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Stepping outdoors and picking a freshly grown vegetable is a joy for many homeowners who like to garden. Growing vegetables at home offers many benefits. In addition to providing a worthwhile hobby that can increase your physical activity, having control over your own produce can reduce exposure to a number of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This translates into foods that are healthier for the body and the environment.
Gardens also can help the average person save money on often costly produce, all the while reducing gardeners’ carbon footprints. And as any backyard gardener can tell you, nothing beats the taste of home-grown fruits and vegetables.
Waiting to reap the rewards of a harvest can try the patience of those accustomed to satisfying their needs on a moment’s notice. This is especially true for young gardeners who have grown up in a society that increasingly provides immediate gratification.
While tomatoes, peppers and watermelons require long growing seasons, many other fruits and vegetables grow much faster. This offers plenty of bounty in a short time for those who may have gotten a later start on their gardens or simply don’t have the patience to wait on the more time-consuming growers.
Arugula: Some people call arugula “rocket” because of just how quickly it grows. The green has been growing in popularity as a salad starter or vegetable side dish. Simply cut the leaves when they are large enough and as needed for recipes. Other fast-growing greens include kale, chard mustard greens and watercress.
Radishes: Radishes are typically ready for harvest about one month after planting, making them among the fastest-growing vegetables around.
Snap beans: Beans can be steamed, added to salads or eaten raw with dips. They’re often a summer staple. Some of the fastest producers are ready to harvest in about 50 days.
Turnips: Both the roots and the leaves of turnips can be eaten, and this old-fashioned vegetable makes a great addition to soups and stews. Because the plants tend to be tolerant across many gardening zones, they’re handy and easy-to-grow even as the weather cools.
Squash: Don’t mistake the squash in the garden for cucumber. Both look similar but green squash, or zucchini, can be much more versatile. Zucchini can be grilled, baked, sautéed, stuffed, fried, and even turned into noodles.
Green onions: To add fresh flavor to foods, green onions (scallions) grow much more quickly than it takes onion bulbs to mature.
Speak with a garden center expert to learn more about which vegetables, fruits and herbs grow quickly and will thrive in your home garden.