May Garden in the Southern Hemisphere

May arrives between autumn and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Grays and browns replace the brilliant fall colors of April this month. Nature is beginning its rest time now as the harvest comes to a close.

There still may be a few days of hazy sunshine this month but the first chill and frost are not far away.

As the poet Rober Browning wrote: “Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.”

Cool-weather crops can go into the garden this month, if hard frost seldom visits your region. In areas where frost threatens, watch the cool-weather crops planted in late summer and take them from the garden at the peak of their ripeness and before they are stung by a cold snap.

Enjoy the apple harvest as it comes to a close and celebrate the beginning of the cool-weather citrus harvest soon to be under way.

Here is a list by region of vegetables and herbs to be planted in the Southern Hemisphere during May:

Temperate regions: Vegetables: artichoke suckers, broad beans, cress, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, radish, shallots, spinach, spring onions. Herbs: caraway, chives, hyssop.

Tropical and sub-tropical northern regions: Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broad beans, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cress, endive, lettuce, mustard, onions, spring onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, radish, shallots, silverbeet (Swiss chard), spinach, strawberry runners, tomato, turnip. Herbs: angelica, basil, borage, caraway, celeriac, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, salad burnet, thyme.

Cooler southern regions: Vegetables: cress, lettuce, shallots, spinach.

May Harvest Schedule for the Southern Hemisphere:

Here is a roundup of vegetables and fruits ready for harvest during May in the Southern Hemisphere:

Vegetables: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celeriac, chilies, Chinese cabbage, corn, kale, lettuce, parsnip, peas, purslane, radish, rutabaga (Swede), spinach, turnips.

Fruits and nuts: late apples, avocadoes, banana, feijoa, guavas, early kiwifruit, kumquat, limes, early mandarins, olives, late Valencia oranges, early navel oranges, late passionfruit, pomegranate, late raspberries, tarmarilloes, tangeloes.

Pictured above: Pink Lady apples.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

May Garden in the Northern Hemisphere

Turnip white Tokyo Japanese1

Tokyo Turnip: Raw or Steamed