May Planting Guide


The May planting guide varies from location to location in the U.S. depending upon the weather. Hardy zones in the deep South generally find the temperatures too hot for plants to do well in May. Cooler regions to the north often have moderate temperatures, which allow springtime planting. The key to May planting is found in the USDA hardiness zone map.

Step 1

Determine the hardiness zone of your area by checking the zone map developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Most gardening catalogs and websites have a picture map for easy viewing. Locate which zone you are in by choosing the average annual low temperature for your area. It is possible to find your area lays between two zones. To be safe, always choose the cooler of the two listed.

Step 2

Wait for the danger of all frost to pass before planting in May. Certain varieties of vegetables, like bush beans, rot in the cold soil and must be planted when temperatures reach 65 to 70 degrees.

Step 3

Plant beets, corn and cucumbers at the same time in May. A good planting guide tip is to read the back of each seed packet. The planting times for each hardiness zone is listed on the back. Information on how to plant the seeds is also located on the back of the package. Each seed variety requires different planting depths, light, and water requirements.

Step 4

Choose plants which have the same general planting times listed on the back of the seed packets. For instance, if tomatoes and green peppers are shown to do well in your zone for May, then other plants similar to these can also be grown.

Step 5

Contact the local county extension office for your area to gather any planting information they have available. Not only do they provide a list of what plants should be planted and when, the extension office also provides a list of which varieties do well in your zone. The US Department of Agriculture lists every cooperative extension office in the nation. Extension offices are set up and funded by the government to provide information about agricultural practices, small businesses, and many other programs for individuals of communities.

Step 6

Check with the other local farmers in your area to determine what vegetables do well when planted in May. Many farmers follow a specific planting guide which has likely worked for many years in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardiness zone map
  • Fresh seeds
  • Healthy plants


  • Texas A&M: Spring Planting Guide
  • Gardenate: Planting Now
  • North Carolina State University: Vegetable Garden Planting Guide

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Cooperative Extension System Offices
Keywords: May planting guide, planting guide, garden planting times

About this Author

JulieAnn is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently JulieAnn has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. JulieAnn is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her Bachelor's degree in English.