So you want to grow some veggies quickly, eh? Maybe you are starting your first vegetable garden or just want to buy fewer things from the store. Either way, these 9 vegetables will give you a quick return on the time you invest. They grow quickly and they help put food on the table for your family.
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Tomatoes are by far my favourite thing to grow but they are definitely not quick! So it is nice to have some things in the garden that are ready to harvest soon after planting. Fall harvest is my favourite, but it is nice to have the return on investment throughout the season as well. Plus, you can harvest them all season long with some planing and succession planting. So without further ado, let’s look at the 9 vegetables that grow quickly.
You will quickly notice that just about every variety I mention are heirloom varieties. I believe. very strongly that heirlooms offer the best nutrients, variety and allow for self-sufficiency as you can save seeds year over year. If you want to know more about why you should be growing heirloom seeds, click here.
Radishes (25 days)
When making any list of vegetables that grow quickly, radishes should be top of any list. Ready to harvest in just 25 days from sowing, they are the ideal veggie to grow quickly. They are also a great first vegetable to grow, along with lettuce, which is perfect for making some salad! They are among the fastest of the vegetable that grow quickly and there are some really cool varieties you can add to your garden. I have your run of the mill radishes but I upped my game by adding some watermelon radish and at The Hubby’s request also some Japanese wasabi radish.
Leafy greens (30-60 days)
Lettuce (30-45 days)
There are so many amazing varieties of lettuce and they grow so quickly! You can literally be harvesting your lettuce 30 days after planting! Plus who wants to pay for an overpriced run of the mill lettuce from the grocery store? There are. so many heirloom varieties that contain way more vitamins than that old iceberg lettuce (apologies if that is your favourite). Currently, I have 5 varieties that I grow, all of which are heirlooms from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. In my garden (and in my Aerogarden) you will find Buttercrunch, Butter King, Tom Thumb (it is ADORABLE and so tiny!), Forellenschuluss (don’t ask me to say it) and Garnet Rose lettuce.
Kale (60 days)
I am learning to love kale, it was definitely not something I grew up eating. When it came time to have salad we only had iceberg lettuce! I tried kale chips once and I must have done something wrong as they didn’t turn out great. The main way that I use it is to chop it up small and freeze it. Then I can add it to smoothies, soups, stews or anything really. I am pretty excited to grow some beautiful scarlet kale that I just ordered.
Arugala (30-45 days)
Arugala is another fast-growing leafy green, which you can expect to start harvesting 30-45 days from planting. I love it’s somewhat spicy peppery taste. I love having it in a portobello, goat cheese and tomato sandwich with a bit of guacamole! It is great for succession planting up until the hot summer temperatures arrive. However, you can start planting it again as the temperature cools off in the fall. Plant it in a cold frame and you can even keep it going partway through the winter (or longer depending on where you live!). If you are lucky enough to have some backyard chickens then be warned that this is a favourite of theirs too!
Spinach (30-45 days)
I love growing spinach, as it is one of those powerhouse vegetables that is full of iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamin A, C and K1. I use it in my smoothies as well as in my favourite Italian wedding soup. As an added bonus it can be harvested between 30-45 days after you plant it! I love my heirloom seeds and this year I am growing Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Bok choy (25-50 days)
If you love stir fry then you probably love bok choy! I am growing Shanghai green pak choy and the gorgeous purple lady bok choy. I am obsessed with these Hedou tiny bok choys which are just perfect to pop in your wok! I recently came across a recipe for some Ginger garlic noodle soup with bok choy that I am eager to try. I’m thinking the Hedou bok choy will be perfect for it! When looking for vegetables that grow quickly and are adorable I can think of no better candidate than the Hedou tiny bok choy!
Beets (50 days)
These are one of my dad’s favourites, especially when I turn them in pickled beets! Personally I like them best raw and grated onto salads. There are lots of different kinds of beets all of which are jam-packed full of essential nutrients including folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Each “seed” is actually a clump of seeds so you will have to thin them as they grow. Some of my favorites are Chioggia, golden beets and Tanus.
Bush beans (50 days)
I love beans, especially the red swan bush beans which I eat right out of the garden. Honestly, they rarely make it into the house! The key to growing beans (and quickly) is to soak them overnight in some water. This helps to speed up germination which is key when you want to harvest food quickly from the garden. They can be ready in just 50 days from planting and with sucession planting, you can enjoy them all season long.
Green Onions/Scallions (60 days)
Who doesn’t like green onions? I’m a huge fan of both Mexican and Thai cooking which both use green onions and LOTS of cilantro (which I also adore). Plus buying green onions at the store gets expensive. This year I am trying out these Red Welsh Bunching onions. I’m a sucker for anything that adds colour (and extra nutrients) to my garden. I love topping just about anything with some chopped up green onions.
I remember it being life-changing when as a teenager I discovered tuns fish sandwiches. while babysitting (I grew up VERY British so we never had these, beans on toast we had, but not tuna fish sandwiches). It was hilarious having the kids have to walk me through how to make them. Mayonaise and green onions with tuna fish? Well, let me tell you I was hooked and survived on these for much of high school. These are another great item to regrow from scraps!
Turnips (30-60 days)
Turnips (also known as Swede or Rutabaga) are defineitly amongst the vegetables that grow quickly, taking only 30 days when harvested small. They also keep well which is win-win in my books. They are at their best when left in the ground for a full 60 days but that is still within our 8-week timeframe! I use these when I am making my dad some of his favourite Branston Pickle. It’s not for me but the man loves it. So as a good daughter I dutifully make it every year for him at Christmas along with my small batch mango chutney.
Peas (60 days)
Peas please! Have you tried sugar snap peas? They are my absolute favourite (Bacon, our Frenchie loves them too, and beans). While they are on the upper end of our spectrum at 60 days, they still start producing relatively quickly after planting. Remember how I mentioned love adding colour to my garden? Well, I am also growing these Desiree Dwarf Blauwschokkers Garden Peas. I just love the purple pods contrasted with the bright green peas (very similar to the purple lady bok choy I mentioned above). A colourful vegetable garden is a nutritionally dense vegetable garden, which is a good thing for everyone.
Swiss Chard. (40 days)
I am the first to admit that I have not been a fan of Swiss chard for most of my life. My mum loves to tell the story of when I jumped on the Swiss chard in her garden as a kid so I didn’t have to eat it. My how things have changed! Now I am growing it in my garden and hydroponically in my Aerogarden. I love growing the rainbow chard, with it’s vibrant yellow or red stems its just a beauty in the garden. Not to mention it’s damn good for you (which is probably why my mum was growing it in the first place). It’s like celery on steroids, but it’s actually a member of the same family as beetroots. Which, if you have seen beet and chard seeds makes sense immediately. It is a nutritional powerhouse full of loads of vitamin A, K and C as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and more.
You will find broccoli and carrots on many lists of vegetables that grow quickly. I didn’t include them on mine (other than just mentioning them here of course) as it calls for harvesting them before their prime. Sure you can get “baby” carrots or small broccoli florets within a short period of time but I would rather wait until they have reached their full potential!
Another quick win are herbs, I mention them here as they aren’t true vegetables but they definitely start producing quickly. Plus it is way better than having to go and buy overpriced bunches of hers at the store only to use a wee bit and forget about the rest in the crisper! If you do end up getting them from the store then be sure to make some herb butters with the leftovers so you don’t waste anything.
So there you have it, my list of 9 vegetables that grow quickly. All of which are currently growing in my own garden! If you need more information on starting your own vegetable garden I have you covered! There is something amazing about knowing that you can grow at least some of your own food. Even better if you can go from garden to plate in a short period of time!