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What to Plant in May by Growing Zone

  • 2 min read

Most “what to plant” guides are fairly general, but as we discuss when to plant across our team, we’ve noticed huge differences – especially at the change of seasons.  Our company garden is in Idaho, where cold weather conditions have caused some heartbreaking challenges in the past couple of weeks. As for me, in Alabama, I’m looking at the weather outlook and hoping temperatures don’t break into the 90s over the Memorial Day weekend. Because of these regional variations, I thought it would be nice to talk about May planting by growing zone. 

Zones 1-3 

If you’re in these colder regions, you already know that the growing season is short. Make the most of your growing season by taking advantage of fast-growing crops. Cold-tolerant veggies like lettuce, spinach, radishes, and peas can be planted directly outdoors. Hardy flowers like marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos can also add some color to your garden once it warms up. Keep an eye on the weather, as late frosts or windy weather can be a huge bummer. Take measures to protect your seedlings plants as well as you can if a cold snap does occur.

Popular Herbs

Zones 4-5

May is a busy time of year, and gardeners in these zones have begun sowing beans, carrots, beets, and Swiss chard directly into the garden. If this is your area, you can start transplanting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants once all frost danger is over. Don’t forget about herbs! Basil, dill, parsley, and more make great additions to your garden. If the ground is warm enough in your area, take a look at our article on 8 Crops to Direct Sow for more ideas. 

Zones 6-7

The longer growing season here means allows gardeners to plant a wider variety right now. In addition to transplanting your seedlings, you can also direct sow corn, beans, cucumber, squash, and melons. Your sunflowers, nasturtiums, and petunias will also thrive when planted in May. Don’t forget heat-loving herbs like rosemary and thyme. 

Sunflower Seeds for Planting

Zones 8-9

This is my zone and my garden is in full swing now. Those of us in this zone are able to direct sow the crops mentioned in the previous zones, and probably already have. We can also start planting okra, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and watermelon. Most of us have also moved our heat-loving plants outside. If you haven’t yet, get those seedlings hardened off and into the ground! 

Zones 10-11

These lucky gardeners have nearly year-round growing conditions for many crops. You can directly sow summer beans, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, gourds, okra, and any number of plants that are well-adapted to the warmth of your summers. Save the broccoli and cold-loving plants for the off-season in these regions, or try growing them indoors instead. 

May is a month full of potential no matter where you live in the United States! From veg and herbs to cheery flowers, there’s no shortage of options to plant right now. If you haven’t started, now’s your chance. Remember to take into account your growing conditions so you can have a productive, thriving garden this year. 

Written by Teresa C., Zone 8a, Alabama


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