Expert garden advice on what to grow this month

In a bid to go organic and grow (at least something of) my own, I've been ploughing my way through a great new book called Grow something to eat every day by Jo Whittingham (DK, £14.99). And, of course, I need an excuse to use my really great new Tool & Tuck allotment box from Burgon & Ball. Whether you're starting out or a seasoned gardener, the book is a joy to read and easy to follow and provides a month-by-month guide through the stages of growing, picking, storing and preserving your own fruit and vegetables. So what should we be growing this month? Choose from cabbages, swedes, turnips, carrots, swiss chard and squash. Sow them now, and this time next season Rodney...

Here's an extract taken from the book and a downloadable PDF to follow if you're feeling a little adventurous this weekend.

MAY: What to sow


Sow swedes and turnips 1cm (1/2in) deep in drills, into good soil that stays moist to help prevent them becoming tough.

Swedes: Slower-maturing and larger growing than turnips, thin the developing swede plants to 25cm (10 in) apart. Harvest in autumn.

Turnips: Fast-growing, sow early varieties now for a midsummer crop. Sow maincrop varieties in midsummer for an autumn and winter crop.


Now is the time to sow your winter cabbage and spring cauliflowers, so they have time to grow before the cold, frosty weather comes. Sow outdoors into a seedbed, 1cm (1/2 in) deep in drills. Grow them on, thinning the young plants to 8-10cm (3-4in) apart, then transplant them into their final positions in July. Avoid planting cauliflowers on freshly manured soil, which promotes excess leafy growth.


Summer and winter squash can be sown outside next month but it's worth giving crops a head start in cooler areas. Sow seed 2cm (3/4in) deep into small pots or modules, in a headed propagator or on a warm windowsill. Water lightly to prevent damping off.

Extract taken from Grow something to eat every day by Jo Whittingham (DK, £14.99)

To download What to sow in May as a PDF click here.

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor