When you’re starting a gardening project with your kids, it’s crucial to choose plants that proliferate. Not only do quick-growing plants help sustain your child’s attention, but they also produce immediate and noticeable rewards.
If you’re thinking of creating a vegetable garden with your little ones, you’ll want to know what grows quickly. Let’s explore nine delicious veggies that grow fast and discover what new things you might plant this season!
Arugula is a slightly spicy, slightly bitter leafy green. It’s often called salad rocket, and for a good reason—It’s an exciting alternative to iceberg lettuce when preparing a salad. These fern-like plants are a great way to show your child that salads don’t always have to be composed of lettuce.
Additionally, this vegetable can grow from seed to mature, harvestable adult in just 45 days. If you’re eager to enjoy some smaller arugula leaves, you can begin picking ‘baby arugula’ only three weeks after planting. Even better, you can continue harvesting from your arugula plant as it grows.
But be warned—The more mature your plant, the spicier and more flavorful its leaves will become. This change is due to an internal build-up of compounds that contain stinky sulfur. You could taste test young arugula leaves with your child, then try again in two weeks and discuss the difference in taste!
Arugula grows well in well-draining, nutrient-rich soils. It can withstand full and partial sunlight. You should plant arugula in early spring or summer to enjoy the most bountiful harvests. Heavy frosts and snows can kill adult plants during the winter, but areas that aren’t typically cold may produce arugula all year round. This veggie grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 11.
Beets are the best. Not only are they full of flavor, but they’re also full of life-sustaining nutrients and minerals. You can use them in salads, you can bake them into chips, and you can pickle them.
Like carrots, beets are a root vegetable. This quality means that the edible portion grows below the ground. Growing this veggie in a thin glass aquarium could be an exciting way to view its growth. You’ll be able to point to the fattening beet and explain how its roots and leaves help it grow. That’s pretty neat!
After planting your beet seeds, you might only need to wait about six weeks before harvest time. That’s about 45 days. Because these plants grow beneath the soil, they require deep, well-draining environments with partial sunlight. For best results, grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 10.
3. Bok Choy
Bok choy is a Chinese vegetable that flourishes in US gardens. It can reach full maturity 45 to 60 days after planting, making it a quick-growing veggie that deserves a place in your garden. You can use bok choy as a chance to teach your child about trade routes and non-native plants.
Nutritionally, bok choy brings a lot to the table. It contains iron, calcium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a wide range of other nutrients. To enjoy this veggie, you’ll want to plant seeds during the fall. Try growing bok choy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 7 to enjoy the highest-quality harvests.
4. Green Beans
Green beans belonging to the bush bean family come in stringed and stringless varieties. The stringed type could make for an excellent child-friendly task that reminds you of your own youth.
Either way, green bush beans grow quickly. You and your little one can start removing mature beans about 50 days after planting. And unlike pole beans, you won’t need a structure to help keep your plant healthy.
However, bush beans typically require full sunlight and occasional (biweekly) watering, so it’s best not to plant them in shady areas. These plants grow fastest when planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 10. Once harvested, you can steam them, boil them, bake them, and use them in hundreds of different recipes.
When you’re starting a vegetable garden with your child, it’s crucial to know what grows quickly. However, it’s also essential to choose veggies that your little one enjoys eating. Otherwise, they may have less-than-positive feelings about growing your selected vegetables.
Carrots tend to be a favorite among kids of all ages. If you choose baby carrots, you can enjoy a fresh harvest in as little as two months (55 to 65 days). That’s a speedy turnaround, especially when considering how many vitamins and minerals carrots contain.
This veggie is a root vegetable. While it grows long, tube-like leaves that absorb sunlight, most of the action happens beneath the earth’s surface. Growing carrots with your kids is an excellent opportunity to explain how root vegetables grow and flourish.
After washing your carrots, you can chop them into rounds and boil them or keep them cool and dry as a handy, dippable snack. Fortunately, you can plant these vegetables from April until late August, making them one of the best options for year-round gardening.
While the carrot plant might be partially subterranean, it does require plenty of sunlight and regular watering to stay healthy. Carrots tend to do well in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 11.
Cucumbers tend to be some of the most kid-friendly vegetables. You can slice them up and serve them raw, create delicate teatime sandwiches with them, or pickle them and enjoy them later.
The gentle taste of cucumber is an inoffensive thing, and parents may rejoice to find that cucumbers also grow relatively fast! This veggie can go from seed to harvest in 50 days.
Cucumber plants do best when growing on a trellis. Cucumbers allowed to sit in the dirt may begin to rot. The fruit of this plant can become heavy, so it’s crucial to harvest mature cucumbers as soon as possible.
This veggie could help you teach your child about the importance of daily garden maintenance and care. It tends to grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 12, making it one of the best options for humid, tropical gardens.
Radishes grow from seeds to fully-mature plants in just four weeks. Some varieties may mature in as little as 22 days! It’s best to plant these in early autumn or mid-spring.
The ground should be warm and soft when sowing your radish seeds, and your seedlings will need at least six hours of full sunlight each day to flourish. Radishes grow best when planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 11. They can grow practically anywhere in the US.
Due to their relatively small size and shallow planting requirements, you could plant these veggies in clear plastic cups. Doing so will help you and your child keep an eye on the growth stages. After all, radishes (like beets and carrots) primarily grow beneath the soil.
When you’ve harvested your radishes, you can slice them into thin ribbons and add them to soups, sandwiches, tacos, pasta meals, and just about anything else. What kinds of radish-friendly dishes will you and your child create?
While some children might not enjoy the taste of spinach, growing it from seed may change their perception of this leafy green veggie. This iron-rich option grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 9, and it enjoys the cooler, more temperate weather of the early spring season and autumn.
From seed to plate, spinach only needs about 45 days. Like arugula, spinach does best when planted in nutrition-rich, well-draining soils that receive full or partial sunlight. You can transform harvested spinach leaves into baked chips, satisfying soups, and wholesome pasta.
If your little one doesn’t care for spinach, why not grow some in your garden and experiment with fun recipes together?
Summer squash, also called zucchini, is a versatile veggie. You can slice it in half, season it, bake it, and spoon up a delicious meal. You can also use it to make noodles, bread, pizza crusts, and fries. Consequently, this veggie might be one of the most fun to harvest and eat!
From seed to harvest, zucchini only takes about two months. The zucchini plant produces large leaves and may grow between one and two inches with each passing day. If you have a timelapse camera, you might want to use it to watch your zucchini plants.
Unlike many other garden veggies, zucchini plants can continue producing and maturing zucchini long after your initial harvest. One of the most common problems that home gardeners have after installing this plant is figuring out what to do with all the zucchini! What a fantastic opportunity for your child to see the abundant side of nature.
This vegetable requires warm temperatures, hence its nickname. It’s best to plant it when temperatures have stabilized to at least 70℉. Zucchini grows best when planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9, though some varieties can withstand warmer climes.
Now that you know what grows quickly in the vegetable garden, you can begin searching for fast-growing fruits, herbs, and flowers to add. Before you know it, you’ll have a veritable learning garden that’s brimming with delicious treats. Who knows what you and your child will discover!