Easy and Fast-Growing Vegetables

close-up of bok choy
Get fresh produce from your garden onto the table as soon as possible. Plant these fast-growing vegetables in a garden bed or container and watch your food grow before your eyes.

Radishes

Radishes are fast-growing vegetable plants that are easy to grow, making them a great plant to grow with kids. Some types are ready in as little as three weeks from seeding. Harvest radishes as soon as they are large enough to eat—the longer they remain in the ground, the spicier they become. Overmature radishes become woody, roots crack, and plants develop a seed stalk.

Spinach

Growing your own spinach is one of the most rewarding gardening experiences—it's an easy vegetable plant to grow at home. You can begin harvesting individual leaves 20 to 30 days after sowing for use as baby greens. Harvest whole plants 35 to 50 days after seeding by pulling or cutting at the soil line. The nutritious leaves of spinach are loaded with iron, calcium, protein, and vitamin A.

Carrots

Start a colorful and easy vegetable garden with different varieties of carrots. Classic orange-root carrots have been joined by new varieties in a rainbow of colors, including red, white, yellow, and purple. They also come in a variety of shapes, including small and almost round, as well as very large and more cylindrical. Begin pulling carrots as soon as they develop full color, which is typically 60 to 80 days after planting. For winter storage, wait to harvest until after the tops have been exposed to several frosts—the cold will increase their sweetness.

Green Beans

Snap beans, also called green beans, are one of those must-haves in homegrown vegetable gardens. They're easy to grow, are bothered by few pests, and if you choose a pole type, they take up hardly any square footage in the landscape. Beans come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Pods may be green, yellow, purple, or speckled. Harvest most snap beans when pods are 6 to 8 inches long, before pods and seeds reach full size, 45 to 55 days after planting.

Turnips

These cabbage relatives are grown for their spicy greens and mild-tasting roots. Turnips grow best in cool conditions, so plant them early in spring or in late summer for a fall crop. Harvest turnip greens when they reach 4 to 6 inches tall. You can harvest the roots 45 to 50 days after planting, making turnips the perfect vegetable plant to grow in a short time span.

Arugula

Improve your perfect vegetable garden with the addition of arugula. This leafy green has an intriguing, spicy, nutty flavor. You can start harvesting the leaves of an arugula plant as soon as four weeks after planting. Handpick individual leaves to extend the harvest, or pull up the entire plant.

Cucumber

Cucumbers are easy to grow, and just one plant will produce armloads of the crunchy, refreshing fruits. Growing cucumbers on trellises and along fences allows for efficient use of space. Keep cucumbers watered well to avoid moisture stress, which can lead to bitterness. Once fruits set, they develop quickly—typically within 50 to 70 days of planting. Harvest every few days to prevent oversize fruits that may be seedy and bitter.

Kale

If you're looking to make your own vegetable garden, kale is a good place to start. Kale is an excellent green vegetable for cold-weather cooking. Leaves may be blue-green, green, or burgundy in color, and ruffled, curly, deeply cut, or flat in form. Color and flavor improve with cool weather. Pick baby greens 20 to 30 days after seeding. Harvest mature leaves 30 to 40 days later. To keep a plant producing, harvest the outer leaves and allow the center to continue to grow.

Green Onion

Green onions, also called scallions or spring onions, are just immature bulbing onions that are harvested early. Most green onions are ready to be harvested in 70 to 90 days. Leave them in the ground and they'll develop into regular onions. Pick green onions when they are 6 to 8 inches tall and a bulb has begun to form. 

Bok Choy

One of the two types of Chinese cabbage, bok choy forms tall narrow heads with thick white stalks and deep green leaves. This leafy green is popular in salads and stir-fry. Most varieties of this easy-to-grow vegetable plant are ready to harvest 45 to 50 days after planting. Bok choy prefers partial sun and is a good plant choice for indoor vegetable gardening.

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