23 fast growing vegetables you can harvest within 75 days or less after the time of sowing. Plus a few quick tips to maximize your garden space!
All of these fast-growing vegetables are ready to harvest around 75 days or less! If you’re an impatient gardener, these are great vegetables to plant in your backyard garden!
Fast growing vegetables you can harvest within 35 days
Green Onions: This fast-growing vegetable is most often called a scallion. They are ready for their first round of harvesting when the shoots are about 6 inches tall, about 21 days after sowing. After that, you’ll cut these back again and again throughout the season!
Radishes: The ‘Cherry Belle’ takes 22 days to harvest and it’s the most common radish to see in a supermarket.
Kale: Ready to harvest as soon as 50-55 days, as long as you avoid picking the central bud. Your kale plant will continue to be a fast-growing vegetable and produce starting at around 2 inches. Kale is fully matured at 70-80 days. My favorite varieties are Curly Leafed Kale and Red Russian Kale! Kale is a fast-growing vegetable but not as tasty in warmer weather, getting more bitter then warmer it gets. For the best taste, grow kale in the autumn season when winter temperatures don’t fall below the teens.
Spinach: A cool-season crop, most varieties mature within 45 days and can be harvested as soon as it has 4-6 leaves. Keep in mind once it gets too warm, your spinach will flower and bolt. We grow Bloomsdale Spinach for a cool weather variety and for warmer weather spinach, try New Zealand Spinach (60 days).
Arugula: This Vitamin-K packed salad green is ready to harvest when the leaves are large enough to eat, usually between 30-40 days. Arugula is another fast-growing vegetable that will continue producing all season, or you can cut away the entire head for one large harvest.
Swiss Chard: For baby leaves, harvest can begin around 30 days after sowing. If you’re looking for full-sized leaves with a thick midrib, wait 45-60 days.
Lettuce: Many gardeners plant two or three crops by planting varieties of lettuce that mature in 45-55 days, such as Sierra or Simpson Elite. But looseleaf and butterhead varieties are fast-growing vegetables that can be harvested at almost about any time in their development. Heading varieties, such as romaine lettuce, take longer to mature (75-85 days).
Collard Greens: One of my favorite fast-growing vegetables, collards are ready for harvest as soon as they reach a usable size, although most tasty young (less than 10 in. long). Collard greens will fully mature around 85-95 days from direct sow date.
Micro-greens: Typically ready to harvest only 2-3 weeks after sowing, snip the micro-greens just about the soil line when you see the first set of real leaves. With their short harvest time, micro-greens are one of the most popular fast-growing vegetables for gardeners of all levels!
Vegetables you can harvest within 60 days
Mustard Greens: Most mustard greens varieties are ready for harvest within 45 days or less, typically reaching full size around 45 days. For heat-tolerant, curly-leafed greens, try growing Green Wave or Southern Giant Curled, both ready to harvest within 45 days and slow to bolt. Early to bolt, but ready within 42 days, is Old Fashioned Ragged Edge; a Southern heirloom mustard green. Recommended smooth-leafed mustards include ‘Florida Broadleaf'(slow to bolt; 47 days), ‘Red Giant’ (also slow to bolt; 43 days), ‘Savannah’ (very early harvest and slow to bolt; 20 days).
Pole Beans: My favorite variety of pole beans are French Climbing Beans, ready for harvest in 60-90 days after sowing. Be sure to provide a sturdy trellis and try to avoid harvesting in warmer weather.
Bush Beans: Ready to harvest 50-60 days after sowing, continue to pick these fast-growing vegetable pods before they’re fully mature. Picking the pods early encourages the flowering and production of new pods. We love the Blue Lake Bush variety down here in Florida!
Sugar Snap Peas: Sugar Snap Peas take around 13 days to germinate, flower and produce sweet, crunchy peas within 50-60 days. These fast-growing vegetables are finicky, growing slowly in cooler soil but have a hard time germinating at all about 80 degrees F.
Summer Squash: Botanically a fruit, this fast-growing summer “vegetable”, produces it’s first “fruits” approximately 40 to 50 days from planting. Depending on the growing conditions and cultivator, of course. Squash tastes the best when the skin is tender, around 4-6 inches, and do not have fully formed seeds. If you’re anything like me, you forget about them and pick them once both of those requirements have flown by. I don’t mind!
Zucchini: Similar to summer squash, zucchini is most enjoyable between 4 and 8 inches and takes 35-55 days to harvest from sowing. Zucchini, also botanically a fruit, grows very quickly so keep an eye on them during the growing season! We grow Black Beauty Zucchini in our gardens and have loved it.
Cucumbers: Ready for harvest 50-70 days from planting, cucumbers are a fast-growing, multi-use vegetable given you properly care for them and keep them disease-free. One cucumber plant can typically grow 10 cucumbers per plant so if you plan on pickling them, grow more!
Beets: Beets reach a harvesting date between 45 and 65 days and are a good candidate for succession planting. Sow before it gets too warm, usually, about 78-80 degrees then continue to sow seeds every 2-3 weeks. Plant these fast-growing vegetables again when temperatures drop, but around 7 weeks before your first frost.
Broccoli: Many gardeners start broccoli inside towards the end of the summer so they’re ready to be planted in the fall for a winter harvest. For a shorter harvest date, grow them from transplants for harvest in 55 to 85 days. Growing broccoli from direct sow by seed takes longer around 70 to 100 days. You can also opt for a broccolini, or broccoli raab, for a quicker harvest of roughly 45 days.
Okra: Okra plants can produce for up to 12 weeks, or until frost comes which will quickly kill them. Reaching maturity in 50 to 65 days, be sure to pick them before get too large as they’ll be very tough and difficult to prepare. We grow Clemson Okra on our homestead. All okra varieties have little spikes so you might want gloves on when you harvest your pods.
Turnips: Turnips come to harvest 30 to 60 days after sowing but along the way you can harvest their greens for salads or sauteing! When it comes time to harvest, lift their roots carefully with a garden fork.
Vegetables ready for harvest in 75 days or less
Cabbage: Cabbage is one of the more fun vegetables to grow in your garden. Taking 80-180 days from seed or 60 to 105 days from transplanting, you’ll be happy you grew your own once you’re bottling your own, homemade sauerkraut! Depending on the geological zone and variety, cabbage can be planted in the spring for a fall harvest or late in the summer to be harvest before the first frost. Keep in mind that cabbage needs a fair amount of room to grow!
Carrots: A fun, compact, fast-growing root vegetable, carrots are a great addition to any backyard garden. You can grow baby carrots for a quick harvest date of 52-60 days from planting. Larger varieties, such as Scarlett Nantes (a favorite in my garden) and Chantenay, take around 70 days to harvest. Scatter the small seeds in a long row and thin the seedlings as they grow for the best harvest! Protip: You can use the carrot tops to make pesto!
Tomatoes: If you’re direct sowing tomato seeds, you can expect some varieties plant to start producing fruits around 40-50 days. Transplants will provide you a quicker harvest date. When planting tomatoes, there is a long list of varieties to consider with different expected harvest dates. Be sure to do your research before planting.
A few quick tips for
Succession planting is when you plant a new wave of crops every 2-3 weeks for a steady harvest of vegetables throughout the season. This is especially smart to do with “one-off” crops like corn. Beans, peas and salad greens are also great fast-growing vegetable candidates for succession planting.
Catch cropping is when you sow in place of a plant that was pulled up early due to disease or pests. If your tomato plant is overrun with bugs, you can pull up that plant and sow another fast-growing vegetable in its place.
Inter-cropping is similar in ways to catch cropping, instead intentionally. You’re using space in a way that promotes less soil erosion and pests, etc. by pairing a slow-growing vegetables with a fast-growing vegetable (like kale and garlic). You’ll leave the garlic in the ground while harvesting the kale. Lettuce and brussel sprouts is another well-known companion for inter-cropping.
The Three Sisters method is when you pair corn, squash and pole beans together.
- The corn provides trellis support for the beans.
- Squash provides share for the soil preventing dry out, weed growth and garden pests.
- Beans input nitrogen into the soil, providing corn (a heavy nitrogen feeder) a nutrition source to grow tall and strong.
Plant for the rain: The drastic change in weather year to year means we’ve had to consider the unpredictable summers on our homestead. Fast-growing vegetables avoid competing for water with other crops. Planting fast-growing vegetables before it’s too hot means they can later be replaced with drought-tolerant vegetables (catch cropping).
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