Quick-Growing Vegetables Harvest-Ready in 60 Days or Less



This spring has brought more interest in growing our own food and increasing food self-reliance. Maybe this is part of your response to Covid-19 or maybe you just want to leap into spring.  You are probably wondering what can bring fastest results with early harvests.

Either way, here is information on some vegetable crops that offer fast returns and some sources for more information. I included a paragraph on fast crops in my blog post If Spring is Too Wet .

Ready in 21 Days from Sowing

See below for information on baby Asian greens, most of which can be cut or pulled for salad after only 21 days.

Ready 30 to 35 Days from Sowing

Baby kale, mustard greens, collards, radishes, spinach, chard, baby salad greens (lettuce mix, endives, chicories) arugula, and winter purslane all grow fast in spring. Beet greens from thinnings can be cooked and eaten like spinach. Note for newbies: Thinnings are small plants pulled from a direct-seeded row, to leave enough room for the chosen ones to grow bigger. The smallest thinnings (when you thin to an inch (2.5 cm) apart) can be used for salads and the ones from when you thin to 3” (7.5 cm) can be lightly cooked or put in a salad mix. Also it is possible to sow rows of almost any type of greens and cut them with scissors for salad once they are 3”-4” (7.5-10 cm) tall. Grab a handful and cut about an inch (2.5 cm) above the soil. In cool weather you can get a second cut (maybe even a third), but once it’s warm they will produce tough flower stems, rather than juicy leaves. Do avoid turnips and radishes for this way of growing, as many of them have prickly leaves.

Ready in 40 Days or Less

Many Asian greens such as Chinese Napa cabbage, Komatsuna, Maruba Santoh, mizuna, pak choy, Senposai, tatsoi, Tokyo Bekana and Yukina Savoy are fast-growing. There’s a huge range of attractive varieties, they’re better at germinating in hot weather than lettuce, and faster growing than lettuce. Most reach baby salad size in 21 days, full size in 40 days. Transplant 4-5 weeks after spring sowing, or direct sow. Nutritious as well as tasty. Flavors vary from mild to peppery; colors cover the spectrum: chartreuse, bright green, dark green and purple. A diversity of crops without a diversity of growing methods! Grow when you normally grow kale. Be aware that Asian greens sown in spring will bolt as soon as the weather heats up, so be ready to harvest a lot at once (if you planted a lot, that is!) You can make Kim Chee. On my website SustainableMarketFarming.com, I did an Asian Greens of the Month post one year recently.

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