All these fast growing vegetables and fruits are ready to harvest in around 75 days or less. Some of them will be better suited for the early spring, and others for the late summer. Many of them are great choices for early fall when the cooler weather starts arriving, such as leafy greens. And all of them are great to add to a cold frame, extending the end of the season.
No matter the gardener, these are great options for your backyard garden, no matter the gardening method, when you’re looking to grow your own vegetables.
Table of contents
23 fast-growing vegetables harvested within 75 days or less after the time of sowing. Plus a few quick tips to maximize your garden space!
It’s okay to be an impatient gardener at times – it happens to the best of us. If you’re just starting your vegetable gardens, these are a greta selection of fast-growing fruits and vegetables. Let’s get growing!
Fastest growing vegetables you can harvest within 35 days
Green Onions: Most often called a scallion, or spring onions, this veggie is 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!
Make sure they’re planted in well-drained soil. Since spring onions are a fast grower, you can direct sow them after your last frost date until mid-Fall in warmer climates and early spring to early Fall in cooler regions.
Radishes: The ‘Cherry Belle’ takes 22 days to harvest and it’s the most common radish to see in a grocery store. Cherry Belles have a mild flavor and a pleasantly short growing season. Since you harvest the entire plant, you can either succession sow or harvest and make room for the next crop.
Kale: Ready to harvest as soon as 50-55 days, as long as you avoid picking the central bud. Kale continues to be a fast growing vegetable and produces starting at around 2 inches. Kale is fully matured at 70-80 days.
You can pick baby kale as soon as they start appearing, always leaving a leaf or two.
My favorite varieties are Curly Leafed Kale and Red Russian Kale. Though kale is an excellent choice of quick-growing vegetables, you’ll want to avoid the bulk of your growing season taking place in the warm weather. As the weather gets warmer, kale will get more bitter.
For the best taste, grow kale in the fall season when winter temperatures don’t fall below the teens. Depending on your zone, you can also get an early start in the spring with transplants, as established kale plants can stand up against any late frosts.
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.
With spinach, and most quick-growing finger-sized variety greens, you’ll receive a continual harvest of individual leaves until the plant starts to bolt.
Arugula: This Vitamin-K packed salad green is ready to harvest when the leaves are large enough to eat. This occurs typically between 30 to 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.
When I lived in Florida, I would grow arugula in my fall garden, and even in the heat of summer thanks to my hoop gardens. Since they weren’t great as salad leaves at that time, I’d feed them to my rabbits.
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.
Swiss chard is a beautiful vegetable to grow in the garden, providing a beautiful, unique green full of colors if you grow varieties such as Rhubarb chard.
Lettuce: Plant two or three crops by planting varieties of lettuce in succession that mature in 45-55 days. Sierra or Simpson Elite are good options, and a great cut and come again leaf lettuce.
Looseleaf and butterhead varieties are both fast-growing vegetables. They can be harvested at almost any time in their development.
Heading varieties, such as romaine lettuce, take longer to mature (75-85 days) and typically require a full head harvest once all mature leaves are grown. Although (confession session, time!) I do usually steal some of the outside leaves if I have enough heading lettuce planted.
So, depending on how much of a gardening rebel you are, romaine lettuce can also provide a continuous harvest if you need it to.
Micro-greens: Ready to harvest only 2-3 weeks after sowing, snip the micro-greens above the soil line when you see the first set of real leaves. Micro-greens have a short harvest time and are one of the most popular, fastest-growing vegetables for gardeners of all levels!
Vegetables you can harvest within 60 days
All of these vegetables are a great choice to include in your container gardens, raised garden beds or even a small garden on the back deck.
Though they take a little longer to reach your first harvest, they are still considered quick harvests amongst other options.
Mustard Greens: Most mustard greens varieties are ready for harvest within 45 days or less. They’ll reach full size around 45 days. For heat-tolerant and curly-leafed greens, try growing Green Wave or Southern Giant Curled. Both are 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 varieties: 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 is 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.
Beans typically prefer a sunny spot, and a mild soil temperature with good drainage to yield their best results.
When you notice green shoots popping up, add a layer of mulch around the base of the crop for soil temperature control, pest control and moisture retention.
Bush Beans: Ready to harvest 50-60 days after sowing. An optimal crop to direct sow in the full sun, it’s a favorite vegetable among most gardeners for their faster harvest and high output.
Picking the pods daily encourages the flowering and production of new pods. Continue to pick these fast-growing vegetable pods before the whole plant fully matures.
Mature plants will continue providing a plethora of beans throughout the end of summer.
Green beans are ready to pick when they feel full and firm, but still tender.
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.
Once you notice pea shoots, be sure to monitor the soil temperature and saturation. Mulching your peas, whether snow peas or sugar snap, is a great way to provide insulation for any soil type.
Summer Squash: Botanically a fruit, this fast-growing summer “vegetable”, produces its first “fruits” approximately 40 days to 50 days from planting (depending on the growing conditions and cultivator, of course). A great hot weather option, squash tastes the best when the skin is tender, around 4-6 inches, and does 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. You can still utilize large squash for squash breads and soups. Just remove the large seeds first.
Zucchini: Similar to summer squash, zucchini is most enjoyable between 4 and 8 inches and takes 35-55 days to harvest from sowing. We grow Black Beauty Zucchini in our gardens and have loved it.
Zucchini is easy to grow all summer long and is usually the first thing that many gardeners ever grow in the summer.
Also botanically a fruit, zucchini grows very quickly so keep an eye on them during the growing season!
Cucumbers: Ready for harvest 50-70 days from planting, cucumbers are a fast-growing, multi-use vegetable. 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.
Baby beets can be enjoyed if you get a late start on planting, or you can add a row cover to extend your season and protect them from any frost danger.
In the spirit of not wasting, you can also enjoy beet greens! Add them to a salad with other baby greens and asian greens for a refreshing snack.
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.
Broccoli can tolerate a bit of light frost if covered, or not exposed for prolonged periods. Though this crop can require a long season, it is a popular choice among so many backyard gardeners.
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.
Cabbage | Bok choy: A type of Chinese cabbage, you can start harvesting baby bok choy within 45 days in most cases!
Another Chinese cabbage, pak choi, is sometimes mistaken for bok choy. Bok Choy has a white stem and Pak Choy has a green stem, though they are often used interchangeably in recipes.
Some folks say that Chinese cabbages yield a sort of peppery flavor. You can eat Bok choy raw in salads, but the leaves must be harvested young. This quick veggie is best cooked and works well in spicy dishes to subdue heat.
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. You can also plant late in the summer to harvest before the first frost.
Keep in mind that cabbage needs a fair amount of room to grow, but can also be planted strategically to provide shade for neighboring crops!
Scatter the small seeds in a long row and thin the seedlings as they grow for the best harvest! A couple seed packets will go a long way!
Carrots are among my favorite of the root vegetables to grow, with garlic coming in as a close second.
Protip: You can use the carrot tops to make pesto!
Tomatoes: If you’re direct sowing tomato seeds, you can expect some varieties to start producing fruits around 40 days to 50 days. Transplants will provide you with 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 easy to grow crops
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. The only catch is that it can’t be another tomato plant (pun intended).
Inter-cropping is similar in ways to catch cropping, instead, it’s intentional. You’re using space in a way that promotes less soil erosion and pests, by pairing slow-growing vegetables with fast-growing vegetables (like kale and garlic).
You’ll leave the garlic in the ground while harvesting the kale. Lettuce and brussel sprouts are 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 partial shade 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.
Pro tip: If you’re trying out The Three Sister method, be sure to give your groups enough room to grow. Plant them in mounds or a spiral instead of rows.
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).
Summarizing the fastest growing vegetables and fruits
We can all be a little impatient when it comes to gardening. Planting fast-growing, easy vegetables can help tremendously when gardening, especially as a beginning gardener.
Getting a head start in the cooler months by starting seeds is common. With a shallow tray and a few seed packets, you can be on your way to a quicker harvest in the spring.
You can also try growing fruits eventually, although many fruits are more of a time investment than vegetables. Try something simple like strawberries first!
Have you ever grown any of these crops before?
More on gardening:
- How to plant a vegetable garden
- Best vegetables for raised beds
- The 5 easiest vegetables to grow as a beginning gardener
This post has been featured on the Homestead Blog Hop!