11 Vegetables You Must Plant Outside in May

As May arrives, gardeners can embrace the opportunity to plant various vegetables that thrive in the warming soil and longer days. This time of year is ideal for establishing a vibrant garden, as the risk of frost has passed and temperatures start to rise.

Planting in May allows for a rich harvest of both fast-growing and season-long crops, setting the stage for a productive summer. Here’s a guide to the top vegetables that are perfect for sowing this month, ensuring your garden is abundant and thriving.


Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Beets are versatile and can be planted in May for a summer harvest. They grow best in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Sow seeds directly into the ground regularly to ensure a continuous crop. Beets can be harvested when they reach the desired size, typically golf ball to tennis ball size.


Purple eggplants in wood crate.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Eggplant, or aubergine, does well when planted in May as it loves warm conditions. Choose a sunny, protected spot in your garden and plant in rich, well-drained soil. Eggplants are heavy feeders, so regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer is beneficial to support their growth and fruiting.


Zucchini growing in garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Squash plants, including both summer and winter varieties, can be sown in May. They require a sunny position and fertile, well-drained soil. Space plants generously to allow for ample air circulation and reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Squash plants are vigorous growers and can benefit from regular feeding and mulching to keep the soil moist.


Sweet red bell pepper grown in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Both sweet and chili peppers are excellent to plant in May. These crops need full sun and warm soil to flourish. Plant them in a spot that remains consistently warm throughout the day, as peppers thrive in heat. Provide moderate watering and consider using mulch to retain soil moisture and control weed growth.

Read More: How To Grow Shishito Peppers {Complete Guide}


Woman planting lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables in a home garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

While lettuce prefers cooler temperatures, choosing heat-tolerant varieties can allow for successful planting in May. Provide some shade to prevent bolting in hotter areas. Regular watering and mulching help keep the soil cool and moist.

Read More: 16 Vegetables You Can Harvest All Season Long


Edamame pods and beans.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Beans can be planted directly into the ground in May. They come in two main types: bush and pole. Bush beans do not require support and are easier to grow, while pole beans need a trellis or stakes to climb. Both types prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Beans are relatively low maintenance but need regular watering, especially as the pods begin to form.

Learn More: 14 Essential Tips for a Bountiful Bean Harvest This Season

Swiss Chard

Grown swiss chard in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Swiss chard can be started in May and continues producing throughout the summer and into fall. It prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, fertile soil. Harvest outer leaves regularly to encourage new growth.


Cucumbers grown in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Cucumbers should be planted when the soil is warm, making May an ideal time. They prefer a sunny, sheltered position and rich soil. For vining varieties, set up trellises or supports at planting time to help manage their growth and improve air circulation around the plants. This can also help to keep the fruit clean and reduce pest infestations.

Learn More: How To Grow Cucumbers In Raised Beds {Complete Guide}


Tomatoes growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Tomatoes are best planted in May when the soil has warmed and there is no risk of frost. Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Tomatoes require well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Stake or cage your tomato plants early to support their growth as they can get quite heavy with fruit.

Learn More: 15 Secrets To Growing Killer Tomatoes This Season


Pumpkins growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

May is a great time to plant pumpkins, especially if you’re aiming for a Halloween harvest. Pumpkins need a lot of space, as vines can spread widely. They prefer full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Regular watering and feeding are crucial once the plant starts flowering and fruiting.


Melon in sling growing on trellis.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Melons, including cantaloupe and watermelon, thrive when planted in May. They need warm, well-drained soil and plenty of sun. Melons are sprawling plants, so space them out and consider using mulch to keep the fruit clean and support even ripening.

Shade Tolerant Vegetables

Freshly harvested lettuce in the hands of a woman.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: 32 Vegetables You Can Grow in Partial Shade

Grow Up

Gourds growing vertically.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: 20 Veggies & Fruits You Should Grow Vertically

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