With everything going on in the world right now, you may have decided to start growing some of your own food. And if so, you probably want that food as soon as possible. And while growing a garden definitely doesn’t happen overnight, there are some vegetables that grow quicker than others. Below are some fast growing vegetables that you can start growing today.
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Fast Growing Vegetables to Grow Right Now!
These are some of the fastest growing vegetables you can plant. Keep in mind, the days to harvest will depend on your growing conditions.
If you are looking at seed packets in a store, some will tell you how many days to harvest but many will not. That’s why I’ve included some recommended varieties that should grow a bit faster. However, if you are searching in your store, Ferry-Morse seed company DOES include days to harvest on their packets.
Microgreens are truly the quickest vegetable to grow. They can be ready to eat in less than 3 weeks! Microgreens are typically grown indoors and make a really fun project for the kids.
I got some great microgreen seed from True Leaf Market.
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Radishes are probably the fastest growing vegetable you can plant outside. Some varieties of radishes can be ready in about a month. If you think you don’t like eating radishes, try roasting them. Add a few to a medley of other vegetables and give them a try. I personally don’t like radishes raw, but they are delicious roasted. Recommended varieties include Cherry Belle (22 days) and Easter Egg (28 days).
To get the most bang for your buck, I recommend growing lettuce. Even a small pack contains lots of seed, and you can eat lettuce at any stage. Lettuce usually only takes about 30 days. As soon as lettuce is baby-leaf size, you can start cutting leaves from the outside of the plant. You can also wait until the plant is full grown and harvest the whole head at once.
The plants will continue to produce leaves from the inside for quite a while. Many times, the heat will kill the lettuce before it stops producing new leaves.
Lettuce is one of the first vegetables I recommend to new gardeners because it is so easy. As long as you keep the soil moist, the seeds germinate quickly. That’s why it is one of my favorite vegetables for children to grow too.
I’m not going to list any recommended varieties here because I haven’t found a variety of lettuce that I don’t like yet. However, for the fastest growing lettuce, choose a leaf lettuce, not a head lettuce like iceberg.
Just like lettuce, spinach is another fast growing leafy vegetable. It is ready to harvest in approximately 5-6 weeks. Space (41 days) and the heirloom Bloomsdale Longstanding (42 days) are two of my favorite varieties. However, I have seen the variety Lakeside that is ready in 25-30 days.
Swiss chard is a bit of an unusual vegetable, but it is a great quick growing vegetable. It can be eaten in many ways. Swiss chard can be harvested as baby salad greens or it can be cooked like spinach. Plus it looks fantastic in your flower gardens too, especially the Bright Lights variety (55 days).
For an even quicker harvest, try the Fire Fresh variety. It is ready in 23-35 days for use as baby greens which is even faster than baby spinach or baby leaf lettuce!
Plant These Fast Growing Vegetables After Your Last Frost
Once your last expected frost date has passed, these are some fast growing vegetetables suitable for a summer garden. Don’t know your last spring frost date? You can find it here.
Summer Squash and Zucchini
There are many varieties of summer squash and zucchini that are surprisingly quick growers. One of my favorite varieties of zucchini, Raven, only takes 43 days to produce the deep green fruits. Bossa Nova, a light green squash, is ready to harvest in about 37 days. If you don’t mind round zucchini, you can pick Eight Ball Zucchini in about 35 days.
For quick growing yellow squash, your best options are Enterprise or Dixie Yellow Crookneck which are both ready in approximately 41 days.
The majority of cucumber varieties take between 50 and 65 days to produce full size cucumbers. However, there are several varieties that do mature sooner. I recently came across the Little Tyke Baby Cucumber which is ready to eat in 36 days. Pick-A-Bushel (50 days) is perfect for growing cucumbers in containers.
One of my favorite varieties, Homemade Pickles, is ready in 55 days. That’s still less than two months. Remember the shorter, fatter cucumbers that are called pickling cucumbers are typically suitable for fresh eating too. And they are usually ready to eat sooner than “slicing” cucumbers.
Green Beans are another summer vegetable that produces a harvest fairly quickly. For the fastest yield, stick with bush beans. The one downside to bush beans is that they sometimes will not produce all season. Either plant more beans every 3 weeks or so, or plant some bush beans for an early harvest and plant some pole beans that will keep producing all summer. (Learn more about growing green beans.)
I’ve grown Nickel green beans (53 days) before and I like this variety because it tolerates both hot and cold temperatures well. It is also a heavy producer so you get a lot of beans in a small space.
Other varieties to try include Speedy (50 days), Strike (45 days), and Contender (40 days). For something different try the purple variety Royal Burgundy (51 days).
Grow Something to Eat!
So there you have it! Some of the fastest vegetables you can grow. Every single one of these vegetables can also be grown in containers if you are short on space. And they also make a fun project to grow with the kids.
So are you starting a garden for the first time this year? Did you decide to do it because of what is going on in the world right now?