Vegetables are a favorite garden plant for the simple reason that not only can you reap what you sow, but you can also eat it. Kids are especially fond of vegetable gardens and the concept of growing their own food, but their short attention spans almost mandate that you plant vegetables that mature quickly so they won't forget about the garden and move on to something else. Plant a few of the fastest-growing vegetables for quick results.
Leaf lettuce, such as Romaine, can be harvested as early as 30 days after planting. Scatter the seeds so you don't need to thin; start cutting the leaves once they reach a length of about 3 inches.
Zucchini plants tend to grow almost immediately. While the first fruits typically aren't ready for harvest until about 70 days after planting, the sprawling vines with large, fan-like leaves can easily take over a garden plot within several weeks of planting. Space out plants at least 2 feet apart.
Turnips also are fast growers, particularly if they are planted in rich, loose soil with lots of organic matter and compost. Turnip greens, a staple of Southern cuisine, can be harvested when the plants are young, as early as 40 days after planting. Turnip roots are generally ready after 60 days, when they can already measure up to 3 inches in diameter.
They might be a little spicy for some tastes, but radishes are among the fastest-growing root vegetables around. Sprouts emerge within days of the seeds being sown and can be thinned as early as two weeks after planting. Radishes typically are ready for harvest after just 30 days.
Spinach is one of the fastest-growing leaf vegetables. Plant in the spring and start harvesting the leaves in four to six weeks, beginning with the older, larger ones. The spinach plant will keep growing and producing new leaves well into the summer.
Parsley grows fast and furiously, and can be harvested within three weeks of planting. As a general rule, you can harvest up to 20 percent of a leafy plant like parsley and the plant will quickly rejuvenate itself.