Six veggies that are ready in six weeks
Are you interested in fast-maturing vegetables that are also fast-moving in the market? Try these six options. After harvesting early crops like beans and peas, you can follow up with these quick-growing vegetables.
With fast-growing vegetables, you do not need a long season to get a good harvest. For high yields, add compost to the soil between successive crops to encourage healthy growth.
Cold-hardy and resilient, kale is an easy member of the cabbage family to grow. You can try the popular ‘baby kale’. Baby kales are small, light leaves of regular kale. Cut it just above the growth point, about an inch above the soil, to ensure re-growth. Because the leaves are much smaller than regular kale leaves (and much thinner to boot), baby kale is best served in salads.
Sow direct into prepared ground, or start them off in plug trays to plant out a few weeks later. Most are pretty hardy and will continue to give some leaves for cutting throughout the season, especially if provided some protection in the form of a greenhouse or hoop house. Asian greens grow well in pots, troughs and trays too, either as individual plants or sown as a mixture of different species and/or varieties to give a tasty explosion of flavours in one handy container.
Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin of broccoli, kale and cabbage. It is a fast-growing vegetables with standard garden arugula ready to pick in just 21 days from planting. Peppery arugula is quick and easy to grow in garden beds and containers. The leaves have a peppery, spicy flavour that grows more bitter with age. You can also eat the seeds whole or pressed in an oil.
Radishes are a group of root vegetables with light-coloured, crunchy flesh, variable skin colour, and an almost spicy, peppery taste. They vary in shape from short and round to long and narrow, and the skin can be red, black, white, yellow, pink or purple. Radishes are incredibly fast to grow with some varieties ready to harvest just three weeks from seeding. Like carrots, radish plants are primarily grown for their roots. Though the soil needs to be rich in organic matter, it should not be compacted. If your soil is more clay-like, mix in some sand to loosen it and improve drainage.
Spinach is one of the most satisfying cool-weather crops to grow, producing large yields of vitamin-rich, dark green leaves that are excellent for salads and cooking. Spinach does best when growing in moist, nitrogen-rich soil. Spinach plants form a deep taproot.
For best growth, loosen the soil at least 1-foot-deep before planting. As the plants grow, harvest the outer leaves often to encourage fresh leaf production, but pull the plants before they bolt. Once flowering begins, spinach quickly turns bitter, so don’t wait to harvest. There are many cultivars to grow in pots and beds.
Microgreens are sometimes confused with sprouts that are germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed, and shoot.
Microgreens, however, include a variety of edible immature greens, harvested with scissors less than a month after germination, when the plants are up to two inches tall. The stem, cotyledons (or seed leaves) and first set of true leaves are all edible. Salad greens, leafy vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers can be grown as microgreens, though some varieties are better suited than others.
Start by growing one type of seed, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, chia, sunflower, or buckwheat which are few examples of the easiest-to-grow varieties of microgreens in a single container. If your climate is suitable, microgreens can be also be grown outdoors in the garden, under shade. Like all fragile seedlings, you’ll need to protect them from weather extremes and drying winds, not to mention hungry garden pests.
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