Growing your own vegetables is an admirable effort. Leaving aside the health factor (a.k.a. the fact that you have full control over the organic growth of your own vegetables), vegetable growth is a chance to know more about the food you eat, to educate yourself on what’s good for your organism, and it’s a good excuse to spend more time outdoors.
However, those of you that have never planted anything in your lives might be frustrated with some gardening-related aspects, like the fact that some vegetables take three months to grow. Well, not all of them do, so here’s everything you need to know about the top fastest-growing vegetables.
What to Know About Fast-Growing Vegetables
There are plenty of things that people wonder when it comes to growing vegetables fast, as not everyone is used to the idea of having a fast harvest. When it comes to agriculture, playing the waiting game is part of the process, so let’s shed some light on some of the most common questions related to fast vegetable growth.
What Vegetables Grow in 30 Days?
Actually, more than you think! As long as you provide the following list of plants with sunlight, nutritious soil, pest and disease protection, and water them regularly, you should be able to enjoy:
- Radishes can grow as fast as 21 days, but they will need temperatures between 50º F and 65º F is you want the plants to thrive. AS you know, radishes are super crunchy vegetables with a rather spicy taste, but they are delicious and can flavor a variety of different salads. Their seeds are fast to germinate and you will notice the shoots in a time frame of four days after plating them. You can keep planting after harvest in order to enjoy more delicious radishes.
- Lettuce is another vegetable that grows in 30 days. It is not only one to germinate fast, but it’s also a speedy developer. Lettuce is typically the center ingredients in a variety of different salads from across the world, but it can also be pickled and then used to make different kinds of dishes. Lettuce best grows in cooler climates, which means that it needs about 60º F or 70º F to grow as it should. There are certain types of lettuce that can grow even in hotter climates.
- Spinach also grows in one month. The best thing about spinach is that it can grow in temperatures as low as 15º F. It is one of the easier vegetables to grow in terms of care, plus you can plant it right after the ground has thawed. If you want to keep the harvest going, all you have to do is pluck the outer leaves and re-sow seeds. Make sure that you harvest spinach in time, as the leaves tend to become bitter quite fast soon after they’ve reached maturation.
- Scallions have an average growth period of 21 days, unlike onions, which can take up to six months to grow. Scallions are grown from seeds and they can be ready to eat in just about three weeks. While plenty of people pluck the scallions out of the ground, the best thing to do is actually to grab a pair of garden scissors and cut the green shoot that’s above the ground. You can then add it to your salads and dishes for a very distinct and rich flavor. This way, you can have the remainder of the plant (the part that’s still in the ground) produces continuous vegetables for the rest of the year.
What are the Best Vegetables to Grow?
A lot of people wonder what the best vegetables to grow are, but this question is kind of tricky because we would need to define what the term “best” means for each one of you. Is the best vegetable the faster growing one? Is it only those vegetables that grow in basically any climate? Are the best vegetables the ones that are less likely to attract pests and diseases? Well, to answer the initial question, we’ve decided to give you three different lists of “best of” vegetables.
Best Fast-Growing Veggies on a Budget
Curly kale is really cheap to grow, but also very popular because it’s nutritious while also having a really low-calorie intake. Kale is way past being a salad ingredient, and it’s now used to make smoothies or as an ingredient in a variety of different dishes. A packet of curly kale seeds only costs a few dollars and it takes about six weeks to grow. The beauty of growing your own curly kale is that, in terms of cost-effectiveness, it’s way more worth than purchasing from a supermarket.
Lettuce is another really inexpensive vegetable to grow, and considering the fact that you can harvest it time and time again in just one season, it’s absolutely worth having it in your garden. For the past couple of years, the price of lettuce has risen considerably, and there are markets across the US where it actually costs about $2 to get a small bunch of lettuce. However, if you plant your own, you will be spending $2 on a pack of seeds that will allow you to enjoy fresh lettuce for months to come.
If you want to get the best out of your investment, just plant a part of the seeds found in the package. If you plant them and harvest all that lettuce at once, it will go bad before you have the chance to consume it, which makes you lose money. If you save seeds and replant every other week, you can have fresh lettuce on your table periodically without wasting any money.
Bell peppers are also quite inexpensive to grow, at least when you compare them with their supermarket price. I’m sure you’ve seen that good-looking fresh bell peppers can cost about $1.50 each. On the other hand, if you invest about $10 in growing your own bell peppers, you will get about $100 worth of these vegetables. You can start growing bell peppers in small pots and then transfer them into the soil when the outside temperature is warm enough.
Garlic is another best vegetable if you’re thinking money-wise. Depends on where you buy it and the type of garlic you purchase; one pound can range between $1 and $7. If you grow your own garlic from previously saved closed, it takes less than 50 cents per pound to grow it. Another great thing about garlic is that it accepts low temperatures, which makes it one of the best vegetables to grow in winter. However, you have to be really careful with over watering mature garlic plants, and make sure that you pluck weeds frequently.
Best Fast-Growing Vegetables for Beginners
Assuming that you know little to nothing about gardening, you might be interested in what are the best vegetables to grow without too much knowledge, and green beans are at the top of that list. They offer a bountiful harvest provided that you know the basic rules about how to grow them.
Since there is a wide variety of green beans out there, you will have to research the most common types and determine which ones you want to grow. It is best to set up a homemade trellis so that the plants can thrive, and you can pick them easier. Green beans require soil with good drainage, and they need plenty of sunlight to thrive. It takes about 55 to 65 days for green beans to grow, at an ideal temperature ranging between 55 to 85°F.
Cucumbers are part of many delicious salads, but since they are so watery and refreshing, they can be consumed in slices with water or they can simply be eaten as a between-meal snack. A lot of people like to make pickles, which serves as an excellent side dish to a delicious steak, for example. It doesn’t matter how you consume them; what you should know is that cucumbers are really easy to grow.
You can choose to plant them directly into the soil, buy the seedlings from a local nursery, or even start them indoors with about three weeks before planting them into your garden soil. The only things that you really need to know about cucumbers are the following: they need well-drained soil, plenty of sunlight, and ample space for their vines to grow.
First of all, we’d like to point out that we are aware of the fact that tomatoes are fruits, but since plenty of people consider them vegetables, we wanted to add them to the list of best vegetables for beginners. During the summer, tomatoes are a delight for the senses: keep them in the fridge and consume them in salads to get that fresh taste unlike any other plant out there. But while it may seem that tomatoes are exquisite and difficult to grow, they are one of the plants with the least requirements out there.
When you want to plant tomatoes, you should start them indoors with about four to six weeks prior to transplanting them into garden soil. Tomatoes require well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to grow properly, pretty much the same requirements as those of bell peppers. Important tip: if you notice that your tomato plants have a yellow color, they are lacking nitrogen.
Root vegetables, such as radishes and carrots, are really easy to grow. You can choose whether or not you want to grow them into a container or sow them directly into the ground. There are two very important things that you have to keep in mind when growing root vegetables: the soil has to be loose and the seeds shouldn’t be overcrowded.
Healthiest Fast-Growing Vegetables
For some people, the best vegetables are the healthiest ones, starting off with broccoli. What makes broccoli one of the healthiest vegetables that you can grow in your own garden? It is rich in fiber and protein, but also contains a large amount of water. You get 2.3 grams of fiber for each cup of broccoli. One single serving will fuel your body with three grams of protein, but also with vitamins C and K.
If you want to grow your own broccoli, you need to know that the ideal soil pH is 7.0. You will need to make sure that the soil also has enough composting to provide the plant with all the organic matter it needs. Broccoli seeds are best planted indoors throughout the cold season. If you plant your broccoli at the beginning of spring, you should be able to harvest it by fall.
Brussels sprouts are another example of really healthy vegetables that you can grow yourself. Brussels sprouts are about 58 calories per cup. The same cup will provide about four grams of protein, no fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrates. If you were to consume a serving every day, it would give you all the vitamin C your body needs for 24 hours. You can also get a decent intake of vitamins B6 and A, plus some potassium and manganese. Brussels sprouts aren’t just healthy, but they are also relatively easy to grow. You need to make sure they are contained in a cold frame from March to April, when sowing.
You won’t hear a lot of people consuming it, but Swiss chard is one of the healthiest vegetables to grow. It is very rich in minerals and vitamins, and studies have shown that it has great potential in preventing diabetes mellitus damage. Other than that, Swiss chard contains only seven calories per cup of serving, but it comes with one gram of fiber, one of protein, and plenty of vitamins (such as A, C, and K).
Asparagus is one of those vegetables that doesn’t need much introduction, as there are plenty of people who consume it together with a delicious steak or a serving of rice. But how many of you know that asparagus is rick in riboflavin or vitamin K? It is great for one’s metabolism and studies have revealed that it’s really good for pregnant women, as it can prevent neural tube birth defects.
What Foods Grow the Fastest?
While we have already given you a list with a few vegetables that grow in 30 days or less, there are other vegetables out there that might extend a bit over this time frame but are still considered to be among the fastest-growing vegetables on the planet. If you’d like something more than lettuce and radishes, here are some other vegetables that will grow quite fast:
- Arugula is part of the green family and it has a very rich and peppery flavor to it. It makes a great salad ingredient with a very rich aroma, and it’s a great thing to have even in your perennial garden. Arugula usually takes about a month to grow, and the best part is that the plant will grow again year after year, so you can enjoy its taste for years to come.
- Baby carrots are ready to be harvested in about 30 days as well, plus they are extremely good for your health. Unlike regular carrots, these babies (pun intended) will reach maturity faster, and they can be planted both outside, as well as in a container garden.
- Beets aren’t for everyone, and they pretty much inspire a love-hate relationship. However, if you are one of the lucky people who like beets, you can enjoy its unique taste by harvesting it in your own yard. It usually takes about 50 days for beets to grow, so they aren’t as fast-growing as some of the other vegetables we talked about today, but the fact that they can be grown in spring and fall (as they don’t really enjoy summer’s extreme temperatures) gives you more options in terms of what to plan outside the warm season.
- Bok choy is more than just a vegetable with a funny name; it’s a Chinese cabbage that is available in both a standard and a baby-sized version. It grows well in partial shade and it requires rich and well-drained soil. The harvesting period of the bok choy plant will depend on the variety you’re trying to grow, but it’s usually ready to be eaten in about 45 days.
For pretty much every vegetable that you can name, we can provide a list with at least five reasons why that vegetable should be part of your diet. Granted, not all vegetables that are good for your health are also easy to grow, but it would be a shame not to take advantage of those that are.
If you want your vegetables to grow fast and provide you with a bountiful harvest, you need to make sure that the variety you are trying to grow is actually suitable for growth in your area, as climate plays a huge part in determining if your gardening efforts will be successful. Also, make sure that you follow the guidelines given for every vegetable, and you provide it with the soil and organic matter it needs, with the amount of water it required, and keep the vegetables free of pests and diseases.