process works! By sowing all these things under cover, you can not only get them started almost a month (or more) ahead of time, you can have way better germination, grow healthier plants, have a more organized garden, and feel confident about your harvest!

    What You Can Start in May

    Sow Under Cover (i.e. inside or in covered greenhouse)

    • Leeks (multisown) **

    • Winter squash (early harvest) **

    • Summer squash **

    • Beets for leaves and Beetroot (multisown) **

    • Chard **

    • Leaf Lettuce (late harvest)

    • Cabbage (Autumn harvest)

    • Celery **

    • Basil **

    • Cucumber (early or mid May for outdoor planting) **

    • Brussels Sprouts (transplant mid-June) - will get too big too soon

    • Kale (transplant mid-June) **

    • Rutabaga (sow late May/early June) **

    • Beans (French, Pole, Dwarf)

    Sow Directly Outside

    • Carrots & Parsnips **
    • After mid-month and at the end of May or early June sow cucumber, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkin, and sweet corn