What are the best vegetables to plant in May in North Carolina?
Finding the best vegetables to plant in May in North Carolina was not as easy as I thought. Some require extensive care, others are prone to pests, and lots are just not simple & quick enough to grow.
That’s why I created a list of the 10 Best Vegetables to Plant in May in North Carolina!
This ultimate guide will give you the best vegetables to grow, why you should grow them, and even how to grow them.
Read THIS Before Planting Vegetables in May in North Carolina!
Knowing what hardiness zone North Carolina is in is critical to understanding the best vegetables that can be grown in May.
It can be the difference between your vegetable garden thriving and providing a bountiful yield or producing nothing.
North Carolina is mostly considered Hardiness Zone 5, while some of the lower-level regions are Hardiness Zone 6.
10 Best Vegetables to Plant in May in North Carolina
Popular Varieties: Butterhead, Boston, Loose Leaf
Why Plant Lettuce in May in North Carolina?
- Lettuce thrives in North Carolina’s cooler fall months. Unlike other vegetables, this plant can grow even when there is snow or frost on the ground making it the perfect vegetable to plant in May in North Carolina.
- Lettuce may be the easiest vegetable to grow. You do not need to fertilize it, only need to water it once a week, and it can be planted in any soil.
Perfect for ANY Garden:
- Lettuce is perfect for urban gardening and even gardeners with little space. It is great in gardening containers, raised garden beds, and even indoors.
Harvested All Year:
- Lettuce can be harvested all year. The more you harvest lettuce the more it will grow. This is even true in Aprl and early fall months.
THESE Could Harm Your Lettuce
- Deer, Rabbits, & Squirrels LOVE Lettuce. If left unprotected these pests will eat your vegetable before it can even grow.
- You’ll most likely find slugs on your lettuce in May when the weather is cool or wet. If you plant it in the shade where the soil is damp you should expect slugs too.
- While rare in North Carolina Fall, this can cause your lettuce to flower and become inedible. Make sure to plant your lettuce in partial shade to avoid this.
Learn How To Grow Lettuce HERE
Popular Varieties: Curly, Lacinato, Red Russian, Ornamental
Why Plant Kale in May in North Carolina?
- Kale is the hardiest vegetable when it comes to cold in North Carolina. Unlike any other vegetable on this list, Kale can be grown throughout the entire year.
- Kale is the only vegetable on this list that can also be considered an ornamental plant. This means it can add color, features, and beauty to any type of garden.
Perfect in Pots:
- If there is any vegetable that can be grown in gardening pots in North Carolina, it’s Kale. This is one of the most adaptive vegetables, making it perfect for beginner gardeners in North Carolina.
THESE Could Harm Your Lettuce
- Like many other vegetables, aphids are one insect you don’t want. Aphids are especially prevalent in North Carolina and can stunt or kill your kale.
- Like lettuce Kale does not tolerate extreme heat. After just a week in temperatures over 90 degrees, Fahrenheit and direct sunlight Kale can flower and become inedible.
Learn How To Grow Kale HERE
Popular Varieties: Big boy, Cherokee, Cherry
Why Plant Tomatoes in May in North Carolina?
Thrives in the heat:
- While some vegetables are cold-hardy, Tomatoes thrive in North Carolina’s warm weather. If you want the tastiest tomatoes you should grow them in spring.
Great for Vertical Gardening:
- Peas are one of the few vegetables that are perfect for vertical gardening. Vertical Gardening is popular in the cities of North Carolina and even in the suburbs where land for horizontal growing is scarce.
Perfect in Raised Garden Beds:
- Tomatoes do not need much room. They also grow great among other vegetables and plants. This makes it perfect for raised garden beds, which is one of the most popular techniques of gardening in North Carolina.
THESE Could Harm Your Tomatoes
- Deer, Rabbits, & Squirrels LOVE start to come out and become hungry in spring. One of the first plants they eat is tomatoes. Whether protected or unprotected pests pose a risk to growing tomatoes in North Carolina.
- While most vegetables grow in North Carolina’s cooler weather, tomatoes cannot. Any temperature, but heat will pose a risk to growth & tastiness.
Learn How to Grow Tomatoes HERE
Popular Varieties: Pepo, Moschata, Maxima
Why Plant Pumpkins in May in North Carolina?
Great Ground Cover:
- Not only are pumpkins great plants to sell, but they are perfect ground cover. This means less maintenance and works for you and more time working on making more money selling your vegetables.
- Pumpkins are a form of squash. There are orange, white, and green pumpkins you can sell. Not only this, but you can sell other forms of squash, including spaghetti, acorn, and so much more!
THESE Could Harm Your Pumpkins
- People love pumpkins. Pests do too. While your pumpkin plant is growing and flowering the biggest threat is pests. Deer, Rabbits, and other small animals can quickly destroy your crop.
Learn why Pumpkins are one of the BEST Vegetables to Grow in North Carolina HERE.
Popular Varieties: Zucchini, Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti
Why Plant Squash in May in North Carolina?
Thrives in the heat & cold:
- Squash is one of the most versatile vegetables. Some varieties can be grown in cold weather, some can be grown in warmer weather, and some are perfect to be grown in both types of weather. This makes it ideal for planting and growing in the fall.
Provides All-Fall Harvest:
- Squash is one of the few vegetables that you will harvest from as early as fall to early winter if planted right. This means you will be able to enjoy or store it all year long.
- Squash may be the best vegetable on this list to help to cross-pollinate other vegetables in the fall. Plant squash next to tomatoes, beans, carrots, and cucumbers for even more vegetables.
THESE Could Harm Your Squash
Birds, Squirrels, Rabbits, & Chipmunks:
- These pests will generally not harm your actual squash vegetables. What they will do though is immediately eat squash flowers if you do not protect them with netting or rodent spray.
- This is a little different than other vegetables. Squash requires lots of room to grow. If you try growing it in gardening pots, raised garden beds, or small gardens there is a chance that it will take over other vegetables or just not produce the harvest you want.
Learn How to Grow squash HERE
#6. Swiss Chard
Popular Varieties: Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Rhubarb
Why Plant Kohlrabi in May in North Carolina?
Thrives in the heat & cold:
- Swiss Chard is another vegetable that will thrive in Fall weather that is hot but is also perfect for cooler to cold fall and early winter. You can harvest carrots even after the ground has frosted over.
Lots & Lots of Harvest:
- Swiss Chard is one of the few vegetables that you can harvest from late summer to early winter. This means you will be able to enjoy it all year long.
Perfect for Small Spaces:
- The wonderful thing about carrots is that it is a vegetable that is perfect for small spaces. You can plant a lot of swiss chard seeds in a very small space.
THESE Could Harm Your Swiss Chard
- Pests such as rabbits and squirrels love swiss chard plants. These pests will generally not harm your actual swiss chard vegetables. What they will do though is immediately eat carrot leaves if you do not protect them with netting or rodent spray.
Did you know Swiss Chard is fast becoming one of America’s favorite vegetables to eat no matter what time of year it is?
Popular Varieties: Flat, Savoy, Semi-Savoy
Why Plant Spinach in May in North Carolina?
- Spinach thrives in North Carolina’s cooler fall months. Unlike other vegetables, this plant can grow even when there is snow or frost on the ground.
Perfect for Gardening Pots:
- Spinach is one of the few vegetables that can be grown any time of the year in pots. No matter what the weather is like you can grow spinach in gardening pots on your deck, patio, or raised garden bed and enjoy this nutritional vegetable in the fall.
THESE Could Harm Your Spinach
- Like lettuce, collard greens, and kale pests love spinach. They will particularly feast on spinach in the fall months when food and vegetation start to become scarce.
Learn How to Grow Spinach HERE
#8. Green Beans
Popular Varieties: Bush & Pole
Why Plant Green Beans in May in North Carolina?
Thrives in Droughts:
- Unlike other vegetables, Green Beans do not require a lot of water to grow, flower, and bloom into a crop that can be harvested more than once. This is great for the unusually dry summers.
Great for Vertical Gardening:
- If you want a vegetable that grows up a pole then no look further than the pole green beans. This green bean was created specifically for vertical gardening making it perfect to grow in fall above the cold ground.
THESE Could Harm Your Green Beans
- Green Beans are one of the few vegetables that require constant insect control. Insects can quickly destroy your green beans’ leaves before flowers grow and can destroy the vegetable itself if not properly cared for.
- If the weather drops to freezing before green beans form expect your green beans to not grow, become stunted, and potentially even die. This means you should grow your vegetable well after the last frost.
Learn How to Grow Green Beans HERE
Popular Varieties: Bell, Jalapeno, Bananas
Why Plant Peppers in May in North Carolina?
Thrives in Droughts:
- Like Carrots and other crops, Peppers require little water, sunlight, and even pest care. This makes it great for full-sun and partial-sun garden areas.
- Peppers are one of the few vegetables that can survive temperatures well into triple digits. This means you can plant, grow, and harvest your spring and summer!
THESE Could Harm Your Peppers
- Almost all of the vegetables on this can grow in any type of soil. The one exception is peppers. Peppers need loamy and small particle soil. If it is planted in clay soil it will not grow at all.
The biggest tip I have when growing Peppers in North Carolina is to give your vegetable enough space. Most gardeners plant peppers or pepper seeds too close to one another, inhibiting the size and flavor of your vegetable.
Popular Varieties: Green and Purple
Why Plant Cabbages in May in North Carolina?
- Cabbage thrives in wet, cool conditions. The more water it gets the better and most delicious it will taste. Fall is the perfect time to not only grow but also harvest cabbage.
- This may be one of the most underrated factors for growing cabbage in North Carolina. There are a handful of types of cabbage, all of which can be grown throughout fall.
THESE Could Harm Your Cabbage
This may seem strange, but the gardener is most prone to harm your cabbage. Most gardeners will harvest cabbage either when it is too hard or too soft. Not only this, but gardeners tend to overfertilize cabbage causing too big of an inedible plant.
The biggest tip for growing eggplant is not to fertilize them. Fertilizing will cause your eggplants to become too large and too hard, sacrificing the taste and color of your vegetable.
Common Growing Factors of North Carolina’s Best Vegetables to Plant in May
As a reminder, the below factors are common for the Best Vegetables to Plant in May in North Carolina:
- Thrives in Heat & Drought
- Thrives in Cold
- Can Grow in Vertical Gardens
- Hardy against Pests & Insects
- Can be planted in ALL Types of Garden
- Great Cross-Pollinator