Speedy crops that are ready to harvest in less than 60 days!
Written by Niki Jabbour
After the vegetable garden has been prepped and planted, waiting for the harvest is the hardest part. But you can cut the waiting time by growing speedy crops. There are many vegetables that are quick to grow, and all can be planted in garden beds or containers.
Another way to reduce the time from seed to harvests of crops like cucumber, squash, and kale is to give the seeds a head start indoors. By sowing them inside and then moving them to the garden as seedlings, you can cut several weeks from the wait.
It’s also important to pay attention to the information listed in the seed catalog, website, or on the seed packet. This is where the ‘days to maturity’ should be listed. That tells you how much growing time the vegetable or variety needs before it’s ready to harvest. This helps you time when to start seeds indoors or when to direct seed outside.
Succession Planting & Interplanting
The best way to enjoy a steady supply of vegetables is to succession plant. I like to succession plant quick-growing vegetables like salad greens, bush beans, peas, and even cucumbers by sowing a second or third crop a few weeks after the initial planting. This allows you to stretch the harvest and enjoy just the right amount of vegetables at any one time
In my large vegetable garden, I also like to practice interplanting. This technique is simply combining two more plants in the same space. For example, when I plant slower growing vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, or broccoli, I sow seeds for fast-growing crops like leaf lettuce, arugula, radishes, or turnips in between. By the time the slower growing vegetables are ready for the space, the speedy crops have been harvested.
10 Vegetables that Go from Seed to Harvest in 2 Months or Less!
(50 days from seed)
I’ve been growing this wonderful bush bean variety every summer for the past seven years because it’s just such a great performer. It’s ideal for garden beds and containers with the compact plants yielding a bumper crop of tender green snap beans. The pods are formed above the foliage which makes for easy picking. Plant fresh seed two to three times over the growing season for a non-stop supply of beans
(21 days baby greens, 45 days mature heads)
For over fifty years, gardeners have been growing this speedy mustard green for spring and fall harvesting. It goes from seed to baby green in just 21 days with full-sized plants maturing 45 days from seeding. It’s also slow to bolt and has beautiful frilly green leaves. Use the baby greens to add a peppery kick to mixed salads or mellow the heat in the mature leaves by lightly stir-frying.
(30 days baby greens, 50 days mature heads)
Sandy is a green oakleaf lettuce that’s almost too pretty to eat – almost! It can be grown as a baby green, as a mini crop or allowed to mature into ten to twelve-inch diameter heads. Each plant is a visual treat and forms a rosette of deeply lobed leaves. Sandy is also disease resistant and slow to bolt, lasting longer in the spring garden. Plant again in late summer for fall harvests.
(40 days from seed)
No garden? No problem! Patio Pride pea plants are so compact, they can be grown in tiny gardens or small containers. They’re also quick to produce and yield a bumper crop of sweet shell peas in just forty days. This is a great variety for a children’s garden and fresh seeds can be potted up every few weeks for a non-stop supply of homegrown peas.
(50 days from seed)
Kale lovers will adore this super ruffled variety that grows just fifteen inches tall. I like to grow it in containers, pairing it with dwarf cherry tomatoes, culinary herbs, or ornamental plants. But, it’s also an easy to grow green in raised beds and in-ground gardens. Like most kale varieties, it’s cold tolerant and can be harvested into winter when given protection.
(50 days from seed)
A farmer’s market favorite, the creamy-white roots of Avalanche go from seed to harvest in under two months. White beets have a mild, sweet flavor with hints of classic beet earthiness. They’re also mess-free and don’t stain kitchen surfaces like red rooted beets. Direct seed from mid-to-late spring and again in late summer for an autumn harvest.
(42 days from seed, 37 days from transplant)
Love the crunch of gourmet mini cucumbers? Plant Green Light, a high-yielding variety that can produce up to forty smooth green cucumbers per plant. It’s parthenocarpic, which means that all the flowers on the plant are female and don’t require pollination to form fruits – very easy! The vines grow up to six feet long and can be trained up trellises or allowed to sprawl on the ground. Harvest when the cucumbers are three to four inches long for a tasty treat.
(30 days for baby crop, 50 days for full-sized heads)
Asian Delight is a fast-growing Chinese Cabbage with wide white stems and deep green leaves. It’s quick to grow and slow to bolt, lasting at least three weeks longer in the garden than similar varieties. Pick baby plants whole when they’re just four inches tall or allow them to grow to their mature size of seven inches. Succession plant Asian Delight in spring and fall for months of crisp pak choi.
(50 days from seed)
The beautiful bright yellow fruits of Sunburst are a summer treat! A pattypan variety, Sunburst yields a heavy crop of scallop-shaped fruits that, like oblong types of zucchini, are best harvested immature. Pick when just two to three inches across. Brush them with olive oil and garlic and barbecue whole or slice them for stir-fries. To plant, direct seed once the risk of frost has passed or give them a three to four-week head start indoors under grow-lights.
(30 days for seed)
I’m a sucker for radishes, especially when they offer bold and brilliant colors like Sweet Baby, which has bright white roots streaked in deep violet. Radishes grow best in the cool temperatures of spring and fall, so start seeding when the soil can be worked in early spring. I like to sow just a pinch of seeds at any one time and then repeat every two weeks. That gives us a steady harvest of high-quality roots.
“This post is provided as an education/inspirational service of All-America Selections. Please credit and link to All-America Selections when using all or parts of this article.”