Fast Growing Vegetables

One of the hardest parts of being a new gardener is finding the patience to wait for your newly planted seeds to grow. In a world of instant gratification waiting even a couple of weeks for seeds to sprout can seem like an eternity. For this reason, it makes a lot of sense when you are starting out to choose plants and varieties that will minimize your painful waiting time.

One of my favorite fast growing veggies is radishes. Even though I don't often use radishes otherwise, when they pop up in my garden after only 25-40 days after seeding they seem like such a treat. Especially when compared to some of the slower growing veggies like winter squash or potatoes that can take up to 120 days to reach maturity. Thinly sliced radishes add a spicy crunch to a spring green salad. Black radishes also add an earthy warmth to soups and stews. Related to the radish, turnips and beets are also quick growing root vegetables taking about 50-70 days from seeding to harvest.

Lettuce and other salad greens are another popular choice for the impatient gardener. Not only are they fast growing but the tender baby greens can be cut early for a delicate spring salad mix. Other fast growing choices include peas, beans, cucumber and brassicas such as kale, collards, kohlrabi, broccoli and cabbage.

Another benefit to fast growing plants is the increase in produce yields. Harvesting your produce early allows you to clear and replant a garden bed with new seed rather than keeping it tied up with one plant for a long growing season. With a little research, planning and careful attention to the growing conditions in your area you can maximize the production of your garden beds to keep food on your plate for you and your family.

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