Lawn & Garden Gardening

12 Fast-Growing Vegetables for Your Home Garden

Harvest an abundance of fresh produce from your backyard garden less than 60 days after planting these fast-growing vegetables.
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Are you looking for (nearly) instant gratification from your modern-day victory garden? From early spring through late summer, you can plant fast-growing vegetables that take less than two months to grow from seed to harvest.

The best choices depend on when you plant. Begin planting cool-season vegetables two weeks before your last frost date, until overnight low temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees, and again when night-time temperatures cool down in late summer. Plant warm-season crops after all danger of frost has passed. Use this handy tool to find your first and last frost dates.

Following are 12 of the fastest growing vegetables you can plant in your home garden.


Radishes add a mild bite to salads and make a great snack alongside bread and butter. They also grow lightning fast. Sow the seeds at a rate of one every 6 inches in the same rows with slow-to-sprout seeds like carrots. The radishes send up their leaves in three to five days, while carrots can take two weeks or longer. The radishes mark the row until the carrots emerge, and will be ready to harvest before the slower crops need the space.

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 25 days.

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Leaf Lettuce

Lettuce offers a great diversity of leaf colors and textures to brighten your garden and your plate. Leaf lettuce is perfect for “cut-and-come-again” gardening. Harvest a few leaves at a time and they soon will regrow. Take up to one-third of the foliage at each harvest. Harvest weekly until leaf production slows or the plants begin to flower.

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 45 days.


Beets are versatile vegetables. Raw, cooked, or pickled, beets add earthy sweetness and rich color to all kinds of dishes. Beets made this list because they grow from seed to harvest in about seven weeks. Give them a head start by soaking the seeds in water overnight before sowing.

Cool season or warm season. Time from sowing to harvest: 50 days.

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Grated into coleslaw or mixed into mashed potatoes, turnips add a pungent twist to classic dishes. In your vegetable garden, sow the tiny seeds thinly, evenly, and sparingly. Turnips have a high germination rate, and it is easy to plant way more than you need. Because they grow quickly and take up a small amount of space, turnips are great for succession planting (growing crops a few weeks apart for longer yield).

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 45 days.


Scallions, and their close relative green onions, add sweet, pungent flavor to salads, soups and stews and are ready in a month or so. Scallions do not form a round bulb. Instead, if not harvested, they form clumps of pencil-thin shoots. Grow them from seeds planted before the last spring frost date.

Green onions are immature bulb onions, used the same way as scallions. Plant onion seedlings (tiny green onions, usually sold in bundles) or sets (small onion bulbs, sold in mesh bags) in late winter, up to two months before the last frost date. Harvest when the shoots are still thin, young, and tender.

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 30 days.

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Spinach is an essential ingredient in fresh salads, palak paneer, and countless recipes. It is a fast grower in your vegetable garden. Soak the seeds overnight before sowing to reduce germination time. Reduce the harvest time further by picking baby leaves as early as 30 days out. For repeat harvest, take no more than one-third of the leaves at a time and allow plants to regrow for at least a week between harvests.

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 45 days.


Kale has become the poster child of healthy eating and is a versatile green. Make smoothies, kale chips, or an old-fashioned mess of greens throughout the growing season. Sow seeds 2 to 3 inches apart, and thin to 12-inch spacing as the plants mature. Use the thinned plants in your favorite recipes. This classic power green is ready for light harvest of baby leaves in just three weeks. Harvest weekly, taking no more than one-third of the foliage each time.

Cool season or warm season. Time from sowing to harvest: 40 days.

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Swiss Chard

Swiss chard adds sweetness to fresh salads or sautéed spinach. To speed up germination, soak the seeds up to 24 hours before sowing. Harvest young leaves up to 2 inches in diameter for fresh use. Allow leaves to mature for cooking.

Cool season or warm season. Time from sowing to harvest: 21 days.


Broccoli is raised for its tasty flower buds, or florets, but the leaves and stalk are delicious as well. The floret is ready to harvest when its buds are swollen but before they begin to open. Cut it 1 to 2 inches below the base of the head. Leave the plant in place to produce additional side-shoot florets within a week or two of harvesting the main head.

Cool season. Time from sowing to harvest: 50 days.

Green Beans

Fresh green beans are delicious sautéed or pickled. For a fast-growing crop, plant bush beans instead of pole beans. Bush beans need no support since they grow to only about 2 feet tall. Harvest beans when they are full and plump, but before you see large seed bumps or they turn yellow. After the first harvest, beans will continue to produce about once a week for up to a month.

Warm season. Time from sowing to harvest: 50 days.

Summer Squash

Pull out your favorite recipes for sautéed squash, squash casserole, and zucchini bread. You won’t have to wait long for an abundant harvest of summer squash that continues for weeks. Harvest young summer squash when they reach 6 to 8 inches. Once the harvest begins, check daily for new fruits.

Warm season. Time from sowing to harvest: 50 days.

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Pickled or fresh, cucumbers add summery freshness to any meal. They grow quickly and are highly productive for a month or more after the harvest begins. Check daily for new ripe cucumbers. Most families only need one or two plants for fresh eating. For pickles, plant a few more.

Warm Season. Time from sowing to harvest: 55 days.

Reap The Harvest

You won’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of your labor.