Just because vegetable gardening is ‘a patience exercise’ it doesn’t mean you can’t try your hand at it.
For all fond gardeners out there who can’t stand the long lines when purchasing fresh produce, we have neatly gathered up 15 of the fastest growing veggies for you to plant this season:
1. Sunflower shoots take only 12 days
The sunflower shoots, or sunflower greens, or sunflower sprouts, may appear tiny and brittle, but they do pack a blow of nutrients! Harvest them by cutting the stems once they have 2 leaves, but earlier than they show their ‘true leaves’ because sunflower shoots become bitter as they age.
2. Garden cress takes 14 days
Yes, it gets ready to harvest in as little as 14 days! The garden cress can be sowed in the early spring – or as soon as the soil can be worked. Since it is a garden space-saver, only a small patch of cress can supply you with an abundance of this tangy herb.
3. Radishes take up to 21 days
Spring radishes are a cool season crop, so they grow best at 10-18 degrees Celsius (50-65 degrees Fahrenheit). Once they are put in soil, you will see leafy green shoots above the surface in just 3-4 days. Keep planting seeds every 7 days for continuous rich harvest throughout the spring and fall.
4. Green onions take 21 days
Green onions (aka scallions) are fast-sprouting plants that can be cut back to their base over and over again season around. Once their green shoots reach a height of 15 centimeters (6 inches), they are ready for the first go-round of harvesting.
5. Tatsoi takes 25 days
The tatsoi is low-growing mustard green. It is a wonderful ‘companion’ for salads and soups. Baby tatsoi leaves can be harvested as soon as they reach 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length, or you can wait the full 40 days for the tatsoi to grow to its full size.
6. Lettuce takes 30 days
This is another cool-weather vegetable that prefers temperatures from 16-21 degrees Celsius (60-70⁰F). The lettuce seeds should be planted in early spring and late summer. Out of the 5 types of lettuce [loose-leaf, cos, crisphead, butterhead, and stem], the leaf-lettuce varieties such as the green-leaf and the red-leaf ones are considered the easiest to cultivate, and are more tolerant to hot weather. Busy planting of new seeds every 2 weeks will provide you with a good harvest.
7. Spinach takes 30 days
The spinach is a cold hardy herbal that can be planted as soon as the snow melts. It is an amazingly-resilient veggie – it is able to survive in temperatures as low as -9⁰C (15⁰F)!
You should pluck the outer spinach leaves from the plant as it grows, or re-sow seeds every 2 weeks, to get successive harvests. Do not wait too long to gather your spinach, or its leaves will become bitter once the plant reaches full maturity.
8. Arugula takes 30 days
Since the arugula seeds germinate quite well in cooler soils, they can be planted as soon as the garden bed can be worked (which is after the soil has thawed). Sow seeds every 2-3 weeks for an uninterrupted harvest.
9. Kale takes 30 days
This ‘cut-and-come back-again’ plant has young and tender leaves. It can be culled continually all over the growing season once the plant is about 6 centimeters (=2 inches) tall.
Note: Avoid picking the central bud since this keeps the kale growing and productive.
10. Bok Choy takes 30 – 45 days
The Bok choy — also called Pak choy or the Chinese cabbage — is a cold-weather vegetable that is best planted in the spring and fall. Its baby leaves can be harvested in 30 days, or you may wait for another week for full-sized Bok choy heads.
11. Turnips take 30 – 55 days
Turnips get ready to harvest in less than 2 months when grown for their large bulbs. Cultivars can also choose to pluck turnips from the soil early for a sampling of tender, sweet, mild-tasting roots.
When a turnip green reaches a diameter of about 6 centimeters (=2 inches), it can be topped as well and added to fresh salads.
12. Beets take 35 – 60 days
Since they have edible bits above and below the soil, red beet cultivars get quality greens that are ready to be picked about a month after planting. Beet leaves can be eaten both raw and cooked, but only snip off a leaf or two from each plant so as not to impede root production.
When beet ‘shoulders’ begin to protrude from the soil after another month, the time has come to pull the plant from the ground.
13. Zucchini take 40 – 50 days
A single zucchini plant will produce between 6 and 10 pounds of fruit each planting season. Once zucchini begins to flower, fruits will be ready to harvest in a ‘very short notice’ that is in about 4-8 days. It is a true ‘bumper crop,’ right?
For better results, we recommend you to plant the Eight Ball, Seneca, Gold Rush, or Spacemiser varieties.
14. Bush beans take 40 – 55 days
Bush beans are truly a good choice for a beginner gardener because they require minimum maintenance and are easy to grow. Different than pole bean varieties, they do not need the support of a stake or trellis, and will spread up to 60 centimeters (2 feet). Successively sow new seeds every 2 weeks in order to reach staggered harvests!
15. Broccoli rabe takes 40 – 60 days
This plant is considered a ‘distant relative’ of the ‘normal broccoli.’ The broccoli rabe [or broccoli rapini] is actually closer to the turnip and mustard’s families.
With leafy shoots surrounding a cluster of green buds on thick stems, all parts of the broccoli rabe are comestible and can be added raw to salads, sautéed with garlic and oil, or just boiled in soups.
We recommend that you plant the Quarantina or Sessantina varieties for a quicker harvest.