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14 Of The Best Fast Growing Vegetables For Spring

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When spring finally arrives you want to get outside and tend to your garden. You might think you have to wait until early summer to plant your garden but there are many different types of fast growing vegetables for spring gardens that do well in cool weather.

Many favorite vegetables actually thrive in cool weather and will taste sweeter if you start growing your garden early.

Of course, it’s best to provide some extra protection from extreme cold and frost if you are expecting bad weather.

Let’s look at the best fast-growing green vegetables and root crops that can get you a quick harvest from your garden.

Kohlrabi plant in the garden. Text overlay says 14 Fast Growing Vegetables For Spring Gardens.

Best Fast Growing Vegetables For Spring

1. Spinach

Baby spinach in a spring garden.

Spinach is the perfect spring vegetable for the home gardener because it thrives in wet and moist conditions. It is incredibly easy to plant, too, both from sets like you would for lettuce or cabbage or from seed.

It also grows fast and can be harvested starting when the plant has 5 or 6 leaves. Spinach is great raw in salads or as a sandwich topping, but it’s also tasty when cooked down with onions and garlic in olive oil, just add some chopped tomatoes for added flavor.

2. Arugula

Arugula plant growing in mulch.

Arugula also called rocket grows well in the spring. It’s a member of the mustard family, which makes it very hardy and easy to grow.

Arugula can be grown from seed directly or started indoors in pots before moving it out to the garden. It has a distinctively peppery flavor that blends well with other salad greens and vegetables or can be used as a garnish.

3. Kale

Young kale plants.

Kale is one of the hardiest vegetables you can grow. It really loves cool weather and is one of those vegetables that tastes the best when it’s cold.

Kale is also highly nutritious, providing vitamin C, iron, and calcium as well as being a good source of fiber.

To grow kale, it should be planted in the fall or early spring. Kale doesn’t like much heat or sun. Instead, plant it in an area of your garden that gets lots of shade when the summer sun is at its peak.

4. Collards

Collard greens on a wooden table.

Collards are fast-growing and need little care to keep well. They are extremely nutritious and are ready to harvest really early. Some varieties are fully mature in 55 days and even others that take longer can be harvested earlier.

Unlike cabbage, you don’t have to wait for collards to fully grow before you can start eating them. Treat collards like any other leafy green vegetable and cut off leaves as needed.

5. Radish

Freshly harvested radishes held up.

Radishes can be planted in the early spring and enjoy cool weather. They are a quick-growing vegetable that is juicy and bursting with flavor.

Radishes are great raw in salads or cooked as a side dish. It can be tricky to grow radishes as you have to space them very carefully or they will be crowded in the ground and not produce nice-sized bulbs.

Make sure to keep them well watered so they grow quickly and then they are less likely to bolt.

6. Beets

Young beet plants in a wood chip garden.

Beets are a cold-hardy root vegetable that can be grown in the spring or summer. The roots are generally harvested before they get too large because they taste best at a small size.

Beets are one of the most nutrient-dense foods and are rich in potassium and folate.

The beet greens can also be eaten when the beets are harvested. Beets can be prepared by boiling them or eating them raw, but they taste best roasted with a little salt.

7. Lettuce

Red and green lettuce growing in a garden.

Lettuce is perfect in the mid-spring garden. It is extremely easy to grow and can be grown from seed or sets that you start yourself or have been purchased at a local garden store.

Plants love the sun, but will also do well if provided with partial shade. Lettuce prefers cool weather and grows best in well-drained soil with a rich organic matter content.

Lettuce does not like heat and will bolt quickly in the summer. Spring and fall are the perfect time to grow lettuce in your garden unless you have lots of shade to plant in during the summer.

8. Turnips

Purple top turnips in the garden.

Turnips are cool weather-loving plants that grow fast. They are among the easiest vegetables to grow in the spring and should be planted as soon as soil can be worked in the spring.

Turnips thrive in fertile, well-drained soil and experience little to no stress when grown in cool conditions.

Turnips are best enjoyed raw in salads or prepared as a side dish just by combining them with other root vegetables like carrots or celery in a stir fry or roasted vegetable mix.

9. Peas

Green pea pods on a pea plant.

Snow peas and snap peas are two different kinds of peas. They are both easy to grow and enjoy cool weather, but will also produce well in the summer and fall.

Peas are great in salads or cooked with pork, chicken, or fish. Peas are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin A, and folate making them a great healthy choice to eat.

Peas are also tastier when harvested younger before the peas start to dry out.

If you have a small garden space or live in an apartment where you can’t grow your own peas, look for varieties that don’t require a lot of room to grow. Some varieties of peas can grow to be 6 feet tall while others stop growing at about 2 feet in height.

10. Carrots

Freshly harvested carrots held up from a garden.

Carrots are a biannual root vegetable that is generally considered a cool-weather vegetable. They grow best in cool weather, although they will grow and produce well in the summer as well.

Once your carrots have reached their maturity, they can be harvested when they are about 4-6 inches (10-15cm) tall or longer depending on the type you are growing.

Carrots are extremely nutritious and best harvested in cool weather to improve their sweetness.

11. Kohlrabi

Green kohlrabi plant in a garden.

Kohlrabi looks like a root vegetable but it’s not it’s actually a member of the brassica family that forms a large bulb at the base of its stem. It’s very similar to broccoli and cabbage in taste but normally sweeter.

Kohlrabi is a tender vegetable that is best grown outdoors in the late spring and summer.

The shoots on kohlrabi are tasty eaten raw in salads. Kohlrabi is also used in a wide variety of dishes, such as soups and meat dishes.

12. Swiss Chard

Red and yellow Swiss chard growing in a straw mulched garden.

Swiss chard is a cool-season vegetable that grows best in spring and fall but still produces lots of tender greens for you in the summer.

When Swiss chard first starts growing, it will look similar to beet greens and this makes sense because it’s basically a beet variety that has been bred not to form a root.

The stems of Swiss chard are tender and can be eaten cooked. They can also be eaten raw as a salad vegetable.

You can start harvesting Swiss chard for baby greens in the early spring long before many other vegetables are ready to plant outside.

13. Green Onions

Freshly harvested green onions on a wooden cutting board.

Green onions just like bulb onions are very cold hardy and can be planted out in the garden early.

Green onions are perfect for container gardening because they grow up out of the ground instead of growing downwards. They are also commonly used to garnish dishes and can be used in salads or cooked as you would any other onion.

Green onions can be harvested continuously once their leaves reach 6 inches high or more. Pick the whole onion or cut off some green leaves and the plant will regrow.

14. Bok Choy

Young bok choy plants in a garden.

Bok choy is a highly nutritious Chinese vegetable that can be harvested early and often. It’s one of the most popular Asian vegetables you can grow in your garden.

It prefers to grow in cool weather and will often bolt in the summer heat. Plant it outside at your frost-free date or earlier if you can give it protection from frost.

Bok choy is perfect in stir-fries and salads. You can harvest small amounts of it daily or you can wait until it gets larger and harvests large quantities at once.

People often think of growing vegetables as a summer activity. But this is not fully true, many vegetables can be grown outdoors during cooler weather in the spring and fall.

By focusing on vegetables that grow very fast your garden can provide you with fresh food during shoulder seasons when fresh homegrown food isn’t normally available.

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Sunday 24th of April 2022

If you can add me to your mailing list notifications, I would appreciate it. Gardening has been a lifelong pursuit for me until old age made me curtail my infatuation with plants and cooking/canning,etc. That doesn't mean I can't still enjoy watching what you are up to. ;) Thanks