When it comes to planting a vegetable garden, growing crops from seed is ideal. It’s usually cheaper, offers more variety and has a higher success rate than plants that are transplanted from one place to another. But it can be a challenging process for impatient or beginner gardeners seeking quick satisfaction.
Luckily, there’s a number of quick-growing veggies that mature in two months or less. So, whether you’re late to the summer planting game or just looking to fill gaps in your garden as you harvest other crops, these veggies are a good place to start.
Notorious for their fast production, radishes can go from seed to plate in as little as three weeks. They’re also great space fillers and require little fuss to grow. For best results, plant the radish seeds about one inch apart in a sunny spot of your garden. Try the crunchy French Breakfast variety, which you can harvest in less than 30 days. They have a mild flavor and, of course, are best enjoyed with butter and salt. Radishes grow best in Zones 2-10.
Depending on the variety and weather, bok choy takes anywhere between 45 and 60 days to reach maturity. Baby varieties are ready even faster—in about 30 days. Don’t wait for the entire plant to be ready to harvest to start enjoying it. Immature plants provide sweeter, tender leaves and stems. After 21 days, you can cut away a few leaves at a time to toss into stir fries or salads. Bok choy grows well in Zones 4-7.
Cucumbers can be harvested in as little as 50 days after planting, and sometimes even sooner if you choose a mini variety such as the Green Light cucumber, a high-yielding plant that will yield cucumbers (and pickles, if you choose to make them) all summer long. Because they love to climb and expand, situate your cucumber plant near a trellis or give it at least six feet of open space to sprawl across the ground. Cucumbers can be grown in Zones 4-11.
Quick and simple to grow, you can harvest your first batch of spinach about 4-6 weeks after planting. Don’t let the smooth, green leaves get too big before you trim them away to use in smoothies, salads, pastas and risottos. When it comes to spinach, it’s best to harvest little and often. Spinach grows best in Zones 3-9.
Greens such as kale and collards have fast growing cycles, but for something different, give mustard greens a go. The peppery plant goes from seed to baby greens in as little as 25 days. Full-sized plants are ready to be harvested anywhere between 45 and 60 days. Mustard greens can be grown in Zones 6-11.