Having a vegetable garden gives you the chance to observe the process unfold — how a tiny seed slowly turns into an edible plant. But this doesn’t happen overnight. For instance, produce such as peppers and tomatoes are known for long growing seasons. Also, some crops may need more than 100 days to mature! But what if you don’t want to wait such a long time and still want to grow your own produce?
When you start to grow an edible garden, waiting for your vegetables to harvest can be difficult. But here’s the solution you may have been searching for: fast-growing leafy vegetables! You just have to sow some seeds here and there, give them some water, and you’ll have a steady supply of fresh leafy vegetables from your own garden all summer long.
Are you ready to start planting and, of course, eating quicker than expected? Below you’ll find 10 fast-growing leafy vegetables you can harvest in just 15 days (with No. 9 being the fastest-growing leafy vegetable).
Fenugreek is a well-known Indian herb. Both its leaves and seeds are edible: while the former are used as vegetables, the latter is used as a spice. Fenugreek has a unique bitter flavor and a strong aroma. It works best in dals and sag aloos (both Indian meals), but you can also stir it into pasta sauces or sauté it with lemon and garlic.
Fortunately for impatient gardeners, it’s not that hard to find fenugreek seeds to grow this leafy vegetable. The seeds will start to germinate soon after you sow them. Fenugreek can be harvested within 12-14 days of sowing. Simply remove the fresh mature leaves by trimming them off, and some new leaves will regrow again.
Arugula is a salad green that’s also known as rocket or roquette in French. This mustard family member is definitely a rocket: the seeds germinate quickly — even in wet, cold soil — and its leaves grow rapidly. As a cold-season leafy vegetable, arugula does best if planted in late summer or early spring.
After planting the seeds, the seedling will grow in 7-14 days. Arugula takes some getting used to. It has a complex, peppery, smoky scent and flavor that some describe as skunky. But here’s a trick: the earlier you pluck the leaves, the more tender and sweet they will taste.
3. Green Onions
Green onions are definitely one of the most versatile veggies. There are various ways to eat it, from adding it into your salad to garnishing your food. There are many great things about the green onion. You don’t have to own a garden to grow this leafy vegetable — you can even plant it in a DIY container and grow it on your windowsill.
If you choose to grow green onions in containers, then you can start doing that anytime you want. In a cold climate, this leafy vegetable can be grown from spring to fall and even in winters if it’s well-tended. If you live in a warm climate, then you can grow green onions all year round.
When it comes to planting them, you can either use onion bulbs or their root parts.
Spinach, a super tough leafy vegetable, is a very popular crop that you can plant in very early spring, but also in fall and even winter in some places. It’s a versatile leafy green; you can add it in pasta sauces or in your salad or smoothie. Also, it can be eaten both cooked or raw. It’s higher in calcium, vitamins, and iron than any other cultivated greens, and it’s a great source of vitamins A, B, and C.
Depending on its variety and its growing conditions, spinach can be harvested in just 2 weeks following seed germination. Harvest when the plant has at least a few leaves that are around 3-4 inches in length.
5. Pea Shoots
The humble pea is high in proteins, fiber, vitamin C and carbohydrates. Who would have guessed that a few leaves of pea shoot mixed in your salad would go so well with your Sunday roast? There’s no need to wait for pea shoots to grow because these leafy vegetables are quite easy and fast to grow!
Pea shoots require little space and are ready to be harvested in as little as 13-15 days. If you don’t have a patio or a balcony, you can grow your pea shoots on a sunny windowsill and that’s it!
Tip: For best results, choose a shallow container and make sure it has drainage holes. Soak the seeds overnight before sowing them in a rich potting mix. Place the container on a sunny window and cover it with plastic wrap.
6. Garden Cress
Cress is well-known as a leafy vegetable used as a salad garnish or in sandwich fillings. As a cut-and-come-again leafy vegetable, garden cress is very quick and simple to grow at home. The best part? You’ll have delicious leaves to add to your favorite salad for months on end. Also, it tastes better and is stronger than the commercial options.
Once you sow the seeds, the garden cress is ready to harvest in as little as 10 days! For the best growth, use a rich potting mix and a well-draining container making sure it gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight.
7. Radish Microgreens
Radish microgreens are probably one of the most popular types of microgreens. If you like spicy foods, then you’ll definitely like these leafy vegetables. They are remarkably spicy and pretty delicious on sandwiches and tacos. On top of that, you won’t have to worry about growing your own radish microgreen as they are super easy to grow. They are also ready to harvest 8-12 days after seeding.
Many sources claim that you should soak radish microgreens before sowing the seeds. Whilst this step may be beneficial for your soon-to-be leafy vegetable, it’s not necessary. Dry seeds can work fine as well.
If you like drinking smoothies or juices, you must have tasted wheatgrass. Many smoothie shops use it as an ingredient but also as a decorative plant.
Once you sow the seeds, wait around 8-10 days, and you’ll have your own small-scale crop. The plants will be around 8 inches tall. According to some sources, wheatgrass can be ready to harvest in as little as 6 days if the plants enjoy optimal conditions.
When growing your own wheatgrass, it’s important to know that this leafy vegetable needs plenty of sunlight. Otherwise, it won’t have a deep green color.
Soak the wheatgrass seeds in water for about 8-10 hours before sowing.
Here are some cute containers for your leafy vegetables.
9. Corn Shoots
Corn shoots are definitely the fastest-growing leafy vegetable on this list. Once you sow the seeds, you’ll have to wait around 6-8 days for the corn shoots to harvest. Although the flavor may not be to everyone’s liking, corn shoots have a very sweet, earthy corn taste.
What’s interesting about this type of microgreen is that it grows completely in darkness. The yellow tint of corn shoots is actually caused by the lack of sunlight. When exposed to sunshine, these plants change their taste to something bitter rather than sweet. Also, you may want to consume corn shoots as soon as possible because they become more tough and bitter as they mature.
When it comes to fast-growing vegetables, you can’t go wrong with lettuce. Since you can find it in almost any salad, lettuce is definitely a must-have if you want to start growing your own food. Not only does lettuce grow really fast, but it’s also quite easy to grow.
As one of the fastest-growing leafy vegetables, lettuce thrives in rich organic soil, which should be free draining and moist. Watering is also essential, so water lettuce every day or so. As a leafy green vegetable, it loves water and without it, leaves may grow bitter.
Lettuce seeds sprout quickly. Once this is done, your leafy vegetable will be ready to harvest in about 2 weeks.
Here’s another garden-related article you may want to read: 7 Ingenious Ways To Use Food Scraps in Your Garden.