South African Vegetable Sowing Guide – May

May is traditionally the first month of winter and time to think of winter protection where heavy frosts are experienced.

In the summer rainfall areas May also marks the end of the rain season and this means that watering becomes a critical element of the weekly growing activities.

Climatic Regions of Southern Africa

Table Notes:

Column 1 – Common Name

Column 2 – Type

Use this information to plan for a variety of herbs and vegetables. It can also be used for a basic crop rotation plan.

Column 3 – Nutrient Demand

This refers to how heavy a feeder the crop is. If you have poor soil, you should omit the high nutrient demand crops.

Low nutrient demand crops are capable of struggling along and will usually produce something edible even under poor conditions. Given soil more fertile than their minimum requirements they can become quite prolific.

Medium nutrient demand crops need significantly enriched soil to thrive. They will do a lot better when given soil considerably more fertile than their minimum requirements.

High nutrient demand crops will usually not thrive unless grown in light, loose, always moist soil that provides the highest level of nutrition.

Column 4 – Ease of Growing

Always choose crops that suit your experience level. Some crops are good teachers and they will prepare you for growing more difficult crops. Examples are herbs, Swiss chard, radishes and bush beans.

Columns 5 to 8 – Sowing Regions 1, 2, 3, 4 (See Map)

For food gardening purposes Southern Africa can be divided into four climatic regions. This is not an exact science. Use it as a guide only and keep good records to determine your own best sowing times. A “Y” indicates that you can sow the crop and a “N” obviously indicates that this is not a good month to sow the crop in your region.

You can sort the table with the arrows next to each column.

Help Your Fellow Food Gardeners

Use the comments to add your own food gardening experience to this table. Don’t forget to state your region and town.

NameTypeNutrient DemandEase of Growing1234
Arugula (rocket)LeafMediumEasyYYYY
AsparagusLeafHighDifficultNNNN
BroccoliLeafHighVariableNNNN
Brussels SproutsLeafHighModerateNNNN
CabbageLeafMediumEasyNYNN
CauliflowerLeafHighDifficultNNNN
CeleryLeafHighDifficultNNNN
Cress and MustardLeafMediumModerateYYYY
KaleLeafLowEasyNNNN
Kohlrabi, leaf cropLeafLowEasyYYNN
Lettuce, leafLeafMediumModerateYYYY
MizunaLeafLowEasyYYYY
MorogoLeafLowEasyNYYN
Oriental CabbagesLeafMediumEasyNNNN
Pak ChoiLeafLowEasyYYYY
RhubarbLeafMediumEasyNNNN
SpinachLeafMediumVariableNYYN
Swiss chardLeafLowEasyNYNN
BeetrootRootLowEasyNYNN
CarrotRootLowModerateNYNN
PotatoRootMediumEasyNYYN
RadishRootMediumEasyNYYN
Sweet potatoRootMediumEasyNNNN
TurnipsRootMediumModerateNYYY
Broad beansLegumeLowEasyYYYY
Bush beansLegumeLowEasyNYNN
Runner beansLegumeLowEasyNYNN
PeasLegumeLowEasyYYYY
Artichoke (globe)FruitMediumModerateNNNN
CucumberFruitMediumEasyNYNN
EggplantFruitMediumModerateNYNN
MealiesFruitMediumEasyNNNN
MelonsFruitMediumModerateNNNN
OkraFruitMediumModerateNNNN
Peppers, hotFruitMediumEasyNNNN
Peppers, sweetFruitHighEasyNNNN
PumpkinFruitMediumEasyNYNN
Squash, bushFruitMediumEasyNYNN
Squash, trailingFruitMediumEasyNYNN
TomatoesFruitMediumEasyNYNN
GarlicBulbMediumModerateNNNN
LeeksBulbHighDifficultNNYN
OnionsBulbHighDifficultNNYY
Spring onionsBulbMediumModerateNNNN
BasilHerbLowEasyNNNN
ChamomileHerbLowEasyNNNN
ChervilHerbLowEasyYYYY
ChivesHerbLowEasyNNNN
CorianderHerbLowEasyYYYY
DillHerbLowEasyNNNN
FennelHerbLowEasyNNNN
Garlic ChivesHerbLowEasyNNNN
LovageHerbLowEasyNNNN
NasturtiumHerbLowEasyNNNN
ParsleyHerbLowEasyNNNN
RueHerbLowEasyNNNN
SageHerbLowEasyNNNN
SorrelHerbLowEasyNNNN

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Comments

  1. Karel de Waal says:

    Hi Di-Di, When should I sow celeriac seed? Can one treat celeriac the same as celery? In other words, sow celeriac at the same time that you would sow celery. Many thanks & regards, Karel de Waal

  2. Daniel Joorst says:

    I’d like to know what dill is and in what dishes it is used

  3. Are u able to tell me where on the internet one can download a free south African annual lunar calendar? And I’m really enjoying and learning from yr site. Thanks Di Di

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