Growing your own food is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying things in the world. But if you don’t have much (or any) gardening experience and knowledge, you may end up staring at your seeds for weeks and wondering why nothing is happening. That’s why starting your garden adventure with the fastest growing vegetables is a great way to boost your confidence and start harvesting fresh produce in no time.
If you’re a first-time veggie grower with limited space, you’ll be happy to know that the plants on this list can all be easily grown inside raised garden beds or any other large outdoor planter. (Hint: Back to the Roots Fabric Raised Garden Bed is a lightweight, space-saving, and affordable option that can help make veggie growing a cinch.)
Use this guide to learn all about the fastest growing vegetables to plant in your home garden. You’ll also get essential information about each species, so you can make an informed decision when choosing your organic seeds or seedlings.
A Few Notes About Growing Vegetables
Before we fully dive into the topic, there are a few things to keep in mind. While you’ll find an estimated germination time for each veggie in this guide, be mindful that these can vary depending on their variety and the environment and conditions where your seeds are started.
Most plants tend to grow faster in warmer seasons and mature more slowly in cooler months. However, certain species prefer and thrive in cooler climates.
If you live in a cold area with a short harvesting season, you may want to opt for seed starting indoors, so your baby plants will be ready to be transplanted outdoors when the warm weather arrives. If you’re unsure when to start, introduce your zip code on the Back to the Roots grow calendar to find out when the last frost date is in your area.
Most importantly, always read the seed packets. Each veggie family has numerous species and varieties, and while they often have similar characteristics, they can have slightly different requirements. Seed packets provide necessary information about sowing depth and spacing, sunlight and watering needs, as well as germination period and harvesting.
One of the easiest ways to kick-start your veggie garden is to pick a seed bundle including plants that grow in the season you’re in. This means you most likely won’t need to wait for the appropriate conditions, and you can see your plants thriving right away.
7 Fast-Growing Veggies For a Quick Harvest
The veggies in this list were selected because they’re ready to be harvested and eaten within approximately 60 days or less after the seeds have successfully sprouted. For this reason, they are perfect additions to your vegetable garden if you have a limited growing season or you’re simply an impatient gardener who wants to savor the fruits of your labor quickly.
This mild peppery salad green has a distinct, unmistakable flavor and makes a nutritious addition to any salad. Also known as rocket, this leafy green is a rapid grower, and you can pick the outer leaves as soon as 20 days after sprouting. These baby leaves are usually more tender and less spicy than fully mature foliage, which occurs 40 to 60 days after seeds are planted.
Arugula is a cold-weather veggie that takes 7 to 10 days to germinate, benefits from moist soil, and thrives in both full sun or partial shade.
2. Bok Choy
Bok choy, also known as pak choi and bok choi, is a brassica family vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine, either for soups and salads or in stir-fries.
This Chinese cabbage is characterized by its white-stemmed green leaves and by growing upright, similar to celery. Many people say this spring/late summer veggie tastes like a cross between mild cabbage and spinach.
While outer baby green leaves can be collected as early as 30 days after germination to be used in salads, mature leaves are harvested after 60 days by using a knife to slice the base of the cabbage. Fully-grow leaves are best for grilling, roasting, and stir-frying.
These crunchy and versatile leafy greens begin to germinate 10 to 14 days after seeds are sowed and love loose soil, plenty of water, and a nutrient-rich environment. Bok choy thrives best in a garden bed or large garden container placed in a sunny or partly shaded corner of your balcony or garden.
If you’re a newbie in the gardening world, carrots will become your best friends. These bright-orange kitchen staples are virtually impossible to kill. As true cool-weather veggies, they tolerate cold and harsh conditions and even light frost, so they grow well year-round no matter how challenging the climate might be.
But the coolest thing about carrots is that once they start growing, they’re edible at any time. In fact, you can collect baby carrots as early as six weeks after planting! They’re ready to be harvested once their shoulders reach approximately a half-inch in diameter. For full-size, mature carrots, wait a couple more weeks.
This fall/winter crop root veggie takes 14 to 21 days to germinate and thrives best in loose soil and full sun or partial shade.
Like beetroot greens, carrot greens are edible and have a delicious earthy flavor similar to Swiss chard. Many cooks also claim carrot greens taste like a hybrid between carrots and parsley. Opinions aside, carrot greens are very versatile and can be used in soups, sautees, and even blended to create a mean pesto-like sauce.
4. Green Beans
Green beans are among the easiest vegetables to grow and one of the quickest and most prolific species in any garden.
All beans fall into one of two categories: pole or bush beans. The main difference between them is that pole beans grow long and tall — reaching heights up to 15 feet — while bush beans (as the name says) grow bushier. While they’re not as impressive as their vining cousins, bush beans (green beans included) have a tactical advantage: they yield a lot faster.
They just need a sunny spot, some organic soil rich in nutrients (beans can be heavy feeders), and regular watering. They take 7-14 days to germinate and are ready to harvest 50 to 60 days after popping out of the ground.
5. Green Onions
Green onions — also known as scallions, spring onions, or bunching onions — are a great addition to any vegetable garden as they’re among the most versatile and fastest-growing veggies.
They’re a fantastic addition to stir-fries or as the perfect crunchy garnish to your Asian dishes. If you’re planning to grow green onions in your garden, you’ll be happy to know they’re great at keeping pests away, working as natural bug repellents for all your plants.
Scallions are incredibly easy to grow in most climates and conditions, but they’re a classic late spring veggie. They can be started 10 weeks before your last frost date — germination occurring 7 to 14 days after sowing seeds — and thrive best under full sun or partial shade.
Harvest them when they reach a pencil-like size — approximately 30 days after germination occurs — as the green leaves will be tender and have a less-oniony flavor.
6. Leaf Lettuce
If you’re starting your veggie garden to get the freshest produce, you must add leaf lettuce to your seed list. Nothing beats freshly-picked crisp lettuce grown by your own hands. It’s the ultimate garden-to-table experience.
While there are dozens of leaf lettuce varieties, experienced gardeners will tell you that nothing beats loose-leaf species when it comes to fast harvesting. They don’t form heads — unlike those you find at your local supermarket — and grow as leafy mounds instead.
Loose-leaf lettuce takes 7 to 10 days to germinate and can be harvested once the leaves reach 4 inches. Snip the outer leaves by cutting above the crown to avoid plant injury. Fully grown lettuce is ready for harvest around 30 to 45 days after germination.
These fast-growing vegetables love basking in full sun or in a partially shaded area. They’re perfect for growing in containers as they don’t need more than a few inches of free space around them.
Radishes are one of the most rewarding and fastest-growing vegetables in the gardening world. They’re naturally pest-resistant, don’t require a lot of care, and grow from seed to harvest in just 3 to 4 weeks. So if you don’t exactly have a green thumb, you can’t go wrong with planting radishes.
These cute little veggies love loose soil, plenty of sunlight or partial shade, and you can even eat their greens, just like beetroot, carrot, or turnip greens.
Radishes also make for delicious and nutrient-dense microgreens, which can be liberally sprinkled over your salads, scrambled eggs, or avocado toast. You’ll notice germination in 1 to 2 days and can start harvesting radish sprouts after 5 to 12 days. Talk about a quick harvest!
This early spring root vegetable is the perfect crunchy, crisp, and colorful addition to both your garden and your dishes. A quick tip: older radishes and radishes grown in hot weather have a spicier flavor. If you’re after a milder taste, make sure to harvest them earlier in the season.
Plant the Fastest Growing Vegetables and Reap the Rewards
Growing your own veggies is a fun and rewarding activity, and even more so when you can quickly see the results of your work. The vegetables on this list are sure to upgrade you from gardener newbie to confident grower in no time.
If you don’t feel like taking up this gardening challenge just yet but still want to dip your toe in the joyful waters of gardening, we can help. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to grow herbs or read our article on how to start your indoor veggie garden for some green inspiration.