Most of us are spending substantially more time at home these days, and we’re craving a positive diversion that takes us away from our many screens. Growing vegetables is a fun, inexpensive, and family-friendly activity that can provide free, nourishing food in a matter of months. You can plant fast-growing vegetables from seed in your home and even use your kitchen scraps to grow even more fresh produce!
Fast Growing Vegetables from Seed
You can start all of the following plants from seeds indoors using seed-starting trays or pots. After the last frost date (April 16), you have the choice to transplant them into your outdoor garden or maintain them as indoor plants while you start fresh seeds outside. For guidelines on spacing, watering, and seed depth, simply follow the directions on the seed package.
Arugula leaves are ready to eat after about 30 days. The peppery greens will make a nourishing addition to any salad, stir fry, or pizza. You can cut the leaves you want and let the rest keep growing for an ongoing supply.
Spinach can be harvested six weeks after planting. The nutrition-packed baby leaves have a tender texture and a fresh flavor. It’s best to cut one or two big leaves from each plant and let the remaining leaves keep producing.
Radish is a fast-growing root vegetable that can be harvested 22 to 50 days after seeding. You can replant a new row every two weeks for a continual supply throughout the spring and summer.
Carrots will mature in about two months, but if you plant the seeds close together, you can thin out the baby veggies and start snacking as early as 30 days after seeding.
Beets, bok choy, kale, snap peas, lettuce, mustard greens, and summer squash will also produce an abundant harvest in a relatively short time and are all kid-friendly, simple plants to grow.
Vegetables you can Grow from Kitchen Scraps
Save some money and reduce trips to the grocery store by regrowing your produce! With little more than a jar of water, a spot by a sunny window, and a leftover vegetable stump, you can sprout fresh food from scraps that would usually go in the compost bin.
Green Onions will regrow its zesty stalks if harvested carefully! Cut off the bottom inch, leaving the roots intact, and stand it upright in 1/2 inch of water. Fennel, leeks, and lemongrass will regrow using the same method.
Celery stumps (which you likely weren’t going to eat anyway!) will also sprout new shoots in water. Place the bottom inch of the stalk, including the remaining top of the root, in ½ inch of water and give the plant some sunlight. The base of a head of lettuce will regrow in the same way.
Beet Greens can be fried in butter and garlic to make a nutritious and delicious side. Resprout your beet by placing the top inch of a root in 1/2 inch of water. (Are you starting to see a common theme here?) If desired, you can transplant your green onions, celery, and beet sprouts into soil once the sprouts are established.
Potato eyes, the parts that you would usually throw away, can be saved to plant in your garden or house pot. The trick is to cut out two eyes together and keep about 1/2 to 1 inch of the potato root around them. Once in the soil, one eye will grow upwards to become the stem, and the other will grow downward to form the roots. Continue to mound soil around the stalk, and when the plant begins to die back, your potatoes will be ready to harvest.
These simple techniques are just a few of the many ways you can grow fresh vegetables in a relatively short amount of time. They can save you money and are an easy way to engage your kids in wholesome fun at home. If you have any questions or need some supplies to get started, feel free to contact our garden center to arrange for pickup!