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Waiting for vegetables to mature is one of the hardest parts of vegetable gardening. You spent all this time preparing; all you want is some fresh veggies. That’s why you need to grow a few of the fastest-growing vegetables in your garden!
Not all veggie plants grow quickly. Some take over 100 days to mature, but some are ready in as little as two months or less. Having a mixture in your garden means that you always have something to harvest when you walk around the garden beds.
If you are gardening with your children, it is nice to have some quick growing veggies to keep their interest in the garden! It’s also good to have veggies that can be quickly harvested for food security. So if you want to know which are the fastest-growing vegetables, here are 13 of my favorites.
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What is a Fast-Growing Vegetable?
Are you wondering what a fast-growing vegetable even is? There are a few ways that we pick out the veggies that grow quickly, but in this list, we look at the days to maturity.
Days to maturity are based on the time you either sow the seeds outside or plant the seedlings outdoors. It’s important to note that it doesn’t include the time that you start the seedlings inside. Some long-growing vegetables take up to 120 days to reach full maturity.
On average, we want vegetables that mature in 60 days or less. So, from the time you put them outside to the first harvest, it should be two months or less. That is what we consider a fast-growing veggie.
If your vegetable garden is in a shady area, your veggies may take even longer to reach full maturity. See my article 30 Vegetables that Grow in the Shade for more tips on growing veggies in the shade.
13 Fastest-Growing Vegetables
Arugula often has the nickname “Rocket” because it matures so quickly. It has a delicious mild peppery taste that works perfectly in a salad blend. I find that it adds the perfect bite to boring salads.
Arugula may be sown directly into the garden or start the seeds indoors. Starting the seeds indoors gives the plants a head start, but it is not necessary. Arugula takes around 40 days to mature in the garden. Sow the seeds and thin when they’re one inch tall, leaving four-six inches between the plants. Harvest when you are ready to enjoy the greens.
Beets are a veggie that either you love or hate. And you get two harvests from one vegetable, with greens and the beetroot itself! Beet greens are a delicious addition to growing these root veggies; they’re edible and taste great mixed in salads.
The best time to plant beets is in the spring or the fall when the temperatures are cooler. This plant does not like high heat. It takes around 50 days for some beet varieties to reach full maturity, and the greens are ready for harvesting 30 days after planting.
You must sow beet seeds directly into the ground. They’re a root crop, so it’s not a good idea to try to transplant them into the garden.
- Bush Beans
Bush beans are one of my favorite crops to grow. They mature much faster than pole beans, and you can sow more right after the first crop to get two harvests. I usually plant my first round of bush beans in the middle of May, and by the middle to end of July, I sow my second and expect a harvest by September. I usually put this second batch in right where I harvest my garlic from.
Bush beans mature in 50-60 days, depending on the variety that you grow. All of the beans will ripen at one time, so be prepared to harvest them and preserve them quickly. See How to Freeze Your Green Beans.
Sow the bean seeds directly into the ground after the danger of frost passes. Make sure to soak your seeds ahead of time before planting because it helps to encourage germination rates. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and when the pods start to appear, let them get a bit larger. Regular harvesting encourages the plant to form more pods, so don’t wait too long!
Most people don’t think of carrots as a fast-growing vegetable, but if you pick a finger-sized or baby-sized carrot, they mature in 50-55 days. Larger varieties need up to 75-80 days to mature.
One of the keys to growing healthy carrots is to have fluffy soil free of any clumps or rocks. Growing carrots in containers is an appealing choice because you know they’ll grow adequately, but if you don’t want to use containers, rake up the soil well, removing clumps and rocks. Add compost to the ground to help it develop a finer texture.
Carrots seeds need to be sown directly into the garden. Spread the seeds thinly and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil moist and wait for them to germinate, this may mean gently watering them several times a day if it is very hot or dry outside.
After they sprout, make sure to thin them to one-two inches apart. Harvest when they’re younger; it’s best to use a gardening fork to pry them loose from the soil gently.
Cucumbers are one of those quintessential plants that every gardener wants to grow in the summer. Without cucumbers, you can’t make homemade pickles, and who doesn’t love pickles? They also taste delicious in salads, eaten fresh.
Some varieties of cucumbers take 50-60 days to mature. Once matured, vining cucumbers continue to produce fruits throughout the summer. Bush cucumbers harvest all at one time, so you might have time to plant more than one round.
It’s best to sow cucumber seeds directly in the ground. It’s possible to start the seeds indoors, but they get root-bound quickly and dislike being disturbed. Make sure you have a trellis or support system to guide the vines as they grow upward. If your cucumber plants are not doing well, see Why are My Cucumber Leaves Turning Yellow?
- Green Onions
Everyone skips over green onions in favor of the globe onions, your standard red, yellow and white onions, but green onions are a versatile plant to grow. Globe onions take around six months to reach full size, but green onions mature by four weeks - seriously!
(If you do want to grow enough globe onions for your family to use throughout most of the year, see How to Store Onions for Use All Winter Long which goes over which keeping onion varieties to grow that store well).
Green onions might not taste precisely like larger onions, but they flavor dishes and act as a garnish for soups and baked potatoes. Consider growing green onions until your regular ones mature.
Kale is a delicious, nutritious leafy green that grows well in most gardens. It’s a cool-weather-loving vegetable that matures quickly, sometimes in 50-65 days. If you like the baby greens, harvest those 25 days after planting the seeds.
Kale may be sown directly outside or started inside. I found that starting kale inside gave me the best results, but you might want to try both to see what works best for your growing climate. Kale grows best in the spring and the fall; you might be able to grow it throughout the summer if you provide shade for your plants.
I bet you never realized that there are so many lettuce types, but salad leaves are versatile. There are dozens of shapes, textures, colors, and tastes. You can grow just one type or multiple types, creating your own salad blend before sowing the seeds.
Depending on the variety that you grow, lettuce takes 21-35 days to reach maturity. Some mature slower; head lettuce takes longer to form than leaf lettuce.
Lettuce is best sown directly in the ground rather than started inside but starting lettuce seeds indoors gives you a head start. After you plant the seeds, thin the seedlings to 6-10 inches apart. Ensure the soil is moist but not soggy and keep weeds away from your seedlings because they compete for vital nutrients.
Peas are a great cool-weather crop that is perfect for beginner gardeners. There is nothing to growing peas; all you have to do is plant the seeds, provide a support system, and watch them grow. It’s that simple. See Seed Starting 101: Planting Peas for more helpful tips on growing peas!
Peas mature in 50-60 days. Snow peas might take a bit longer than shelling peas. These are some of the very first crops you’ll plant in your garden. Never start peas inside; you should plant them directly into your garden next to a trellis or fence.
Who doesn’t love spinach? Not only is it one of the fastest-growing vegetables, but it is full of vitamins that your body needs. Plus, it tastes great and can be used in so many recipes.
Some spinach varieties only take 30 days to reach full maturity, while some larger-leaved types take up to 50 days.
Spinach may be sown directly into the ground or started indoors in containers. If you plant the seeds outside, thin them eight inches apart after they are an inch tall. Be careful during hot weather because spinach has a tendency to bolt, so make sure it has some shade to enjoy throughout the day.
- Summer Squash
Who doesn’t love summer squash? Zucchini is the most common type, but it’s not the only type of summer squash.
Depending on what you grow, some varieties mature in as little as 40-55 days. Larger varieties take longer.
See my article: Does Zucchini Need a Trellis + Growing Tips
It’s best to sow summer squash seeds directly outside. Their roots grow fast, and they don’t like to be transplanted. The roots often become pot-bound and moving them might potentially disrupt their growth permanently. You can also eat the flowers!
Here is another crop that people either love or hate. Turnips used to be more popular, but people brush over them in the grocery store. It is easy to forget that these root bulbs are delicious, grow fast, and store well.
Like beets, turnips produce an edible green that needs to be boiled twice to take away the bitter flavor. After you do that, cook them with bacon and onions as delicious side dishes. Or try them in my Root Veggie Mash with Butternut Squash Recipe!
Turnips are versatile and mature in 60 days. Turnip greens are ready for harvesting in 40 days. If you have never tried them, now is the time to give them a try. You might find your new best vegetable friend!
One of the fastest-growing vegetables is radishes, but they are underrated because people have no idea how to use these veggies. Try pickling them, fermenting them or roasting them with other root veggies!
Not enough gardeners grow radishes, but they are so easy to grow. Radishes are perfect for children’s gardens because they grow so quickly.
Some radish varieties mature as quickly as 25 days after you sow the seeds in the ground or potting soil. Sow the seeds thinly and space them one inch apart. It is best to sow small batches of radishes every few weeks until the end of the summer.
Radishes germinate much faster than other veggies; it typically takes three to five days. That is one of the reasons why some people sow rows of radishes between rows of carrots to help mark the rows. Keep an eye on these veggies and harvest them before they get too large because they develop a woody texture if they stay in the ground too long.
Grow These Quick Growing Veggies
Don’t wait too long for a harvest in your garden. Try some of these fast-growing vegetables like peas, radishes, kale, and arugula. You will have fresh veggies on your dinner table in no time!
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