These are the vegetables with the fastest growing times - and how to plant them at home

These speedy vegetables grow quickly - so you'll be enjoying them as part of daily meals before you know it.

Published 30th Apr 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

Looking to grow your own vegetables at home, but don't want to wait long for them? Then these seven are ideal, as they have the fastest growing times.

Horticulture experts from online gardening centre, Gardening Express, have revealed the veggies that germinate and are ready to harvest in no time, with some taking as little as five to seven days from sowing to grow.

Cress

Sowing to harvest time: 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. For best results, it needs to be grown in soil that remains moist.

Salad leaves

Sowing to harvest time: 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 to 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.

Radishes

Sowing to harvest time: 25 days

Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables to grow, taking just three to four 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.

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Spinach

Sowing to harvest time: 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.

Carrots

Sowing to harvest time: 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.

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Sow into pots of potting soil, spreading the seed thinly over the surface, then cover with a thin sieved layer of compost.

Dwarf green beans

Sowing to harvest time: 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 to 40cm apart. Sow a batch once a month until the end of summer.

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Peas

Sowing to harvest time: 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 to 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.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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