"Remember - always sow the seeds - you can catch up on everything else, but if you get behind on that, then there's nothing you can do about it."  .......... (A great piece of advice I was given many years ago)

 

  (French bean Cobra and Sweet Corn Lark are just two of the reliable and delicious crops you can sow now into polytunnel soil.)

 

Sow in a heated propagator, in a warm place, or directly in tunnel soil when warm enough:

For polytunnel or greenhouse cropping, or for planting outside under cloches or fleece at the end of May

 

French beans, runner beans, sweet corn, courgettes, edamame (soy) beans, cucamelons, gherkins, pumpkins, summer squashes, marrows and melons. You can still sow cucumbers and tomatoes for late tunnel/greenhouse crops. Also herbs such as basil, coriander, dill, Greek oregano (best for flavour), lovage, mints, parsley (giant flat leaf Italian best flavour) Perilla (Japanese beefsteak plant) and fennel, Alpine strawberries (Reugen best variety) Florence fennel and half-hardy single flowers such as tagetes, single French marigolds, nasturtiums etc. for bees and butterflies and to attract other beneficial insects like hoverflies etc. to help with pest control and pollination, both under cover and out in the garden. 

 

It's really important to shade propagators and young seedlings from strong sun at all times now to stop seedlings from cooking! - You can also switch off propagators during the day to save energy - even if shaded on sunny days they will be plenty warm enough - but do make sure you remember to turn them on again well before it gets chilly in the evening. 

 

Outdoors: 

Sow in modules if the weather is still too cold, in a seedbed for transplanting, or in the ground where they are to crop - if the weather and your ground conditions are suitable: 

 

Asparagus, globe artichokes, beetroot, broad beans, carrots, all varieties of peas, savoy and other autumn/winter cabbages, all varieties of sprouting broccoli including calabrese and purple sprouting, cauliflowers, salad onions, Hamburg parsley, landcress, lettuces, perilla, orache, chicory, kohl rabi, kales (those for cropping overwinter outside from the middle of May onwards), parsnips (early May) radishes, rocket, salsify, Swiss chards, spinach, turnips and swedes, summer purslane, lamb's lettuce, salad mixes and perennial hardy herbs including sorrel. Asparagus peas, cardoons, Good King Henry and New Zealand spinach can be sown outside under cloches now, and also from the middle of May, if the soil is warm enough, sweet corn, French and runner beans. Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, ridge cucumbers and squashes can all be sown outside under cloches at the end of May, in warm areas. Also sow some single annual flowers such as limnanthes (poached egg flower), cosmos, calendula, Californian poppies, convulvulus tricolour, nasturtiums, phacelia, sunflowers etc. to attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and ladybirds which will help with pest control, and also to attract bees which help with crop pollination. Sow fast growing green manures like buckwheat, mustard (a brassica so watch rotations), lupins & red clover (legumes) and phacelia, to improve the soil by adding humus, to encourage beneficial microbes, 'lock-up' carbon and feed worms (after digging in), on any empty patches of ground that won't be used for 6 weeks or more.

 
Although in theory you could sow almost everything outside in the garden now - except tender veg. like cucumbers etc. - you must keep an eye on soil temperature and weather conditions!
 
 
Unless you've had ground covered with cloches or polythene so that it's dry and really warm - then it's aways much safer to sow in modules undercover to be sure of guaranteed results and to save wasting expensive seed. The soil in some areas is still cold after recent frosts & heavy rain. A late frost could destroy newly emerged seedlings of tender crops even under cloches. Seed is expensive and you can't afford to waste it. You can't afford to waste time now either, by possibly losing any sowings made at this time of year. Too many important staple winter and storage crops need to be sown this month - and if they fail it may well be too late to sow them again. Even though the sun is strong now and sunny days are warm, there can still be serious frosts at beginning of this month.
 
 
In the tunnel you can plant tender veg like sweet potato 'slips' in pots this month - or in the ground if it's reliably warm enough. They are very frost tender and hate cold wet ground. You can also plant oca and mashua tubers in pots - again to plant out later, at the end of May or early June - or to plant directly into tunnel soil. The small growing tubers of Yacon can also be planted now in the tunnel or in pots to plant outside later.They are just starting into growth now.
 
 

(P.S. I really enjoy sharing my original ideas and 40 years experience of growing and cooking my own organic food with you. It's most satisfying and naturally also very complimentary if others find "inspiration" in my work......But if you do happen to copy any of my material, or repeat it in any way online - I would appreciate it very much if you would please mention that it originally came from me. It's the result of many years of hard work and often hard won-experience. Thank you.) 

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