Gardening is meant to be savored – but if you have a short growing season (or are simply impatient!) you might be wondering how to speed up your time to harvest.
A quick harvest starts with planting the most ideal species. If you want to be self-sufficient and produce an edible crop as soon as possible, you may want to consider planting some of these 40 fastest growing vegetables, berries, and herbs.
You’ll have dinner on the table in no time!
1. Bok Choy
It’s not only fun to say – but it’s also fun to grow. Bok choy is extra-enjoyable because it produces a mature harvest in just 30 days! It grows well
in zones 4-7 and prefers slightly cooler weather.
2. Bush Beans
Bush beans are incredibly easy to grow and can be planted after the last frost. They need a bit of water and sunlight to thrive, but otherwise, they are very low-maintenance. The beans will be ready in just 40 days and you can enjoy a continuous harvest throughout the season.
The radish is one of the fastest-maturing vegetables you can grow. It’s ready to be harvested in just 21 day and can be planted early, before the last frost. They thrive in temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees. They germinate quickly, too, and emerge from the soil in just three or four days.
Arugula is a tiny green that has a delicious peppery flavor. It can be grown as an annual in just about every growing zone and is best planted a couple of weeks before the last anticipated frost. It’s ready for harvest in just 30 days!
Onions can take quite some time to fully develop – up to six months – but scallions are ready for harvest in just 21 days.
Okra isn’t theirs plant that comes to mind when you’re planning a garden, but if you want a quick harvest it should be. This plant can be grown in a container or directly in the ground. It prefers warm, frost-free weather and matures in just 50 to 55 days.
A quick-developing plant, lettuce is ready for harvest in just 30 days. Sow seeds every 14 days if you want a consistent supply of salad leaves all summer. Cool temperatures work best for lettuce, but it can often tolerate hot weather, too, as long as you give it some shade.
Kale is a vegetable you either love or you hate. However, what can’t be denied is that this plant matures incredibly fast. In fact, you can harvest baby greens in just 25 days! Mature greens will be ready in about 50 days. Kale grows well in the cold, too – you can sow seeds before the last expected frost.
Spinach is super hardy and can handle temperatures as low as 15 degrees once it’s established. It grows quickly and can be planted as soon as the soil is workable. It’s ready for harvest in just 30 days and will regenerate for a continued harvest.
10. Snow Peas
All peas are easy to grow and produce quite quickly, but snow peas mature exceptionally fast. They take only ten days to germinate and can be planted early in the spring. Most can be harvested at around 60 days.
The humble turnip is an easy root crop to grow, and it’s ready in just 30 days. True, you’ll want to wait a full 60 days for the roots to fully develop, but you can eat the greens as long as they are at least two inches in diameter.
12. Asian Greens
Asian greens offer new textures, colors, and flavors to your cuisine. There are all kinds of varieties to explore, with some of the fastest-maturing varieties including tatsoi (which takes 21 days to mature), mustards like Giant Red (also 21 days) or purple mizuna (just 30 days to mature). Many can be planted early in the spring, too, to help you get a jumpstart on gardening.
This root crop is a great producer, ready for harvesting as little as 30 days. You can eat the leaves or the greens – both are ready sooner than you might think.
Microgreens are prized by gardeners for their fast maturation rate. In fact, microgreens are meant to be harvested when they are just 10 to 25 days old, depending on the type. You can grow traditional salad variety microgreens like lettuce, arugula, spinach, and kale, or you can grow microgreens from the young, tender shoots of root crops and herbs like carrots, beets, or basil.
Zucchini not only produces quickly but prolifically. A single zucchini plant can produce more than 10 lbs of fruit! It’s ready for its first harvest in just 40 days.
Quick harvests aren’t just for vegetables! There Are many berries that mature quickly, too, including mulberries. Mulberry trees produce large yields when you are growing in zones 5 to 9. Many produce fruit the first couple of years, with some trees living more than 300 years.
Broccoli only takes about 40 days to start putting out harvest-ready florets. Harvest them while they’re small, and it will encourage the rest of the plant to push out more shoots, too. Quarantina is one of the fastest-growing broccoli varieties you can grow.
Raspberries aren’t just tough – they also produce quickly. As long as you plant established plants, you will get fruit the first year (some canes don’t produce until the second year). Plant early in the spring and prune back once per year to get a good production.
19. Baby Carrots
Carrots take their sweet time to develop, but you don’t have to wait for them to fully mature before you harvest. Just harvest them as baby carrots instead! They’ll be ready for harvest in just 50 days.
Like raspberries, blackberries also produce quickly. They are hardy in zones 4 through 10 and require little maintenance. You’ll get fruit during the second year, at the very latest, and replicate themselves quickly so there’s little you have to do to increase your yields every year.
Cucumbers get bitter the longer you allow them to stay on the vine. Pick them while they’re small, or about a week after they first emerge (sooner if you’re growing a pickling variety). THe fastest-maturing cucumber varieties including Straight 8 and Bush Crop. By harvesting regularly, you’ll encourage fruit to develop, too.
Blueberries grow well in acidic soil. They can be planted in pine mulch or along pond edges with good results. There are blueberries for just about all growing zones, with some that are hardier in the heat and others that do best in the cold. They have few problems with diseases and pests and can give a harvest as soon as their second year – which is quite fast, for a fruit species.
Out of all the fruits, you could possibly grow, strawberries give you the best bang for your buck. The plants produce fruit in the first year (although you’re best off waiting until the second year when the harvest will be more prolific). They spread out happily via underground runners on their own and can be planted early in the spring for a June harvest.
Basil only takes a maximum of 14 days to germinate – and you’ll get leaves that can be harvested shortly thereafter. You’ll Want warm soil that’s well-watered, with plants ideally located in a spot that will provide about six to eight hours of light per day. Wait until well after the last anticipated frost to plant.
Like basil, parsley is an herb that matures quite rapidly. It can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from stuffing to scrambled eggs, and can be grown directly in the round as well as in containers. It can be planted in the early spring – even before the last frost – and begins to sprout in just three weeks.
26. Goji Berries
Goji berries are not super common but have risen to fame of late as people recognize their medicinal value as a superfood. These plants have tons of amino acids and antioxidants that can improve your health. Goji berries can be grown in containers and are very drought-tolerant. They are hardy in zones 3 to 10 and produce fruit in the first year.
Chives not only mature quickly – and are soon ready for harvest – but they also spread rapidly, too. Plant chives once, and they’ll come back year after year. They can be cultivated before the last expected frost and are ready to be cut in just 30 days. Plus chives are perennial so next year you won’t have to bother planting them again. Check out our list of perennial veggies and herbs.
Another herb to consider growing for a quick harvest is coriander. Plant in the early spring and the seeds will germinate in just two or three weeks. They produce harvestable leaves in just another four weeks! You’ll want to pick the entire stem when the plant is ripe. If you want to harvest coriander for the seeds, wait just 45 days.
Potatoes only take about 70 days to be ready to harvest. If you wait a bit longer – about 120 days – your potatoes will be large and big enough to store in a root cellar.
Chervil is a relatively uncommon herb, but for no good reason – it’s super easy to grow. Put it in a shady spot sometime between March and August and seedling will appear in just three weeks. However, it can take up to nine weeks to be ready for a mature harvest.
Plant oregano in a post that is sunny and well-draining. It should be somewhat fertilized, too. You can plant up to ten weeks before the last frost date and you’ll see sprouts in just six or seven days. You can harvest about three months after planting, usually in June or July.
Like the chive, mint is incredibly fast-growing. It spreads quickly and will take over any area in which it is planted – so you may want to confine it to a container! It grows in just 90 days to a mature plant and can be harvested continuously throughout the growing season.
Dill is best planted sometime between mid-spring and mid-summer. You will be able to harvest this herb, great for pickling and for seafood recipes, just 90 days later. Pick young leaves as regularly as possible for best results!
Fennel is another fast, easy-to-grow herb. As long as it’s planted in fertile, well-draining soil, it will be ready for harvest in just a few months. It germinates in as little as seven to ten days.
35. Summer Squash
Summer squash grows just as quickly as zucchini and produces an equally prolific harvest, too. Plant after the last anticipated frost and you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest.
36. Swiss Chard
Another leafy green to consider growing for a quick harvest is swiss chard. In fact, it’s ready to be harvested in just thirty to sixty days.
Kohlrabi can be planted early, before the last expected frost, and will be ready for harvest in just 40 to 50 days. You can speed up its maturation by adding a cold frame.
One more herb to consider growing for a quick harvest is age. It takes two years to reach its mature size when grown from seed, but you can get a harvest in as little as a few months.
Mustard greens grow quickly and are ready for harvest in just 21 to 45 days!
The humble endive is a delicious green that’s best enjoyed in a salad. It’s ready for harvest in as little as 35 days.
Other Interesting Gardening Resources:
Need a few more tips on enjoying a quick, bountiful harvest? Make sure you keep good notes of which plants you decided to plant, as well as where and when. You may want to take note of any special growing instructions, too. Consider sowing fast-growing crops every two weeks for a continuous harvest.
With any luck, you’ll be growing a bountiful garden of greens, herbs, veggies, and berries in a jiffy!