4 quick vegetables to grow at home – from seed to plate in 40 days or less


Maintaining our garden, caring for our plants, carefully pruning tomatoes or mulching potato beds is a wonderful part of gardening. Part of it is about the process – spending time outdoors, connecting with the earth, and getting earth under our fingernails. Far from the urgency or rush of gardening, it is very much about the anticipation of the vegetables and flowers to come.

Many of the vegetables we grow from seed can take 60 days or more before they are ready to harvest, and we just can’t do anything but wait patiently. The reward is usually worth it! That said, there are a few vegetables we can plant from seed and have on our plates in 40 days or even less.

So, let’s take a look at some vegetables you can plant at home that have relatively fast growing times.

1. Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Radishes grow very quickly and can be ready to pick in as little as 25 days. Baby radishes can be harvested at this time and are much crispier and a bit sweeter than their adult counterparts. Additionally, radish leaves can be harvested at this time and used for salads and stir-fries just as you would kale or cabbage. Mature radish leaves can be a bit fibrous and even pungent, so the younger version is definitely more palatable.

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Plant radishes along the edges of the garden bed or between other slower growing seeds you have planted. The radishes will have matured and will be harvested long before they can be disturbed by other plants. You can directly sow radish seeds in your garden in early spring in a nice sunny place. Don’t let the soil dry out too much.

2. Turnips (Brassica rapa)

Far from growing a huge turnip, you can enjoy sweet baby versions of this delicious root vegetable in as little as 30 days. Smaller turnips are much sweeter and less bitter than riper ones. If you just want to harvest the greens, you’ll also be lucky in about 30-35 days.

Source: Daisy Creek Farms with Jag Singh/Youtube

You can plant your turnip seeds in early spring or late summer. They are a cool weather crop and do not do well in the heat of summer. Plant your seeds in loose soil about 1/2 inch deep. Seedlings will eventually need to be thinned to about 4 inches apart. They need a sunny spot if you’re looking to eat the roots. However, if you are growing turnips primarily for their greens, the plants can tolerate some shade.

3. Baby Beets (Vulgar Beta)

You can buy beet seeds that are specially bred to produce miniature beets that are only about an inch in diameter when mature, but in reality, you can harvest all the beets early for the same beet experience. You can enjoy this delicious root in about 40 days and nibble on its tender young leaves in just three weeks after sowing.

Everyone perceives beet seed is a cluster of about three seeds, so no matter how far apart you initially space your seeds, you will need to thin out. Your plants will need about 3 to 5 inches of growing space. Beets are cold-hardy, so they can be planted in early spring. You will need to direct the seedlings as they do not transplant well. This is the case with many root vegetables. Give them a sunny place to grow and about 1 inch of water per week.

4. Rocket (Eruca vesicaria)

Arugula is that ever-tasty green that brings nutty, peppery flavor to lifeless salads. It’s super easy to grow and you can start harvesting in about 30-40 days or when the leaves are about 2 inches long. You can simply take the leaves from the outside of the plant and let the rest continue to grow and provide you with salads for days and days to come.

Source: Sun Aneiro/Youtube

Rocket is a cold hardy plant that will bolt (go to seed) very quickly when warm weather arrives. As a result, you can sow your seeds in early spring when the temperature may still be as cold as 40 degrees F or in late summer for a fall harvest. Seeds should be planted about 1/4 inch deep and should germinate in about a week. Arugula loves sunny locations and needs about 6 hours of sun per day.

Other greens make excellent candidates as fast-growing crops, especially if you’re interested in young greens. Lettuce, kale, mustard, and spinach all produce tender young shoots that can be harvested without tearing the entire plant. You can let certain plants mature for a different vegetarian experience.

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