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It’s true. Being a devoted gardener requires patience and a love of pottering. But, if you’ve never grown your own vegetables before, you need some quick results to show for your efforts. Here are 12 fast growing vegetables to get you started.
I guarantee that once you start harvesting your own fresh food, you’ll soon learn patience and foster that love of pottering around in the garden. Most of these veggies can also be grown in pots. So, if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still enjoy growing your own.
Just a tip though, planting seedlings will produce results much fast than using seeds. But, in saying that, some veggies do produce better results when grown from seeds. This mainly applies to root crops.
So, on with the list.
Spinach is super easy to grow. It’s also a vegetable that you can harvest a few leaves from and let it continue to grow. Purchase a punnet of seedlings and plant them in your garden bed or a pot.
Make sure you water regularly and just keep harvesting the leaves as you need them. You could even grow this indoors in a bright, sunny spot. Feed with some nitrogen rich liquid fertilizer after you plant it. Or, use slow release if you’re growing in pots.
In hot weather, spinach will go to seed fairly quickly. At this stage, you’ll want to pull it out and add to your compost. For this reason, it’s a good idea to successively plant new seedlings every couple of weeks to have a constant supply.
2. Swiss Chard Or Silverbeet
Swiss Chard is just as easy to grow as spinach but it lasts a little longer before going to seed. If you do develop the growing bug, let one of the plants produce seeds and then, collect them.
You can plant these in seedling trays, pots or even in the ground to produce the next crop. Keep any spare seeds in a paper bag in a cool, dark spot. For those who are interested, seed saving is another topic I’ll cover a little later.
This peppery flavored green is an ideal addition to any tossed salad. And, it’s super easy to grow. Just purchase some seedlings and plant them out. Then harvest the leaves as you need them.
Remember, that any green leafy vegetable does well with an addition of nitrogen rich fertilizer. The nitrogen really helps to promote green leaf growth.
4. Baby Carrots
If you can wait around 30 days to harvest them, baby carrots are so easy to grow and really tasty too. These are best grown from seed as the carrots tend to deform when planted out from seedlings.
Baby carrots are ideal to plant in pots too. Being a root crop, they do prefer some phosphorus fertilizer that you can add when planting. Did you know that you can eat the green tops as well. These are great to add to stir-fries to add a bit of color and flavor.
But beware, once you’ve tasted home-grown carrots, you’ll never buy them from the store again.
Radishes are super fast to grow and really easy too. These are another vegetable that are best sown by seeds. Once you sow the seeds, you should see the seedlings emerge in just a few days.
Make sure you plant them in a fairly open, friable soil so that the roots form well. If you have a clay soil, it’s best to grow these in pots in a good quality mix. Keep a close eye on them though and harvest as soon as they’re ready.
Like carrots, if you let them go to seed, they’ll become tough and woody and you won’t want to eat them.
Although the beets themselves take a little longer to grow, you can harvest the leaves in as little as 30 days. Use them just like you would use spinach or swiss chard. Let’s face it, we can never get enough greens in our diet, right?
Be prepared though, that the leaves will stain a little red just like the beets themselves. Beets are also best grown from seed and you can plant them in pots as well.
If you’ve never grown beans before, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise as you watch the pods start to form. And, the more you pick them, the more they’ll produce. You can use either seeds or seedlings to start growing beans.
If you have limited space or want to grow in pots, bush beans are best as they’re more compact. However, if you have a larger area and can provide some support, you might like to try climbing beans as well.
Another benefit of growing beans in the garden is that they’ll fix nitrogen into the soil. This then makes an ideal environment to plant greens after the beans have finished. This is called crop rotation and I’ll explain this further in another article.
8. Asian Greens
If you cook a lot of stir-fries, then you’ll want to grow some Asian greens like Bok Choy. Most Asian greens are really easy to grow and mature in around 30 days.
Successive sowing of these will ensure that you have a constant supply. These also make ideal plants for pots.
9. Zucchini Or Summer Squash
Who doesn’t love the 101 ways that you can use zucchini in the kitchen. These are excellent plants to grow in the garden. If you want to plant in a pot, make sure you choose a large one as the plants can get quite big.
Once the plants start flowering, you’ll notice two different types of flowers. There are male and female ones. It’s the female flowers that will produce the fruit. It’s really helpful if you have bees around your garden as these help to pollinate the female flowers.
The zucchinis themselves will grow larger before your eyes. In fact, they can double in size in just a day or two. Having even just one plant in your garden, will keep the family eating fresh zucchini every day.
Lettuce are fun plants to grow because there are just so many varieties. Personally, I like to grow loose leaf lettuce because I can just harvest a few leaves at a time. Be prepared though, these will go to seed quite quickly in hot weather.
Therefore, this is another vegetable that you should sow or plant successively so that you always have some lettuce leaves on hand when you’re craving a fresh salad.
Kale is one of those greens that you either love or hate. The benefit of growing your own is that you can harvest the young leaves before they get too tough. Then, use the more mature leaves to make kale chips!
Another benefit of growing Kale is that it’s fairly cold tolerant. This means you can grow this versatile vegetable all year round.
12. Sugar Snap Peas And Snow Peas
If you love peas, then plant sugar snap or snow peas because you can eat the entire pod. These generally do better when grown from seed but you can still have some success by planting young seedlings.
The seeds do take around 10 days to germinate before the first seedlings will appear. But, once they start to grow, they should fruit fairly quickly. And, like beans, they’ll just keep producing the more you harvest them.
If you’re new to growing your own food, start with these 12 fast-growing vegetables. You’ll be harvesting greens for the dinner table before you know it.
Once you’ve tasted home-grown vegetables, you’ll never want to buy them again. Except as seedlings, of course!
Do you love growing your own vegetables? Do you have any others to add to the list? Please feel free to share your stories with us in the comments below.