Fast Growing Vegetables
Whether you're an impatient, new gardener or a seasoned veteran who wants to share the joys of gardening with children but are afraid they might lose interest, you're probably going to be looking for some fast growing vegetables. While many vegetables make you wait almost a full summer to enjoy their goodness, there are many fast growing vegetables you can plant and enjoy in just a few weeks. Here's a list of a few fast growing vegetables that should be able to satisfy even the most impatient gardener or give the learning gardeners something to harvest quick keep them interested in gardening.
- Radishes are by far the fastest growing vegetables you can plant in your garden. Usually you can begin thinning radish sprouts a couple of weeks after planting and enjoy your fresh radishes in about 30 days. Radishes are also a good choice for a child's first foray into gardening since besides maturing so quickly, the seeds are large and easy for young hands to work with.
- Radishes like cool weather and can tolerate both light shade and light frost. Plant your radishes in early spring since radishes will grow bitter in hot summer weather.
- Lettuce is another fast growing vegetable that enjoys cool weather so it should be planted in either the spring or early fall. It grows best in full sun but can tolerate light frost and needs lots of water as well as a soil rich in nitrogen. Some lettuces such as Romaine can be harvested in as little as 30 days.
- Similar to lettuce, spinach is very fast growing and can be ready to harvest in 28 to 45 days after planting. Again, best planted in the spring since it can stand light frost, spinach likes lots of space (so don't crowd the seeds) as well as nitrogen rich, moist, well drained soil. Since spinach plants tend to bolt and go to seed as the weather gets hot, you can extend the growing season by planting your spinach seeds in the shade provided by the leaves of taller plants.
- Turnips also grow quickly and turnip greens can be harvested in as little as 40 days after planting. Take only a few greens at a time to allow the turnip root to develop and mature before harvesting it when it's 3 inches in diameter (approximately 60 days). Turnips prefer loose, well drained soil with lots of organic nutrients and need lots of water to prevent them from bolting and going to seed. While they can a be planted in the spring, they tolerate light frost well and cold fall weather actually makes them sweeter.
- Should be harvested about six weeks after planting while the beans are still thin and tender, (if you allow them to grow longer, the plant will begin to put its energy into helping the bean pods produce seeds). Unlike pole beans, bush beans grow well in containers making them ideal for small gardens.