May is when we finally start to see the shorter days, the cooler weather and it is truly a glorious time in the subtropical veggie patch. The tomatoes that we planted back in January will be being harvested and it's definitely the changeover month for us, which for most other regions happens in March.
Feed the garden
Most things that grow over the cooler season are super heavy feeders. Your crops planted in February and March may need a bit of a boost to get them moving along. We do this with either sprinkling of organic extra (slow release organic fertiliser), organic liquid fertiliser, seaweed emulsion and/or worm casting tea.
Succession plant brassicas
We have such a short season for our cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbages, that May is all about keeping up with getting them in the ground. We have a rule around here, if we want to harvest something every week we need to be planting every week (which I talk about in this succession planting podcast here). We generally plant ours right up until July, but we do only choose varieties that are quick growing (we stock those varieties in our seed shop).
Source Potato Seeds
Potatoes are certainly tricky to grow in the subtropics, we've had many failures and you can see that in this video here about growing potatoes, but what I have found is it's all about timing and also a little bit of lowering expectations ie. stop comparing yield of regular potatoes to that of sweet potatoes. Last year we planted potato seeds every month from March until September. Our best crops were from seeds planted in July and August. It is often hard to find seed potatoes but they will start popping up in retailers between now and July. We often find our best (and most affordable) seed potatoes from produce stores.
Harvest Turmeric & Ginger, or not?
In May you'll notice Turmeric and Ginger starting to die back which means it's time for harvest. However, if you don't need to eat the lot right now the best way to preserve it is to leave it in the ground until you need it. Second season ginger and turmeric will produce triple the amount so if you want a bumper crop next year leave it be. You can check out our bumper crop of turmeric from our Aquaponics a couple of years back here.
Bugs and pests and other nasties to look out for during May
May is usually the time where we see a resurgence of aphids, spider mites and of course the ever present caterpillar. This time of year rodents can become a real problem as they hunt for warmer spots for the cooler months which is around humans. Be sure to clean up your spaces to make it less habitable for them.
- Caterpillars (Army worms, Cabbage Moth, Cluster, Cutworms*)
What to plant in May
For our full lists of things to plant during this month head over here. You can also sign up to our list to get a chart of things to plant throughout the year.
What will you be planting this month? Leave a comment below!