Gardening is the master of a waiting game. Once we get our plants and seeds into the ground, we immediately start looking forward to the day when we can harvest the food. How many of us check every day to see if there is any sight of a plant shooting thru the dirt. Vegetables vary widely in the number of days they need to grow until we can harvest them for dinner.
Radishes are ready to eat in as little as 21 days, while Brussels Sprouts can take up to 110 days. That is a big difference. Part of deciding what you want to plant in your garden involves knowing the time investment for each vegetable. If you want to garden harvest to extend to many months, you will need to plant vegetables that take various lengths of time to deliver their harvest.
Vegetables that are quick to harvest go from seed or seedling to harvest size in 40 days or less, which is pretty quick in garden time. Planting as many of these vegetables in the early spring will give you lots of vegetables with a quick harvest. These vegetables are a fun choice for gardening with children to reward their interest in gardening with a fast paycheck. Short season vegetables include arugula, lettuce, radishes, salad mix, spinach, and turnips. These vegetables do better in cooler weather so they should be planted as early in the spring as possible. But if you plant only vegetables from this category, you'll have plenty of food to harvest in the beginning of the gardening season, but very little in the summer or fall.
Medium season vegetables aren't as quick out of the gate as the quick to harvest ones. These vegetables require more patience while waiting for them to grow to harvest size. They are usually ready for the dinner table in 40-80 days. This category is the largest and features many of the vegetables we all know and love. This category makes up the bulk of what most of us grow in our gardens. Remember though, you will get the majority of your harvest in summer. Vegetables suitable for hot summer growing and harvesting include beans, basil, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, collards, corn, cucumber, dill, eggplant, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, okra, parsley, peas, peppers, scallions, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatillos, and tomatoes.
It takes a long time to grow asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, celery, dill (seed), edamame, garlic, leeks, melons, onions, parsnips, hot peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, shallots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash But they are more than worth the wait. They take their sweet time growing and developing, between 80-120 days until they are ready to harvest. If you only grew from this category, you would only have a garden with harvest in the fall.
Most of us don't have room to grow everything that is on our wish list. That is why it is important to decide which vegetables will make the cut. It is your garden so you decide what vegetables you want and select them from all three categories. Now go plant your garden and hurry up and wait! Happy Gardening!