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    Starting a Garden this Year? Here’s What to Plant in May

    Central-Midwest Gardening Region map


    Gardening Quote of the Month“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood

    If you’re not sure how to start seeds or when to set out transplants, see the Resources section below.

    To read more about what to plant in other months and regions, visit our What to Plant Now home page.

    For planting times specific to your zip code, check out the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner.

    what to plant in May in central midwest garden region

    what to plant in May in central midwest garden region

    Top Crops for Central and Midwest Gardening:

    Here are the Top Ten crops for the Midwest region, followed by other recommended crops, as rated in our National Survey of Most Productive Garden Crops. (The criteria for selection include ease of culture, efficient use of garden space and time, ease of storage and desirability at the table.) The recommended crops are sorted by plant family to help you plan rotations so that the same plant families are not grown consecutively in the same area, as much as possible.

    Top 10 Crops: Central and Midwest Region

    1. Slicing tomato
    2. Sweet pepper
    3. Cherry tomato
    4. Onion
    5. Bush snap bean
    6. Carrot
    7. Garlic
    8. Paste tomato
    9. Snow/snap pea
    10. Lettuce

    Other Highly Recommended Crops:

    Cabbage family: Broccolicabbagecollardskalekohlrabi

    Cucumber family: Cucumberpumpkinsummer squashwinter squash

    Leafy greens: Arugulachardmustard (all types), pac choi, sorrelspinachturnip

    Legumes: Dry soup beans, pole snap beansshell peas, Southern peas

    Root crops: Beetparsnippotatorutabagashallotturnip

    Tomato family: Hot peppers, tomatillo

    Miscellaneous:  Asparagusleekokrarhubarbscallionsweet corn


    * To learn more about when to sow seeds (indoors and outdoors) or when to transplant your seedlings to the garden, see: Know When to Plant What: Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date.

    * To learn more about how to start seeds, check out Seed-starting Basics. For a primer on how to transplant seedlings, see Garden Transplanting: Expert Advice.

    * Find garden seeds from great mail-order companies with our Plant and Seed Finder.

    * Learn more about high-quality seeds and great seed companies in Best Seeds for a Bigger, Better Garden and Best Garden Seed Companies.

    * You might also try swapping seeds locally.

    * For tips on growing everything from artichokes to winter squash, see our Crop-by-Crop Growing Guide.

    Don’t live in the Midwest? Find garden planning information for your area.


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