Are you staring at your garden wondering why the heck your harvest seems so small? Or maybe the growing season got away from you and you haven't planted all the veggies you want. What you need are some fast-growing plants in your garden for some quick results.
I've never claimed to be a patient person, and sprouting seeds tests my patience each year. Even though I understand that some seeds can take two weeks to germinate, I get antsy waiting. Then, I put my seedlings into my garden, and they seem to take forever to grow.
For example, one year I planted a bunch of peppers, only to be disappointed with the harvest. I knew I wouldn't be able to plant new peppers, so I opted for some fast-growing carrot plants instead.
Then there are those years where I'm noticing that the summer is waning and I didn't plant all the food I wanted. That's when I toss some spinach and radish seeds into the garden. If you’re ready for a quick harvest, try out some of these fast-growing plants.
None of the plants on this list take longer than 60 days to reach a harvestable size. If it takes longer, it's probably due to some environmental problems, such as an extended heat spell or a few days with abnormally cold temperatures. Overall, the dates listed are how fast they should grow in optimal conditions.
12 Fast Growing Vegetables
Most vegetables have faster and slower growing varieties. Some radishes can grow in as fast as 18 days, but others might take 35 to 40 days. The variety that you pick is important.
The first vegetable that comes to mind when I think of fast-growing veggies is radishes. I typically plant radishes between my carrot rows because they sprout so rapidly when compared to radishes. Doing this helps to show me where my carrot rows are located.
The days to maturity vary greatly when selecting radishes. Some varieties take as few as 21 days – 3 weeks – from the time I sow them to harvesting. That’s impressive. Some of the larger radishes take longer.
A few fast-growing radishes to try:
- Du Jour – 18 Days
- D’Avignon – 21 Days
- Mardi Gras – 21-30 Days
- Rover – 21 days
Over the past few years, arugula has been gaining popularity because of its fantastic flavor. It’s slightly peppery, and people love adding it to salads or making an alternative to pesto with it.
Arugula can grow rapidly after you sow the seeds directly into the ground. Once it grows, cut the leaves when they reach the size you want. Growing it throughout the summer can be a bit tricky unless you have a shady spot for them, since arugula doesn't dig the heat.
In general, it takes 45-60 days for arugula to mature. After this point, the plant will flower and go to seed, so you need to harvest before then!
3. Asian Greens
Another popular option that gardeners are adding to their garden are Asian greens, such as bok choy, yu choy, and choy sum. Many of the seeds are sold in an “Asian green” mix, and you can plant them directly into the soil in early spring or late summer for your fall garden.
Similar to other greens, you can pick the leaves individually as you need them or cut the entire plant. Bok choy is grown in clumps, so it’s easier to harvest in a chunk.
Give these varieties a try:
- Chirimen Hakusai – Chinese Cabbage: 50 days
- Komatsuma Tendergreen Mustard: 40-50 days
- Early Mitzuna – 35 days
- Shanghai Green Pak Choy: 45 days
4. Pepper Cress
Looking for a unique green to add to your vegetable garden? Pepper cress is my new obsession. It’s a fast-growing seed that matures in 2-3 weeks. It has a spicy, peppery taste that’s similar to watercress. Not only can you grow pepper cress in garden beds, but it’s also great for containers and window gardening.
5. Salad Mixes
Salad mixes come in a wide variety of leaf shapes, textures, and tastes. You can purchase pre-mixed types or mix your own by blending different seeds. I typically buy pre-mixed salad greens, and sow them directly into the ground. Many mixes have multi-colored greens in them, and they work great for the farmer's market!
A few options include:
- Rocky Top Lettuce Mix: 35-45 days
- Red Wing Lettuce Mix: 45-55 days
- European Mesclun Mix: 40-60 days
Not all peas are fast-growing, so you have to look for the ones with fewer days to maturity. You can sow peas in the ground in the early spring usually 2-3 weeks before the final frost date of the year. In the fall, get them in the ground about 60 days before the first frost. They do require support as they’re growing.
Many varieties of peas can be harvested between 50 and 60 days. That means in 2 months you can have a full harvest ready to eat. Two months isn’t a long time to wait for something as delicious as fresh peas.
A few fast-growing pea varieties to try include:
- Alaska Garden Peas: 50-60 days
- Green Beauty Peas: 60 days
- Little Marvel Garden Peas: 60 days
- Tom Thumb Garden Peas: 50-55 days
Carrots aren’t known for being fast-growing, but some varieties aren’t full-sized carrots. So, they don’t take as long to grow. Baby carrots or slim carrots are the best choices for fast-growing carrots.
Carrots need to be sowed into the ground in the spring, usually 2-3 weeks before the final frost date. They typically take quite a while to germinate, 14-21 days on average. Don't get upset. Just when you think something is wrong with your carrots, they'll sprout!
A few fast-growing carrot seeds to check out include:
- Parisienne Carrots: 55-65 days
- Berlicum Carrots: 60 days
- Little Finger Carrot: 55 days
8. Bush Beans
You can grow two harvests of beans if you grow bush beans rather than the pole beans. Pole beans take longer to grow, but they are quite prolific. Bush beans can come to harvest in as little as 50 days. If you want to reach maturity as fast as possible, be sure to soak your beans 12 to 24 hours before planting. It helps soften the coating of the seed, making it easier for the sprouts to break out.
Some fast-growing bush beans include:
- Calima Beans: 50-55 days
- Cantare Beans: 50-55 days
- Contender: 50 days
- Golden Butterwax Beans: 50 days
- Red Swan Bush Beans: 55 days
Spinach is another of the fast-growing plants that deserve its own section in the garden. You can plant spinach directly in the ground, or you can start it inside. I do both, starting longer varieties indoors and then planting the faster varieties in the ground in the early spring and late summer for my fall garden.
If you want some fast-growing spinach varieties, try these:
- Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach: 50 days
- Galilee Spinach: 35 days
- Monstrueux De Viroflay Spinach: 50 days
Everyone knows that zucchini plants are prolific growers. That's why gardeners joke that we can't give zucchini away. Most gardeners are overrun with it throughout the growing season.
Zucchini varieties take, on average, 50 to 60 days to come to maturity. Once they start to ripen on the vine, zucchini fruits can mature 2-3 inches per day. If you forget to check the plants for a few day days, you’ll end up finding monster zucchinis!
While most zucchini varieties grow fast, here are a quicker few ones to try.
- Zucchini Gray Squash: 49 days
- Zucchini Black Beauty Squash: 50 days
- Costata Romanesco Squash: 52 days
Many people wouldn’t think of beets being one of the fast-growing plants because they’re a root crop. Some can take upwards of 90 days to mature, but that doesn’t mean that they all need that long.
Smaller beets mature faster than larger ones, and the ones without the vibrant colors often grow more quickly as well. Those colors take time to form. Beets should be sowed into the ground 2-4 weeks before the last frost in the spring. You can continue to plant rows of beets every two weeks until a month before the first frost in the fall for months of continual harvest.
A few faster-growing beets include:
- Bull’s Blood Beet: 50 days
- Albino Beet: 55 days
- Early Wonder Beet: 50 days
- Flat of Egypt Beet: 50 days
Similar to zucchini, cucumbers take, on average, less than 60 days to reach maturity. Some larger varieties can take upwards of 70 days, but you can easily select types that take 50 days to mature. Cucumbers are easy to grow, and they need support to grow correctly on a trellis or arch.
Some fast-growing cucumber varieties include:
- Chicago Pickling Cucumber: 55 days
- Early Fortune Cucumber: 55 days
- Miniature White Cucumber: 50 days
- Monika Cucumber: 55 days
5 Fast-Growing Herbs
Veggies make up the mainstay of any food garden, but herbs are versatile and a flavorful way to add some fast-growing plants into the mix.
Cilantro prefers cooler fall and spring temps, so it's perfect for a fall harvest. Leaves are ready for munching within a few weeks.
Parsley is a bright addition to pretty much any meal. One plant can supply the whole family (and maybe some neighbors) once it is full-sized, but you can start harvesting in just a few weeks.
This member of the parsley family has a delicate flavor somewhere between tarragon and parsley with hints of licorice. Leaves are ready for harvest in about 3 or 4 weeks.
Dill has a bold, lemony, anise-like flavor and beautiful, lacy leaves. It's ready in about 6 weeks if you plan on harvesting the leaves. Seeds take a bit longer.
Mint has a bit of a reputation for growing fast – sometimes too fast. Plant it in a container to keep it under control. It's an excellent option to have around to make desserts exciting or add some flavor to a drink. The leaves are ready to harvest when the plant has reached a few inches tall – typically in about a month.
Give Them a Try
Gardening doesn’t have to take acres of patience. You can plant and have a harvest in two months or less if you plant the right veggies. In some cases, you can have a harvest in as little as one month! Let us know which of these fast-growing plants are your favorites.