How to Plant Seeds in May


Grow plants, flowers and vegetables directly from seed. May weather typically means warmth and sun, but this isn't always the case depending on where you live and how the spring weather is that year. Nearly half the gardeners in North America can expect frost sometime in May, according to The Garden Helper. Cool-season plants like lettuce or peas can handle frost, while warm-season ones like corn or peppers cannot. Know the requirements of each seed before you plant in May.

Step 1

Prepare the ground for planting. Turn over the soil with a shovel to aerate it and break apart any soil clumps. Seeds won't germinate in clumpy soil, since it's too hard and compacted. Remove sticks, rocks and weeds from the soil.

Step 2

Add a 2-inch layer of compost or manure across your garden bed to boost the nutrient content of the soil. Turn the compost or manure over into the native soil.

Step 3

Rake the soil back across the garden bed in an even layer. Planting in uneven soil encourages high spots that will receive less water and valleys that will receive excess water. This can cause problems.

Step 4

Review the instructions on your seed packet and check the weather conditions. Depending on where you live, frosts may be over by May or you may need to wait until mid to late May. Some seeds require planting after the last frost date while others can be planted during frost conditions. Your seed packet will tell you; there is no general safe guideline for all types of seeds. You may need to wait until later in the year to plant some seeds; if you live in a warm climate, May may be too late for cold-season crops. Read the seed spacing and depth instructions, also on your seed packet.

Step 5

Dig a furrow for your seeds using the recommended depth guidelines (such as 1 inch or 1/4 inch). Sow seeds in the furrow using the spacing guidelines. If you're planting more than one row of a type of seed, space the rows following the row spacing instructions on the seed packet. Cover over the planted seeds with soil.

Step 6

Plant all seeds in this manner until you've sown all garden plants. Water the newly planted seeds until the soil becomes moist but not wet.

Step 7

Keep the seeds moist until they germinate, typically within two weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Rake
  • Trowel
  • Seeds
  • Water


  • Master Gardener Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
  • The Garden Helper: Average Date of Last Killing Frost
  • Colorado State University: Growing Plants from Seed
Keywords: May planting, seed planting guide, seed planting May

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.