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Growing Super Speedy Vegetables in 65 Days or Less
It may surprise you to know that there are times when I get off to a late start on planting veggies in our garden. Sometimes it’s due to chaotic weather that just won’t cooperate, and other times life simply gets in the way. Then summer finally sets in and sets off my taste buds into high gear for homegrown veggies. That’s when I set my sights on super speedy veggies and varieties that are ready in 65 days or less.
I was able to find an assortment of “fast food” veggie plants at my local K-Mart that will produce an end-of-summer harvest even in cooler regions of the North. For example, most any bush bean variety is the way to go for fast green beans in a snap OR:
- Cash in on corn by choosing early varieties like ‘Quickie’ (64 days) and ‘Earlivee’ (60 days),
- Radishes can be harvested in 35 days or less,
- While baby beets and baby carrots can be enjoyed in 55 days or less,
- And most any baby greens are up for grabs in 30 days or less, with full-size versions of leaf lettuce and French crisp varieties ready in 55 days or less.
Even warm-loving summer favorites such as peppers, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes can ripen in plenty of time when you choose high-speed varieties.
- If tomatoes are your passion, choose super speedy varieties like ‘Early Cascade’ (50 to 55 days), ‘Early Girl’ (57 days), ‘Sun Gold’ (57 days) or Juliet (60 days).
- You can still pick a peck of sweet peppers by growing ‘Ace’ (50 to 55 days), ‘Gypsy’ (58 days) or ‘Sweet Banana’ (55 days). And get on the eggplant express with ‘Hansel’ (55 days), ‘Dairyu’ (57 days), or ‘Orient Express’ (58 days).
- For extra early cukes skip the full-size slicers and try extra crispy ‘Diamant’ (47 days), ‘Rocky’ (46 days), ‘Cool Breeze’ (45 days), or ‘Tasty Jade’, a slender Japanese type ready in 54 days.
- And a few of my summer squash fast food favorites include ‘Eight Ball’ (45 days), ‘Peter Pan’ (50 days), ‘Magda’ (48 days), and zucchini varieties ‘Tigress’ and ‘Goldy’ (50 days for both).
Tips on Growing Speedy Veggies:
The key to making any fast-food garden succeed is not only growing speedy veggies and varieties, but also to start with plants rather than seeds (beets, carrots and radishes are the exception) and to harvest roots veggies, lettuce, eggplant, and summer squash/zucchini when they are young and tender. Up the flavor factor by choosing a sunny site with soil rich in nutrients. (Amend the soil with compost, aged manure or organic fertilizer prior to planting). Growing cucumbers, melons and tomatoes upright will also bring more heat to plants and help ripen fruits even faster.
Finally, don’t forget to protect plants from nippy nights, early frosts and sudden weather changes. Floating row covers or individual plant protectors such as Wall ‘o Water can be purchased at garden centers or online, and sheets or blankets always work in a pinch. You’ll not only buy yourself an extra two to three weeks on your harvest, but you’ll also bring new flavor to the meaning of ‘fast food’! - Kris Wetherbee
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