Sometimes, you just don’t want to wait for your veggies to grow. If you’re growing indoors, or in a greenhouse with limited space, this is can be especially true. Sometimes, you just want to maximize your garden by growing fast veggies first and then planting slower growing ones afterward.
“Fast growing” is a subjective term, of course. How fast is fast? For the purposes of this article, “fast growing” means it takes 60 days or less to bear ripe fruit.
Reasons to Grow Fast Growing Vegetables
As stated, fast growing vegetables are a great way to maximize your yields. Many greenhouse growers stick with faster growing vegetables in order to get as many crops as possible in one year. A greenhouse is much more expensive to maintain, per square foot of growing space, than an outdoor garden is, so getting the most “bang for your buck” is important.
Finally, if you have a limited season (perhaps you live in a colder growing zone like Zone 3 through 5), then you can help maximize your garden’s output by growing fast-growing vegetables first or last to get more crops in the same amount of time.
Whatever your reason, it’s easy to choose varieties and get them producing quickly.
Fast Growing Garden Vegetables
Going with our 60-day limit, we have a lot to choose from:
Vegetables ready in 40 days or less include loose-leaf lettuce, mustard and spinach, as well as chives and radishes.
Vegetables ready in 60 days or less include zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli, peas, bush beans, kale, early cabbage, cauliflower, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, scallions, collards, kale, and Swiss chard.
Gardening Tips for Fast Growing Vegetables
Also try growing herbs. Most herbs have a 45-60 day maturity window (with the exception of those harvested for seed), depending on variety, so you can try many of them to get great results. Basil and cilantro are fast growing herbs to try in your garden.
Some traditionally long-growing vegetables can be hurried along with a little pruning and nipping. Cucumbers can have their vines trained upwards and trimmed to keep them short (4 feet or so). When growing on a trellis, they usually get more sunlight and so mature faster and keeping the plant growth short hastens fruit bearing. This also works for squash. You can also keep creepers trimmed on strawberry plants to encourage fruiting.
Another popular choice are garbanzo beans (chick peas). These can be hastened with extra water and by trimming the bushes to keep them smaller.
Want to learn more about fast growing vegetables?
CC flickr photo courtesy of Kasia