Vegetables That Grow Quickly

Fast growing vegetables are favored by gardeners for more than the excitement of the first harvest in spring or fall. They allow for efficient intercropping. You can plant the fast growers first; then, as they reach maturity, plant the slower growing vegetables between the rows. The second crop takes over and you can pull out the spent plants from the first crop.

Bush beans

Bush or snap beans can be ready to harvest in just 45 to 60 days after planting, compared to 60 to 110 days for pole beans. Bush beans are grown for consumption of both the pods and the seeds. The two most popular types are green or yellow wax beans.


Small carrots harvested before maturity are delicious. Gardeners sow carrot seeds in rows, and then thin the seedlings to 3 inches apart when they are large and sturdy enough to remove without breaking off the tops. The carrots can be eaten any time after they reach this stage of development. For gardeners who want to harvest the crop when it gets larger, varieties of carrots can be ready as early as 50 to 60 days after planting.


Radishes are the speediest vegetables in the garden, ready for harvest within 30 to 40 days after being planted. Many times they are the first seeds to go into the ground after the danger of frost has passed. Because they are easy to grow, they are often used to introduce children to the fun of gardening. They also play a valuable role in the garden by keeping pests away from other vegetables.


Tender young peas are a treat to pick and eat right there in the garden. They are sweet tasting and can be eaten as soon as the pods are filled. It is best to pick the crop before the pods' color begins to fade. Because peas are a cool season crop, their rapid growth rate allows gardeners in the south and southwest to harvest a spring crop before the hot weather sets in. Depending on the variety, peas can be harvested as early as 54 days after planting.


Squash plants reach maturity 50 to 65 days after planting, but the fruit is better tasting when picked prior to maturity. Elongated varieties such as zucchini can be consumed as soon as they reach 6 to 8 inches in length. Squash left on the plant too long can lose flavor. If the rind becomes hard, this is a sign the squash may be past its maturity.

Leaf lettuce

Gardeners can begin harvesting leaf lettuce when the plants reach 5 inches in height. This can be as soon as 40 days after planting, depending on the variety. These tender young lettuce leaves add tremendous fresh flavor to a salad.

Keywords: planting vegetables, fast growing vegetables, vegetable gardening

About this Author

Brian Hill’s first writing credit was the cover story for a national magazine. He is the author of three popular books, The Making of a Bestseller, Inside Secrets to Venture Capital and Attracting Capital from Angels. Among his magazine article credits are the March 2005 and June 2008 issues of The Writer. His interests include golf, football, movies and his two dogs.