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Fast Growing Vegetables for a Quick Harvest

Looking for a quick production turnaround on your vegetable garden? Fast-growing vegetables are defined as those that grow between 21 to 60 days before harvest and are a great solution for those who live in climates with short growing seasons.

Raised garden beds filled with crops.

Not only do fast-growing vegetables allow you to get the most production out of your garden, they also provide the opportunity to enjoy a more sustainable and sufficient lifestyle.

Read on to learn what grows quickly and is easy to plant from seed, whether indoor or outdoor, to make the most of your summer or fall garden. 

Types of Fast Growing Vegetables

There are many different types of fast-growing plants like greens, fruits, roots, and other veggies. Within a month, you can start harvesting them for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Most of the vegetable seeds like to be planted in cool soil around 58℉-60℉, while the fruit seeds tend to like warmer soils around 68℉. Temperature is important, but all plants need lots of sun to grow.

Salad Greens

There’s nothing better than a fresh salad, and growing your own greens makes it even better. Most greens take about 30 days until the beginning of harvest. The best part about greens is that they are a “cut and come again” vegetable which allows you to harvest greens all season long.

  • Arugula – Give this vegetable a month to grow, and you will have some peppery-tasting greens to add to any salad.
  • Spinach – One of the easiest and most popular greens to grow. Spinach is great in salads, sandwiches, smoothies, pizza, and more!
  • Lettuce – This very versatile leafy green. Create a fresh salad or add some crunch to a sandwich.
  • Mustard Greens – Harvest mustard greens when they are young because they can be bitter in flavor if the leaves get too big. They are a great addition to salads and soups.
  • Kale – A large leafy green often touted as a “superfood.” Kale is a good source of vitamins A, K, B6, & C.
  • Swiss Chard – One of our family favorites! Swiss chard is great to use in all different kinds of meals.
  • Collard Greens – Ever made Southern collard greens? This in itself is reason enough to grow this leafy vegetable.
A woman holding a bunch of freshly harvested beets.

Root Vegetables

Some root vegetables are fast-growing and low maintenance. These root vegetables are a great way to add variety to any garden.

  • Radishes – This spicy root vegetable is one of the fastest-growing vegetables. Within 21 days, you can be picking these little red veggies.
  • Green Onion (Scallions) – Scallions are young green onions used to add flavor to many dishes. Scallions could be ready to harvest within 30 days, and green onions will be ready in about 50 days.
  • Turnips – This leafy, white root vegetable can be used in two ways. Within 40 days, you can start eating the green leaves, and at 60 days, you can start eating the large roots. 
  • Beets – Another two-in-one vegetable. The beet greens can be eaten early, and about 60 days after planting, you can eat the sugary root. Beets have a red and purple root and are often eaten raw, boiled, pickled or roasted.  
  • Baby Carrots – Baby carrots are bright, flavorful vegetables that can be ready to harvest within 40 days.
Zucchini growing in a raised garden bed.

Fast Growing Fruit

When we think about a garden, we usually envision vegetables, but many of the plants are biologically classified as fruits. Some fast-growing fruits are as follows: 

  • Zucchini (Summer Squash) – Zucchini and summer squash are actually a fruit and will be ready to eat in 45 to 55 days. They will continue to produce fruit until frost. 
  • Cucumbers – Between 55 to 60 days, you can have this flavorful fruit ready to pick and eat. Use it in salads, sandwiches, to make pickles or just eat it straight out of the garden!
  • Bush Beans –  This fast-growing fruit is from the legume family and is typically ready in 50 days. Bush beans can be canned, eaten fresh, or sauteed. 
  • Snow Peas – Within 60 days, these pea pods will be ready to harvest and add to eat right off the vine or added to salads, stir-fries, and more. 
Swiss chard being picked from a garden by a dirty hand.

Other Fast Growing Vegetables

When grown in an ideal environment, some vegetables can take about 60 days to harvest. These vegetables should be considered for an early start in a greenhouse.

  • Broccoli – Within 60 days, you can have broccoli heads ready to steam.
  • Cabbage – Cabbage can also be ready to harvest within 60 days under the right conditions.
  • Bok Choy – This cabbage-related vegetable will be ready in 45 to 60 days and is commonly used in many different Asian-style dishes.
Soil blocks in a wooden tray.

Starting Fast Growing Vegetables From Seed 

Fast-growing vegetables can be planted directly into the soil, or you can begin your planting indoors (or in a greenhouse). It will be beneficial to know your plant growing zones to help make decisions on when and where to start your fast-growing vegetables and fruits.

Another helpful tip is to read the labels on the seed packets for information on how long each seed will take to germinate.

Lettuce growing in a greenhouse.

Indoors or a Greenhouse 

Planting your greens, broccoli and cabbage early in a greenhouse will optimize your growing season. When planting inside, you can start planting much earlier or even grow greens year-round. Having control over the plant’s growing environment helps accelerate the growing period. 

We started our broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, greens and swiss chard in the greenhouse from seed and then transplanted them a few weeks later. We transplant our plants following Eliot Colman seed spacing method, which spaces the vegetables a specific distance apart to give the vegetable room to grow and fill in. After transplanting, we also use compost tea to give the roots a nutrient boost.

A boy and his father adding a row cover over hoops in the garden.

Seeds Directly in the Soil

Directly sowing the seeds in the garden is an easy way to get started, but when you direct sow the seeds, you will cut your growing time down. However, seeds sown directly will have stronger stocks and roots. Root vegetables are not easy to transplant and are best suited to planting directly into the ground.

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Hi, I'm Justin

I share from a love of teaching and the sustainable movement. Here, you’ll find exhaustive permaculture articles, plentiful photos, cinematic educational films and business tips and tricks.

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