When you first start out growing your own vegetables you want varieties that are quick growing and quick to harvest so you can enjoy the finished results faster. Here are 4 of the top quick harvest vegetables that you can grow in your garden:
1. Lettuce – ‘Leaf’ lettuce as opposed to ‘head’ lettuce is super easy to grow and if you purchase the seedlings in punnets you can just plant them out, give them water and some fertilizer and very soon you’ll be able to harvest the outer leaves to throw into some yummy salads or pop on your fresh sandwiches. A lot of leaf varieties are also quite ornamental so they can even be grown in amongst your flowering plants and wouldn’t look out of place. In very hot climates, if you’re planting in summer, lettuce can be grown in afternoon shade which will help to stop them bolting to seed. As you harvest the outer leaves the plants will produce more and more so your lettuce plants can be enjoyed for many weeks. They can also be grown quite successfully in containers but just remember to give them plenty of water as pots tend to dry out quite quickly in warmer weather.
2. Sugar Snap Peas – Sugar snap peas are similar to snow peas but produce thicker and very sweet tasting pods. They are fantastic eaten raw in salads or thrown into your favorite stir fry. It’s best to plant these from seeds either into punnets or straight into the garden. The seeds (or peas) tend to germinate fairly quickly and the little plants are fast growing. They do need a support to grow on as they have little tendrils that like to cling. You can either grow them up a fence to which you’ve attached some wire mesh or rows of garden twine, or you can purchase numerous types of growing structures from your local garden center which you can stick into your garden or even into a large pot. You will find that the plants will start to flower within just a few weeks which turn into little pods. You can start harvesting these as soon as they are large enough for your needs and the more you harvest, the more the plants will produce. In humid climates, watch out for powdery mildew but this can be controlled with a spray of sulfur. Neem oil or even jojoba oil. Do this at the first sign of infection and apply to new leaves as the plants grow. As a preventive you could try spraying the leaves with baking soda (1 teaspoon in 1 quart water) as this raises the pH level which in turn creates an inhospitable environment for the disease. Don’t apply this in direct sun though as it could burn the leaves.
- Silver beet – Silver beet or Swiss Chard produces beautiful dark green crinkly leaves and white or sometimes colored stems. The leaves are high in iron and can be used in numerous dishes like quiches, omelets, fritatta or risotto and the stems can be sliced and used in stir frys or similar dishes. As you are trying to promote strong leaf growth in this plant, a fertilizer high in Nitrogen is best. These plants require very little care except regular feeding and watering and you can harvest outer leaves as soon as they are big enough and the plant will produce more. Silver beet is also quite an attractive plant and can be planted amongst your ornamentals or even in pots on your verandah or balcony.
4. Spinach – Spinach, like Silver beet, is high in iron and such a versatile vegetable. I love using it fresh on sandwiches or in salads but its equally delicious in any type of cooked dish. It is also very easy to grow in the home garden and lends itself very well to container growing. Like Silver beet is prefers a fertilizer high in Nitrogen but doesn’t need much else except for regular watering. Plus this is another plant that you can just harvest leaves from as you need them.
So there you go. If you’re just starting out with vegetable gardening or are looking for some easy plants to grow and harvest quickly then try these 4 varieties.