Quick-Growing Vegetables

Consider sowing these crops that are ready to harvest in 60 days or less.


Photo by Adobe Stock/Chris DoAL

This past year increased many people’s interest in growing their own food and increasing food self-reliance. If you’re among them, maybe growing food is part of your response to COVID-19, or maybe you just want to leap into spring. Either way, you’re probably wondering what can bring the fastest results with early harvests. Here’s information on some vegetable crops that offer fast returns, and some sources for more information.

A note for newbies before reading: “Thinnings” are small plants pulled from a direct-seeded row that are removed to leave enough room for the chosen ones to grow bigger. The smallest thinnings (when you thin to an inch apart) can be used for salads of baby greens, and the larger ones (when you thin to 3 inches) can be lightly cooked or included in a salad mix.

Ready in 21 Days

See Ready in 40 Days or Less for information on baby Asian greens, most of which can be cut or pulled for salad only 21 days after sowing.

Ready in 30 to 35 Days

Baby kale, mustard greens, collards, radishes, spinach, chard, baby salad greens (lettuce mix, endives, and chicories), arugula, and winter purslane are all vegetables that grow quickly in spring. Beet greens from thinnings can be cooked and eaten like spinach.

It’s possible to sow rows of almost any type of greens and cut them with scissors for salad once they’re 3 to 4 inches tall. Grab a handful and cut about an inch above the soil. In cool weather, you can get a second cut (maybe even a third), but once it’s warm, they’ll produce tough flower stems rather than juicy leaves. Avoid growing turnips and radishes this way, as many of them have prickly leaves that are unpleasant to eat.

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