Being self-sustainable is a common goal, and with more time on your hands during the current coronavirus pandemic, maybe now is the time to start growing some of your own food. While you may be keen to start tucking into the fruits of labor ASAP, many crops take time to mature. If you can’t wait however, we’ve selected 10 edible plants that are quick and easy to grow, ensuring you can start feeding yourself within weeks!
Scallions & Green Onions
Onions are the base of many a meal, but you don’t have to wait the typical six months for regular onion bulbs to mature. Scallions, or green onions, are generally ready to harvest within three to four weeks from planting them. Packed full of flavor, they’re great in anything from stir-fry to soups.
Herbs add extra layers of flavor to any dish, and it’s always great to have some to hand. As well as being extremely easy to grow, there are several that grow quickly as well. Some of the fastest growing herbs include chives, basil, parsley, and cilantro, all of which can be easily grown in a pot on the kitchen window sill, as well as in abundance in the garden.
Possibly the fastest growing vegetable out there, many varieties of radish are ready to harvest within 25 to 30 days. Fantastic in salads, sandwiches, and even baked as chips, they’re surprisingly as versatile as they are delicious. They get bonus points for being so easy to grow that in many cultures they ‘can be grown in your boots’!
There are so many sumptuous leafy greens out there that are quick and easy to grow from peppery salad leaves such as rocket and arugula, to the amazingly versatile spinach, and stir-fry favorites such as bok choy. Kale, lettuce, and watercress are also among the fastest growing garden greens, ensuring you can keep your meals and snacks varied and delicious.
Zucchini and Cucumber
From the same family of plants, both zucchinis and cucumbers can be harvested relatively quickly. When you harvest them small, they’re packed full of even more flavor than their more mature cousins. Most varieties of both cucumbers and zucchinis can be harvested within 50 days or so. You can then use them in a huge array of dishes, from simple salads, to ‘zoodles’, and even pickles to enjoy months later.
Turnips & Beets
It’s surprising how quickly both turnips and beets can be harvested, with many varieties of each ready to pick within 2 months. They both also offer an added bonus in that their leaves are also not only edible, but delicious. Turnip and beet greens are typically ready to harvest within 40 days, and can be used in an array of side dishes and salads, whereas the roots are great in stews, or even transformed into healthy baked chips.
Baby carrots are packed full of flavor and are great eaten raw as a healthy snack, or added to a wide array of dishes. Indeed, they can be used like normal carrots, or as a crunchy addition to a stir-fry, or added whole into stews. The best part? Most varieties can be harvested within 30 days.
Bush beans are amazingly easy to grow and are just as tasty as runner beans or green beans. But, they grow much quicker, and can typically be enjoyed within 40 – 60 days of sowing. Once harvested, you can use them in any dish that would typically call for beans, and are easier to prepare when canning compared to regular green beans.
Broccoli has so much going for it that it deserves a place in any garden. It takes a regular plant around 2 months to mature, but you can harvest the baby florettes even earlier than that if you’re in a rush for some green goodness. It’s also able to withstand colder temperatures, making it a popular choice in colder climates. And finally, it not only tastes great, but can be used in so many different ways, from simply served warm with butter melted on it, or added to a healthy stir-fry.
A mature okra harvest is typically ready to enjoy within 50-days of planting, and can be used in a variety of different ways. From the ever-popular Southern side dish ‘fire-cracker fried okra’, to flavorsome roasted okra, the options are endless with this unusual but delicious vegetable.
From seedling to plate within a month or two is a real possibility, and as you can see, there’s a wide range of delicious plants to choose from. Just be aware that if you plan to grow your crops indoors, fruiting plants such as cucumber, zucchini, bush beans, and okra will need to be self-pollinated.