You may think it's too late to grow all your favorite vegetables from seed, but warm May temperatures will make the soil perfect for sowing seeds. Good choices are summertime staples like beans, squash, beets, cucumbers, carrots and melons. If you want to plant tomato plants late in the season, look for tomato varieties with shorter days to maturity. Raised beds, containers, or small simple patches of ground can be used to cultivate a bounty of fresh vegetables with the right care.
Follow these tips for the best results:
Buy good-quality seeds. You'll get a higher yield and resistance to disease with higher quality seeds. Order online from sites like Burpee.com, Seedsaversexchange.com and Seedsofchange.com.
Plant in a sunny location. Vegetables need 5–6 hours daily of direct sunlight. Better sunlight ensures a more bountiful and better tasting crop.
Plant in good soil. The fastest way to get a deep layer of fertile soil is to make raised beds, which can yield up to four times more than the same amount planted in rows. This is due both to the looser, fertile soil and to more efficient spacing. Plants set too close together compete for sunlight, water, and nutrition and fail to mature.
Use raised beds in areas where the soil is not good and use vertical planting methods such as teepee, arbors and trellis to grow cucumbers and beans in order to save space. You can place a few containers of vegetable plants such as tomatoes and peppers on your patio or deck and plant a flat bed of lettuce in the shadier part of your garden.
How much to water? A good general rule is an inch of water per week. Drip irrigation provides water savings over sprinklers.