Let’s face it: gardening can be challenging. The idea of waiting weeks and weeks for produce to be ready seems disheartening.
This is particularly true if you live in a suburban area, like I do, where the nearest grocery store is less than a quarter-mile away. If I want fresh tomatoes, the expansive produce department at my favorite store has an ever-present supply. Why go through the trouble of waiting so long for a harvest when I can simply pick up what I need at the market?
There are plenty of reasons  you should be gardening, but did you know that some plants can be harvest-ready in a matter of days? Yes, days. If you struggle wondering if the effort of a garden is worth it, then planting a few of these fast-growers gives you (almost) immediate results and can help you hold on through the long days of waiting for harvest.
As you’re planning your garden, add in a few of these plants to jump-start your production. Of course, spinach and lettuce are popular quick-growing varieties, but here are eight others:
1. Sunflower Shoots. These tiny sunflower shoots are ready to harvest in about 12 days. Ready to be used when the stem has two leaves, they are a wonderful addition to salads. Even better, they’re packed with nutrition, so they’re a healthy “fast food.”
2. Radishes. Green shoots show up in a matter of days; most have growth three days after planting seeds. If you want continual growth, plant a few seeds every week to maintain a steady supply of this peppery vegetable. Use heirloom radishes to get a variety of colors and flavors These are a great starter veggie for small children to grow, as well.
3. Arugula. A popular salad green, arugula grows quickly and easily. It’s slightly peppery taste gives your salad a kick, and the quick growth gives you gardening satisfaction in around 20 days. Simply cut the leaves when they are large enough, and continue to enjoy fresh arugula all summer long.
4. Green onions. Sometimes known as scallions, these easy-to-grow onions are ready for harvest in 21 days. Harvest the green shoots when they reach about six inches tall. Leave the onion bulb planted for a continuous supply of shoots.
5. Bok choy. An Asian green, this plant not only tastes good, bit it’s beautiful to grow, too. Leaves can be harvested individually, or you can use the entire plant and use the bulb, as well. Plant seeds staggered through the spring for a sustained harvest of this exotic lettuce. Baby Bok choy is ready to harvest in 30 days.
6. Tatsoi. Another fast-growing green, tatsoi is a mustard green that is perfect for salads and soups. Harvest when the leaves are four-inches tall, or wait until they reach full maturity at 40 days.
7. Chinese cabbage. A unique garden variety, this plant doesn’t tolerate heat well, so plant in a shady area of your garden. Harvest the entire head of greens in 30 days for a delicious addition to your salads.
8. Turnips. An old-fashioned garden staple, turnips are easy to grow and can be used in their entirety. Tender roots are mild when harvested early (around 30 days after planting), or you can let them reach maturity (in 60 days) and use the greens. Let bulbs grow to a diameter of about three inches before plucking at full growth.
Add some of these quick turn-around plants to your garden to give you immediate gardening gratification. Not only will it make your efforts pay-off, but the plants will add variety and interest to your table!
What are your favorite fast-growing plants? Share your tips in the section below: