We all know that some of the joy of gardening is just being outdoors or getting some dirt under our nails. But let’s not kid ourselves, either. We also know that harvesting and enjoying that fresh produce is a big part of the fun.
I am 100% a self-identifying restless, impatient gardener. When my first tomatoes are still green in July, I get a little nutty. That’s why I always love to have at least a few quick growing vegetables in my garden, and it’s also why I plant as early in the season as the weather will let me.
It’s true that patience is a gardener’s best friend, but quick growing vegetables make it that much easier to wait for those slow growing veggies that take their time.
There’s another advantage, too. The less time your vegetables are in the ground, the less time there is for pests and disease to get them. I definitely notice a difference between my early season tomatoes and my late-season tomatoes, and I’m sure you do too. So what are these vegetables that you can have on your dinner plate in just a few short weeks?
17 Quick growing vegetables you need in your garden
Quick-Growing Vegetables in 30 Days or Less
- Microgreens. While microgreens may not be your typical garden vegetable, they’re super nutritious, super tasty, and super fast growing. You can buy pre-mixed seed packs of different greens, and they will be ready to eat in about two weeks! You can’t ask for better than that!
- Loose leaf lettuce. Lettuce is one of those lovely greens that you can harvest over and over. It only needs around 30 days to mature.
- Spinach. Spinach is packed with nutrition, easy to care for, and will mature in about 30 days, depending on the variety. Some heirloom varieties can take a bit longer, though. The New Zealand, for example, needs about 70 days to mature.
- Kale. Kale is another of the quick growing vegetables that enjoys cool weather. In fact, a frost or two will even sweeten it up a bit. Kale is all over the place, in terms of time to maturity, though. For Red Russian and Lacinto kale, you’ll need about 60 days, while you can enjoy the Dazzling Blue in about 30 days.
- Radish. The radish will always appear on a list of quick growing vegetables. Why? Heirloom varieties like the Cherry Belle or the French Breakfast mature in just over three weeks. The Early Scarlet Globe isn’t far behind, at 28 days, and the Heirloom Salad Rose is “slow” at 30 – 35 days.
Quick-Growing Vegetables in 30-40 days
- Cauliflower. Really? Cauliflower isn’t usually on a list of quick growing vegetables. In fact, most varieties of cauliflower are anything but quick growing, often taking more than three months to mature. One variety, however, the White Corona Hybrid, is bred for containers and patio gardens and will mature about one month after transplanting.
- Arugula. 30 – 35 days is all you need for a healthy harvest of peppery arugula. It’s great in a salad, good on pizza, or enjoy it on its own with a splash of vinaigrette.
- Turnip. The nice thing about turnips is that you don’t have to wait until they’re entirely mature to harvest and enjoy them. The other nice thing is that they’re amazing roasted with other root vegetables in just a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Hybrids like the Tokyo Cross mature in just 35 days, although most turnips take about 55 days to mature.
Quick-Growing Vegetables in 40-60 days
- Mustard Greens. If you haven’t had mustard greens, you’re missing out. They’re ever so slightly spicy and you can cook them just about any way you want. They grow well from early spring to late fall, and they only need about 40 days to mature.
- Zucchini. Like kale, zucchini plants are varied in how quickly they mature. Varieties like the Sure Thing hybrid and the heirloom Black Beauty are ready to harvest in 45 – 50 days while others come in just under the 60-day mark. One thing’s for sure, most zucchini plants are prolific producers, so you’ll have plenty to enjoy no matter when they mature.
- Summer Squash. Most squash plants mature in 40-50 days, and like the zucchini, will produce a lot of fruits on each plant. Squash is also packed with nutrients.
- Baby Bok Choi. This crunchy vegetable is in the cabbage family and grows well in cooler weather. You can go from seed to stir fry in about 50 days.
- Bush beans. There are several varieties of bush beans that mature in the 50-day range. The heirlooms Purple Queen and Blue Lake 274 are just two of the many bush beans that will make restless gardeners happy.
- Beets. I love beets, in part, because both the root and the greens are absolutely delicious. The heirloom Bull’s Blood is ready to harvest in about 40 days, while most other varieties can take around 55 days.
- Cucumber. Most varieties of cucumbers mature between 50 and 60 days, although there are a few varieties that need a bit more or less time. Cucumbers can be good in gardens with limited space, as you can train them to climb a trellis.
Quick-Growing Vegetables in 60-80 days
- Swiss Chard. Swiss chard is on the longer end of the quick-growing-vegetables spectrum, needing about 60 days to mature. It has a lot going for it, though. It’s easy to grow, it does just fine in cool weather, and it grows well in containers.
- Pole beans. While some varieties of pole beans need 70-80 days to mature, others, like the Seychelles, mature in 55 days, and will continue to produce for some time.
Of course, the definition of “quick” in gardening is a lot different than it is in the rest of life. I think the best approach is to mix both slow and quick growing vegetables in your garden to experience the joy of a steady harvest. Whatever you decide to do, happy growing!
Are you a restless gardener? What are some vegetables you enjoy growing that grow quickly?