Vegetables You Can Grow in Two Months or Less

There are times when you need a crop to run its course in a short time frame in order to keep the garden productive while the weather is warm. Here is a list of crops to consider when you are planting against the clock.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Woodland Gardens Organic Farm

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Photo By: Image courtesy of Mary Beth Shaddix

Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

Snap Beans

Snap beans are useful in warm summer weather.  In addition to cropping rather quickly, beans are soil builders that benefit ensuing crops by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in their roots then releasing it when the plants die off. The fastest to produce are the bush types, ready to harvest in 50+ days. Try ‘Provider’ or ‘Contender’ varieties.

Beets

Beets don’t mind some heat, but perform best spring/summer, or summer/fall.  While roots mature to a harvestable size in 50+ days, baby greens can be used in salad mixes as early as 30 days.  ‘Early wonder’ is a good variety for earliness, tasty greens, and well formed roots.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a cool weather crop that will hold its own even in a hard freeze, if well established. While many varieties require 60 days or more to form large heads, there are several good varieties that mature in significantly less time.  ‘Di Cicco’ is one of the earliest, forming smallish heads in 45 days,  ‘Packman’ will form larger heads in 55 days.  Once the main head is harvested, broccoli will produce side shoot florets if the weather stays relatively mild.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another option for the middle of summer.  The best varieties for quick production are the early pickling types like ‘Picklebush’ and ‘Northern Pickler’.  These varieties also require less space than the normal season types.

Green Onions

Onions are grown from seeds, sets, or transplants and all varieties of onions are usable from the moment they emerge. Onion sets look like baby onion bulbs and are sold for cropping the bulb types of onions. Transplants look like very immature scallions, they are bulbing types as well.  Both sets and transplants are readily available in early spring from the same places that sell seeds, and will produce green onions very quickly. In late summer or fall, onion seeds are the most widely available option. For seed starts try white lisbon or evergreen white for good sized scallions in 60 days.

Kale

Greens, including collards, kale, mustard and turnip, all qualify for the rapid harvest category.  While they are fairly flexible for growing temperatures, best flavor comes with cool weather. They can be harvested as baby greens to use in salads, or many varieties will produce full sized leaves in under 60 days. Try ‘Vates’ collards, ‘Red Russian’ kale, ‘Red Giant’ mustard and ‘Seven Top’ turnips.

Bok Choy

Asian greens are also fast producers of cool season vegetables.  These small sized brassicas can produce mature crops in about a month.  A few to consider include bok choy, mizuna and tatsoi.

Lettuce

Lettuce, in all its colors and forms, is a good consideration for spring/summer or summer/fall.  Mid-summer in most areas is too hot to start a new crop.  Heading types may take a bit too long, but the leafy types that would work are too numerous to list.

Okra

Okra is a summer favorite in the south. Try ‘Annie Oakley’ for quick gardening turnaround, pod production begins in as little as 50 days. 

English Peas

English Peas are a cool season legume, offering similar soil building benefits as beans do in warm weather.  Work them into a rotation before or after leafy greens. Look for early varieties like ‘Alaska’ or ‘Daybreak’ to beat the 60 day deadline.

Radishes

Radishes are notorious for their rapid production.  Sown thinly over rows seeded with crops requiring a longer germination period, they serve as a marker because they can be harvested just as the “marked” crop is emerging. ‘Cherry Belle’ is one of the fastest.

Spinach

Spinach is another great option for cool weather, spring or fall.  As with other greens, spinach can be harvested leaf-by-leaf for baby greens, or whole when mature.  A few early performers include ‘Space’, ‘America’ and ‘Bloomsdale’.

Summer Squash

Summer squash gives another option for warm weather.  Numerous varieties can be harvested in less than two months.  The earliest varieties come in just over 40 days.  Look for ‘Yellow Crookneck’, ‘Early Prolific Straightneck’ or ‘Raven’.

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