Are you an impatient gardener? Or do you like instant gratification? We’ll show you some of the fastest vegetables to grow so that you can start harvesting fresh produce sooner than ever before. With this list of over 30 of the fastest vegetables to grow, you can go from seed to harvest in 52 days or less!!!
Vegetables are an important part of any diet, but many people don’t realize how easy it is to grow your own. We’ll show you which vegetables grow fast, and which ones take longer to mature.
Over 30 of the Fastest Vegetables You Can Grow in 52 Days or Less!
Your growing time will vary depending on your planting zone, soil conditions, and location. However, this is a great starting point to get you on your way to fresh homegrown produce in no time at all.
If you’re new to gardening and need a place to start, we have a Gardening For Beginners that will help you learn all the basics of gardening.
Outside of a couple fastest growing vegetables that you can grow inside, most plant varieties you will need to know your plant hardiness zone in order to determine if you can grow them where you live. If you don’t know your plant hardiness zone, you can find it on the USDA Map.
1- Sprouts- 3-7 days
Sprouts are healthy and fun to grow no matter where you live. All you need is a glass jar, seeds and water, it’s that simple.
Mung beans and alfalfa are the most common seeds for sprouts. Other common seeds for sprouts include adzuki, cabbage, chives, red clover, fenugreek, garbanzo, lentil, mustard, peas, radish, and black sunflower.
2- Microgreens 8-12 days
Microgreens aren’t only fun to grow, they are extremely nutritious. With nutritional content up to 40x of the fully grown variety, microgreens can be considered a superfood.
One of the wonderful things about microgreens is that anyone can grow them anywhere. I truly mean that. I actually teach workshops on growing microgreens and to prove anyone can grow microgreens anywhere, I grow mini gardens for everyone in Styrofoam to-go containers for sandwiches!
If you would like to start growing your own highly nutritious greens right inside your own home in as little as 7-10 days, read our step-by-step instructions, How to Grow Microgreens For The Beginner.
3- Mushrooms 7-21 days
The fastest way to grow mushrooms is in a mushroom kit. As a matter of fact, I just ordered a kit for myself online. Mushroom kits have already been inoculated with mushroom spawn (mushroom seeds) and are ready to grow. Most beginner kits come with oyster mushroom spawn, which are easy to grow.
Much like the other fastest growing vegetables, microgreens and sprouts, you can grow mushrooms indoors, so no yard needed!
4- Sweet Potato Leaves 14-30 days
Although sweet potatoes take 90-120 days to harvest once you plant them, you can start enjoying sweet potato leaves in just a couple of weeks!
Sweet potato leaves taste a little like spinach and have a mild sweet flavor when cooked. They are high in potassium and magnesium as well as other nutrients.
5- Radish 22 days
Radish is another vegetable that you can eat the leaves or the tuberous root (the radish). They don’t take a lot of planting space and can harvest the leaves to eat in as little as two weeks and the radish in as little as three weeks.
To grow radishes, sow radish seeds about one inch apart in moist soil. Cover the seeds with ½”-1” of soil and water lightly. Once the seedlings emerge, thin to 2-3 inches apart. For continuous harvest, plant new seeds every 10-14 days.
Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe Hardiness zone 2–11 (USDA)
6- Mustard Greens 28 days
Mustard greens are a fast growing nutritious vegetable. They prefer cooler growing temperatures such as the spring or fall. Mustard greens make a great, edible ornamental plant you can use for landscaping as well.
USDA Hardiness zone 6-11
7- Green Onions 20-30 Days
Green onions are a prianual in planting zones 6-9 but can be grown as an annual in other planting zones. You can harvest the whole bulb or cut the scallions as the bulb continues to grow.
To grow this fast growing vegetable, direct sow the small seeds 1/4 inch apart in 3 inch wide rows, planting the seeds 1/4 inch deep. Once they’ve sprouted, thin plants to an inch apart, eating the thinnings. Never let a good vegetable go to waste right?
8- Turnips 35 Days
This fast growing turnip, the Tokyo Cross, has a wonderful mild sweet taste. You can harvest them when they reach 2″ in diameter or let them continue to grow to 6″.
Tokyo Cross Turnips USDA Hardiness Zone 5-10
9- Squash Flowers 30-45 Days
After planting summer squash or zucchini plants, you can harvest the incredibly tasty and delicious flowers. Full of vitamins and nutrients but very few calories. Enjoy them stuffed, fried, or raw on a salad.
The male flowers will be the first ones to bloom on the plants and can be harvested as soon as they reach full size. Make sure to leave a couple of the males on the plant to hang around and pollinate the females.
Hardiness zones 3-10 USDA
10- Kale 40 days
Depending on what variety you grow, you can harvest kale in as little as 25 days. However, most varieties are ready for harvest in as little as 40 days. Red Russian Kale is a fast growing vegetable that you can harvest early. Just cut some of the leaves to eat fresh and continue to let the plant grow to harvest more throughout the season.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7-10 in winter and all other zones in spring and fall.
11- Lettuce 45 Days
Not only is lettuce a fast growing vegetable, it’s one you can grow year round indoors. We typically have lettuce growing inside in a pot that we take cuttings from whenever we want a salad or lettuce on a sandwich.
Fast growing lettuce varieties: Salad Bowl, Simpson, Green Ice, Red Sails
How to grow lettuce
- Ideal temperatures for sowing lettuce seeds are between 45 F and 65 F.
- No need to transplant- Direct sow about 1/4″ deep, rich soil full of organic matter cover with 1/4-1/2″ of soil.
- Lettuce germinates in just three days when the soil is 68 degrees, but soil temperatures over 85 degrees signal the seed to go dormant.
- Keep shaded in warmer weather
- Keep Moist
- Never Harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time to keep continuous growth
12- Squash 45 Days
Squash needs around six hours of sunlight or more and loves rich, well-drained soil. They prefer moist soil however, the best way to water them is at the base. Water of the leaves promotes mold and leaf fungus.
You can eat the quash flowers, see above, as early as 30 days or sooner, or wait a little longer for the fruit. If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy zucchini from your garden, we have an amazing recipe for Zucchini Chips.
USDA Hardiness ZOne 3-10. Fastest growing vegetable squash varieties : Yellow Crooked Neck, Spineless Beauty, Zucchini, Florentino, Sundrops
13- Tomatoes 45 Days
Tomatoes are another popular vegetable that grows quickly. You can plant tomato seeds directly into the ground after the last frost date, and they should germinate within 2 weeks. Once they reach 4 inches tall, you can transplant them into larger containers.
While both tomatoes and peppers are members of the nightshade family, they’re very different plants. Tomatoes are grown for their fruit, while peppers are grown primarily for their flowers. Both fruits contain high amounts of vitamin A, but tomatoes are higher in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to lower rates of certain cancers.
Tiny Tim USDA Hardiness Zone 5-8
14- Spinach 45 days
Spinach is a cool weather crop and tends to bolt (go to flower) in temperatures above 80°. You can provide shade for your spinach if temps rise above 80°.
Spinach is one of the microgreens that I grow and sell. I’ve found if I soak the seeds before planting, it helps them germinate faster. If you’re growing spinach as a microgreen, you can harvest this fast growing vegetable for consumption in as little as 14 days! See Microgreens above.
USDA hardiness zone 5-10: Fastest growing spinach America, Bloomsdale, Long-Standing and Winter Bloomsdale
15- Endive 46 days
Although most endives take around 90+ days to grow for harvest, you can harvest the Salad King variety in as little as 46 days.
USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9: Salad King
16- Okra 50 Days
Some okras can take 80 days or more to mature, but this Jambalaya Okra is a short-season variety that grows quickly. It can be direct-sown but will yield earlier and heavier if transplanted. You can harvest this beauty in as little as 50 days!
USDA Hardiness Zones 2-11 Jambalaya Okra
17- Carrots 50 Days
Carrots should be planted in spring or fall and like loose, rich soil. You’ll know when the carrots are ready to harvest when the top of the carrot starts popping out of the top of the soil.
Plant Hardiness Zone 3-10: Baby Finger
18- Chard 50 Days
Chard is very easy to grow making it a perfect crop for beginners. It comes in a variety of colors and many people use it as an ornamental edible.
Chard will tolerate partial sun, but grows best in full sun. It prefers a location with moderately fertile, well-draining soil and a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral). Before planting, mix aged manure and/or compost into the soil to boost soil fertility.Farmers Almanac
Plant Hardiness Zone 6-10: Lucullus
19- Cucumbers 50 Days
Cucumbers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and they’re also among the quickest to harvest. They grow quickly, and you can eat them right away when they’re young. You can plant cucumber seeds indoors as soon as seedlings emerge, and then transplant them into the garden once they’ve reached 6 inches tall. If you live in a warm climate, you can even grow cucumbers outdoors year round.
Tomatoes are another popular vegetable that grows quickly. You can plant tomato seeds directly into the ground after the last frost date, and they should germin
The Bush Pickle produces 4-5″ long fruits on nice, compact plants. These cucumbers are perfect for smaller gardens, containers, or raised beds! It’s sweet and tender and matures quickly in about 50 days. Plant throughout the growing season for a continuous harvest. Once they reach 4 inches tall, you can transplant them into larger containers.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4-12: Bush Pickle
20- Snap Beans 52 days
Topcrop Snap Beans grow up to 6-7 ” long and are a heavy producer. Ideal for canning so you can enjoy them fresh off the vine and process them to enjoy again later.
USDA Hardiness Zone 2-11: TopCrop
21- Cabbage 52 Days
Needs 6 hours of sun per day but prefers cooler temps of spring and fall. Can be grown in winter in higher planting zones.
USDA Hardiness Zone 2-10: Charmant
Fast Growing Meat
In addition to the fastest growing vegetables, we offer suggestions for the fastest growing meat. Personally, we raise rabbits as a fast growing meat source and are fairly easy to raise.
Cornish Cross Chickens 8 Weeks
Joel Salatin, author of Pastured Poultry Profits, raises Cornish Cross meat birds in portable chicken houses called chicken tractors. The broilers are slaughtered at 8 weeks, with an average carcass weight of 1.8 kg (4 lb.) with a live weight of 2.4 kg (5.3 lb.).
Rabbits 6-9 Weeks
Rabbits breed about every 90 days. Gestation only takes 30 to 32 days. The young nurse for five or six weeks, learning to eat as they go along. At six or seven weeks you put the young fryers in another hutch or two and harvest them between then and ten or twelve weeks. We keep a couple of breeders at all times so we have a constant meat source.
Rabbits are a livestock you can raise without much land. You can raise your meat rabbits in cages, or like we do in colonies.
Fast Growing Fruit Trees
Fast-growing fruit trees are a fantastic addition to any home. plant them once and they produce food for years to come. We planted fig trees from cuttings and before you knew it, we had more figs than we knew what to do with.
For a list of six fast growing fruit trees, hop on over to Schneider Peeps to read their article.