Monthly tips

What to do this Month – May


  1. Sow French beans, runner beans, squash, cucumbers and pumpkin seeds directly into prepared beds outside. Be alert to late frosts (for which a covering of horticultural fleece should provide sufficient protection).
  2. Sow sweet corn outside in blocks, at least 45cm (18in) spacing, with two seeds per hole. The strongest seedling can be selected later.
  3. Sow cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli for harvesting next winter.
  4. After all risk of frost has passed, plant out tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins that were previously sown under cover.
  5. Other young plants can be planted out once conditions are suitable, and once they’ve been hardened off (acclimatised to the colder outdoor conditions) for 10 to 14 days.


  1. Plant out alpine strawberry seedlings sown in early spring.
  2. Sow outdoor melons in a heated propagator.
  3. Thin out crowded raspberry shoots.
  4. Thin gooseberries if you want large fruit.

These tips have been taken from the Royal Horticultural Society, Grow your own section. Full details can be seen at