Growing times vary for vegetables. They can be grouped for estimated time to maturity. Maturity rates depend on the warmth of the soil. Maturity times presume that optimal growing conditions exist for each plant variety.
Cold Weather Crops versus Warm Weather Crops
Cold weather crops are vegetables that tolerate and grow best in cool weather. They can take a small amount of frost and are planted in early spring and late summer (for fall harvest). They produce leafy and tuberous fruit when they mature. They will produce seeds and wither as the weather becomes warmer. Warm weather crops have no tolerance for cool weather. They need full sun and require more water to produce fruit. Warm weather crops take longer to mature.
Vegetables that Mature in 30 Days
Radishes, mushrooms and spring onions are ready to harvest in 25 to 30 days. Baby greens, such as loose leaf lettuce, mesclun mix, spinach and Swiss chard can be harvested in 35 days. Radishes wilt and become spongy quickly, pay close attention to them to pick them at their peak. Mushrooms will vary depending on species and size desired. If onions are not picked early they will continue to mature and become storage onions. Baby green leafs can be harvested with a pair of scissors. Snip gently so as not to damage the plant and allow for future more mature harvest.
Vegetables that Mature in 45 to 60 Days
Bush beans, pole beans, beets, onions and peas mature in 45 to 60 days. Several harvests are obtained from beans and peas. Pick them frequently as the fruit matures to receive multiple harvests. Beets can be harvested once the bulb reaches 1 inch in diameter. They are the most tender at this point. Onions can be left in the ground longer for storage when they are a fall crop.
Vegetables that Mature in 90 to 150 Days
Lettuce, spinach, greens and new potatoes reach full maturity at 90 days. Corn, carrots, potatoes and cucumbers are ready for harvesting after 120 to 150 days. Harvest leafy greens with scissors, cutting the leaves gently to obtain multiple harvests. New potatoes are the small first potatoes that develop. They can be left in the ground to fully mature. Corn is ready for harvesting when the ears have completely filled and have rounded tips. The silks also dry out as corn reaches its peak. Potatoes are completely mature and ready to be dug up when the plants have died back. Cucumbers need to be harvested at 4 to 5 inches long. If the fruit is left on the vine to become larger the plant will die back. This requires daily picking as the fruit ripens.
Vegetables that Mature in 4-5 months
Brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower mature in four to five months. Vine plants such as tomato, pepper, squash and melons are ready for harvest in four to five months. Brassicas are cool weather vegetables and are normally harvested in spring and fall. There are some hybrid species that can tolerate some heat. As the weather warms they will go to seed faster. Vine plants such as tomatoes and peppers require that harvesting be done daily to avoid plant rot, molds and mildew.
Perennial vegetables reach maturity after two years. Asparagus and rhubarb planted in springtime will not be ready for harvesting until the second year. Perennial vegetables need permanent locations in your garden. Moving them will prevent them from producing. Asparagus should be harvested every other day to prevent the stems from becoming too fibrous. Rhubarb is harvested by cutting the stems at soil level.