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Garden Idea: Grow Speedy Vegetables

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Impatient gardeners who want to see the fruits of their labours sooner rather than later have been advised on seven vegetables with the quickest growing times.

Horticulture experts from Gardening Express have revealed the veggies that germinate and are ready to harvest in no time, with some taking as little as 5-7 days from sowing.

Salad leaves and radishes are two varieties that produce the quickest results, but some carrot types and dwarf green beans are also speedy.

Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express said: “If you dream of harvesting your own home-grown produce but are too impatient to wait for months on end, there are certain crops you could be harvesting in a matters of days.

“These varieties are also easy to grow as they don't require much ongoing maintenance, so are perfect for beginners too.”

1. Cress – sowing to harvest: 5-7 days

Sprinkle cress seeds over the surface of a pot or sow in the ground in either a block or row, quite close together. If cress becomes too hot and dry, it tends to bolt, so it's a good choice for an area that's a bit shady and, for best results, it needs to be grown in soil that remains moist.

2. Salad leaves – sowing to harvest: 21 days

Grow individual varieties of salad leaves or create your own blend by mixing two or more varieties together before sowing. For the quickest results, sow the seeds very thinly spaced around 15-25cm apart. Cover the seeds over gently and pat the surface of the soil down. Water along the rows then keep the soil moist and weed-free as the seedlings grow.

3. Radishes – sowing to harvest: 25 days

Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables to grow, taking just 3-4 weeks. Seeds can be sown into prepared ground or pots of potting soil. Make sure you sow the seeds very thinly, spacing them about 2.5cm apart.

4. Spinach – sowing to harvest: 30 days

Start spinach off once a month to enjoy right up until the first frosts. Sow into rows about 30cm apart and set the seeds 2.5cm apart. Then, thin the resulting seedlings to roughly 20cm apart. Plants can quickly bolt in hot weather, which causes the leaves to turn bitter. Prevent this by sowing in light shade during the heat of summer and by keeping the ground moist.

5. Carrots – sowing to harvest: 50 days

Regular carrots are not the speediest vegetables but choose a quick-growing finger-sized variety and you can expect sweet, crunchy crops in just six weeks. Sow into pots of potting soil, spreading the seed thinly over the surface, then cover with a thin sieved layer of compost.

6. Dwarf green beans – sowing to harvest: 60 days

Taking just two months from sowing to pod production, dwarf green beans are one of the quickest growing varieties – plus kids love them! In summer the beans can be sown directly into the ground or into pots of potting soil. Poke the seeds into the soil so they are 25-40cm apart. Sow a batch once a month until the end of summer.

7. Peas – sowing to harvest: 60-70 days

Growing pea plants is incredibly easy and you can achieve a good yield in a small space. Peas are a cool season crop, enjoying temperatures of 13 – 18C, so are well suited to the UK climate. Remember to provide supports for your pea plants to cling to, and cover trenches with chicken wire or netting after sowing, as birds love to steal pea seed.

Find out more at GardeningExpress.co.uk

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