Fast growing vegetables are perfect for people who don’t want to wait all summer before they can enjoy their homegrown food. In this list, I’ll give you my top picks for the quickest veggies you can grow, as well as how long each one will take.
One of the most difficult things about planting a backyard garden is waiting for your vegetables to start producing food. Waiting all summer before you can eat your first crops can seem to take forever.
So, if you want to grow vegetables, but don’t have the patience to wait all season long to reap the rewards, then this list is for you.
In this guide, I’ll show you the vegetables that will grow the fastest, from planting to harvesting. I will also share some tips that will help you speed up that process.
Tips For Growing The Fastest Vegetables
There are a handful of characteristics that all of these quick veggies have in common. Here is what to look for when choosing the ones you want to plant.
Lowest Number Of Days To Harvest
All of the vegetables in this list have the lowest number of days to harvest. If you want more options, then look for ones where the date range on the plant tag or seed packet is as short as possible.
The date range is the average amount of time it takes from sowing the seed until they are full-sized and mature enough to begin producing food.
Start With Seedlings vs Seeds
If you want super speedy veggies, then in many cases you’ll have better results when you buy seedlings rather than starting from seed.
This will give them a head start, and they will also produce food much faster. But on the other hand, some of these will actually do better when direct sown. So, make sure to read the labels.
Choose The Fastest Veggie Varieties
There are different types of many vegetables, and the length of time at which they mature can vary greatly between the various ones.
For example, bush hybrids will mature much faster than vining types of the same plant. Also, larger ones will take longer than their smaller baby or container-sized counterparts.
So make sure you check the dates on each specific variety so you know that you’re getting the quickest one.
Know Your Growing Zone
The timing of when you plant also makes a big difference in how quick veggies will mature. Some will be stunted by cold temperatures if planted too early, making them much slower.
On the flip side, cold weather crops can be slowed down by hot temperatures. So make sure you know when to plant each one in your specific growing zone.
Many on this list can be planted as soon as the soil is workable in spring, before the last frost, to give you an even earlier harvest.
15 Fastest Growing Vegetables
Below is my list of the fastest growing vegetables that you can plant. Simply pick out your favorites, and you’ll have the quickest crops in the neighborhood.
Like other leafy greens, arugula is known to shoot up super-fast. That’s why some people prefer to call it by the nickname “Rocket”.
It takes as little as 40 days (or less) before it is ready to eat. Pick the leaves when they are 2-3 inches long. They will have the best taste, and won’t be nearly as spicy.
Another one of my favorite rapid-growers are turnips. Most types are fairly quick to mature, but some are faster than other.
Purple Top White Globe is a common one, and mature in just 45 days. The Purple Top Milan is even quicker – it takes only 35.
This one may come as a surprise to you, but kohlrabi is a fantastic choice for impatient gardeners. It’s ready to pick in as short as 45-60 days after planting.
Both the white and purple ones have similar maturity dates, so I like to plant a mix of the two for a nice assortment.
4. Bok Choy (Pak Choi)
Also known as “Chinese cabbage”, bok choy is popular in Chinese and Asian dishes. This speedy veggie is ready in just 55 days.
There are a few different ones to choose from, so make sure to check the date ranges. I’ve had great success with the white stem variety.
5. Green Onions
Also known as scallions or spring onions, green onions are super-fast because they can be full sized in as short as 20 days.
These are not the same as their larger white, yellow, or red relatives, which take much longer to mature. That’s because they don’t form large bulbs, so they don’t need as much time.
One of the things that makes kale so quick to harvest is that you can start picking the leaves when they are still small. So you don’t have to wait until they reach full maturity.
The baby leaves are ready in about a month, and it takes about two months for them to become full grown. There are several types too. My favorites are Red Winter, purple Scarlet, and the blue Lacinato.
The fact that you can pick spinach very early is one of the reasons it made this list. There are a ton of varieties to choose from, and each can take different amounts of time to mature.
8. Leaf Lettuce
Another rapid-grower, leaf lettuce is much faster than the types that produce a head. There are a bunch of different varieties too. The most popular ones, Salad Bowl, Lollo Rosso, and Mesclun, take 30-45 days.
The best thing about them is that when you pick a few leaves, it encourages more to form. So they’ll keep producing new leaves as you harvest them.
A popular root vegetable that is loved by many, radishes also grow super-fast. They are ready in as short as 3-4 weeks, depending on the type.
Some people are surprised to learn that peas are fast growing vegetables. Just like many of the others on this list, there are several different types. So the exact times can vary.
They also come in both bush and vine varieties, which makes a difference too. But typically they mature within 60 days.
Commonly called cornsalad or lamb’s lettuce, mache is ready to harvest in as little as 40 days.
But just like the other salad greens on this list, you can usually start eating the leaves even sooner than that.
12. Swiss Chard
Also known as spinach beet or sliverbeet, Swiss chard is a quick-growing leafy green. It’s ready in just 55 days, depending on the exact type.
You can choose from a bunch of different ones. If you plant a rainbow blend mix, you’ll get a wonderful array of colors.
A well known root crop, beets, or beetroot, are a common vegetable that grows lightning-fast. It’s usually ready in as little as 35-55 days.
The best part is that you can eat both the root and the greens on top. Try something new with Gourmet Golden, plant Detroit Dark Red for a traditional harvest, or experiment with an old-fashioned mix.
14. Baby Carrots
Unlike the full-sized vegetables, baby carrots are known for growing much faster. That’s because they are smaller than the traditional ones, so they don’t need as much time to mature.
There are a bunch of different types of cucumbers, but the fastest producing ones are baby, bush, or dwarf hybrids.
So, if you don’t like to wait for larger ones to mature, look for the smaller and quicker varieties.
Fast growing vegetables are the best option for impatient gardeners, or for people who just don’t want to wait. Choose any of the ones on this list for the quickest results, or follow my tips above to find the speediest options for yourself.
More About Vegetable Gardening
- 17 Easy-To-Grow Vegetables For Your Garden
- 40+ Vegetables For Shade Gardens
- 15 Colorful Vegetables For Your Garden
Share your top picks for the fastest growing vegetables in the comments section below.