by Brenda of The Well Fed Homestead
April 6, 2020
Sixty-five days. That’s how many more days the Virginia governor, Ralph Northam, has said that we need to stay in our homes because of Coronavirus.
I mentioned the other day that the empty grocery store shelves has me wishing we lived on the farm again. Suddenly, I’m researching, “what can we grow–fast?” We have seven people to feed, and we don’t own thirty acres with multiple animals, dairy cows, and a 50′ x 50′ garden anymore. We certainly don’t have enough space to grow everything we would need in a year’s time. Still, we can grow something. Actually, we can grow quite a few things that will be ready to eat before the quarantine is over–and so can you!
To get food quickly, the variety of the vegetable is a big deal. There may be a difference of twenty or more days between different varieties–so do check out the varieties I have listed below.
The links below are not affiliate links–that would have been brilliant, but I just wanted to get this information out to you quickly and didn’t have an affiliate set up. 😉 I linked mostly to Territorial Seeds, which is in Oregon.
We visited Territorial Seeds once, when we lived on the farm, and they were super kind to us. They even gave us several–I think around thirty tomato starts for free back then! They deserve the links, and I hope that you give them some business.
The other site I linked to is Burpee. I prefer Territorial, but both sites do a great job stating the dates to harvest, aka dates to maturity and aided in my research. If you can’t find these seeds on Territorial or Burpee because they are out of stock for the season, you might also try Baker Creek.
Again, pay attention to the varieties for quick food. Also, if you’re consuming vegetables with the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), make sure you are serving the vegetables with fat. This can be saturated fat from animal protein or a drizzle of olive oil or another oil.
Microgreens are really just greens that are harvested early. There are microgreen mixes available, like the following two:
Microgreens are the best bet for getting quick food that packs a punch when it comes to nutrition. Don’t pull them all the way up, just snip off some of the greens and let them re-grow. Microgreens are tender and can be eaten raw. Create a fancy restaurant environment in your home by serving microgreens next to a steak!
These microgreen mixes are easy, but you don’t need a mix like this. They may contain seeds of arugula, beets, cabbage, pak choi, kholrabi, broccoli, kale and radishes. If you’d like to grow microgreens, simply harvest some of these vegetables after 14-28 days. Leave some growing for later harvests of the full-grown vegetable as well. The vitamins and nutrients in your microgreens will depend on the type.
I don’t love radishes, but they are one of the fastest growing vegetables in the garden! The variety of radish does not matter as much as some of the other vegetables, because almost all radishes grow quickly. Still, you can have Early Scarlet Globe radishes as soon as twenty days from today–and Dragon radishes in forty days. Take your pick from the list below, or others that you find:
- Radish, Early Scarlet Globe 20-28 days
- Radish, Cherry Belle 22 days
- Radish, Fire N’ Ice, 25 days
- Radish, Roxanne 25 days
- Radish, French Breakfast 25-30 days
- Radish, Sora 26 days
- Radish, Royal Purple 33-35 days
- Radish, Dragon 40 days
Did you know that you can roast radishes like potatoes? You might give it a try, since potatoes take quite a bit longer to grow and harvest! Radishes are also packed with more vitamins than potatoes. They contain vitamins B6 and C as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K. Mashed radishes, anyone?
3. Mustard Greens
You’ve heard of the tiny mustard seed, but did you know that you can eat the greens? Mustard greens can be eaten fresh or sautéed. They are packed with vitamins A, C, K, folate and the mineral manganese. Mustard greens can be grown quickly, and these varieties are good choices:
Mustard greens have a spicy, peppery flavor that is sometimes described as “grown up.” If you don’t consider your palate to be grown up, you may not enjoy them.
4. Swiss Chard
Pay attention to the type of swiss chard you choose, because some may take longer to grow. Swiss chard is delicious sautéed in olive oil with garlic and then finished off by simmering in some broth, salt and pepper. When you sauté swiss chard it will shrink quite a bit, so plan for more than you think you need. Swiss chard contains the vitamins A, C and E as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Note that like microgreens, you can harvest swiss chard early. Simply trim some of the greens off to eat and then let the plant re-grow.
Purslane is a tender green that can be eaten raw or cooked. It is similar to spinach. Notice the twenty-four day difference between the two purslane varieties listed below:
Purslane contains the vitamins C, B, niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine and the highest vitamin A level of any leafy green. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and you can get too much of it, so don’t over-eat purslane. 😉
Arugula is one of my favorite vegetables! I have an Arugula Avocado Salad recipe and an Arugula Salad with Honey Wine Dressing on this site. I enjoy eating raw arugula on top of a fried egg, a lightly cooked tomato slice and drizzling the whole thing with olive oil. My kids don’t love it as much as I do, but that’s okay. They’ll grow up. 😉
You can treat arugula like a microgreen and trim greens off of it as soon as they appear to be edible. Or, wait 28 to 35 days for the full grown version, using one of these varieties:
Arugula contains vitamin C, folate, beta carotene, magnesium and fat soluble vitamin K. Eat raw or cooked, though raw is most preferable.
7. Asian Greens
Asian greens are a hybrid and are tender like lettuce but flavorful like collard greens. They are a good source of vitamins A and C and can be eaten raw or cooked.
- Asian Greens 30 days
The first time I heard of okra was at a Peruvian restaurant in Portland, OR, Andina. Fried okra was presented an alternative for bread, and they served it with several dipping sauces. Personally, okra didn’t make me feel very well. It’s a starchy food and it contains fructans, which are irritating to some people’s guts.
Lets talk about the good stuff in okra. It contains more minerals than any of the above listed foods, including calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and the vitamins A, C, K, B6 as well as folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. One cup of okra contains 1.9 grams of protein.
Pay attention to the variety you choose, as the varieties listed here will either be ready in thirty days or fifty:
The diet Trim Healthy Mama uses okra in a variety of ways, including in smoothies.
9. Mesclun Salad Mix
Mesclun is really just a mix of a variety of lettuces that are harvested before full maturity. You’ll see mesclun mixes in plastic clamshells at the grocery store. The nice thing about growing your own is that you get to choose what’s in it. The vitamins and minerals in your mesclun mix will depend on the greens it includes. In just thirty days, you can be eating home-grown salad!
- Salad Mix, Mesclun 30 days
The spinach variety you grow will determine the length of time it takes to grow. It could be a difference of twenty days, so choose wisely.
- Spinach, Baby 30-40 days
- Spinach, Palco 38 days
- Spinach, Corvair 40 days
- Spinach, Olympia 45 days
- New Zealand Spinach 50 days
- Spinach, Bloomsdale Savoy 50 days
Spinach, with an exception of canned spinach, is amazing. I grew up with canned, microwaved spinach (like Popeye!), as I imagine a lot of kids in the 80’s and 90’s did. I’m not sure if baby spinach was a “thing” then? I didn’t know that fresh spinach, sautéed in oil with garlic or shallots could be so amazing. It’s also good for you! Spinach contains the vitamins B6, B9, folate, C, E, K, carotenoids and the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.
11. Pac Choi
Pac Choi is a little version of Bok Choy, a member of the cabbage family. I use it in a stir fry with onion or green onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, coconut aminos and a sweetener like honey. You can other veggies as well, of course. Pac Choi can be harvested between thirty and fifty days of planting the seed and tending to it. Pac Choi contains vitamins A, C, K, B6, riboflavin, folate, thiamin, niacin and the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese iron and potassium. Choose from the following varieties:
- Pac Choi, Violetta 30-50 days
- Pac Choi, Yuushou 36 days
- Pac Choi, Bopak 40 days
- Pac Choi, Ching Chiang 40 days
- Pac Choi, Joi Choi 45 days
12. Broccoli Rabe
If you’ve never had broccoli rabe, also spelled broccoli rabb, you’ve been missing out! It’s tender and has a milder flavor than broccoli. It also looks elegant on a plate! Serve it with your steak, microgreens and mashed radishes. 🙂 Choose from varieties like these:
Broccoli rabe contains vitamins A, C, K, folate and the minerals calcium and iron.
Watercress is from the same family as broccoli, kale and cabbage–the brassicas. It contains the vitamins A, C, K and the minerals calcium and manganese. It’s known as a super food because it contains 100% of the daily recommended amount for vitamin K.
After removing the thick stems, you can eat watercress in a salad, sauté it or add it to a soup. It has a bit of a spicy, peppery flavor. Note that the varieties listed below are harvested at dates twenty days apart:
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and contains vitamins A, C, K, B6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin and the minerals iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, calcium and potassium.
You can eat kale in salads, soups, or as kale chips. Wait until it’s full-grown at forty to fifty-five days, or, harvest young, as a microgreen.
- Kale, Fizz 40 days
- Kale, Amara Ethiopian 40 days
- Kale, Dwarf Green Cultured 45 days
- Kale, Bolshoi 55 days
Sorrel is related to buckwheat and rhubarb. It has a sour, lemony flavor. Amazingly, sorrel is traditionally used to reduce inflammation of the respiratory tract. It may be a good time, indeed, to grow, harvest and consume sorrel. It’s also a diuretic. If you are prone to kidney stones, eat limited quantities of sorrel. While sorrel can be eaten raw, it is typically cooked into soups and stews. The varieties listed below have a twenty-day difference in time to maturity.
Sorrel contains vitamins A, C and folate.
16. Miner’s Lettuce
Miner’s lettuce is an edible weed. You’ll want to grow it intentionally because it’s a fast-grower and contains vitamins A, C and the mineral iron. Eat miner’s lettuce raw in salads or as a garnish over protein.
- Miner’s Lettuce 42 days
It’s funny that kohlrabi makes me think of Asian food, because it’s called the “German Turnip.” It contains vitamins C, B6, thiamin, folate, and the minerals copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. It can be eaten raw in salads and slaws, or it can be steamed, sautéed or added to soups.
Eggplant, typically eaten cooked, contains vitamins C, K, folate and the minerals potassium and manganese. Have you ever made a homemade Ratatouille? You’ll need some eggplant! Note that the fastest growing variety below is a container-garden “baby” plant.
Most cabbage varieties take around sixty to eighty-five days to reach maturity. One, Tundra, takes one hundred eighty to two hundred and twenty days! Catrina is the only cabbage variety I could find that can be harvested in less than sixty days:
Cabbage, Catarina 45 days
Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. I like this Cabbage and Meatball Soup and this BBQ Beef and Cabbage. I also cook cabbage in good-quality butter and serve it as a side that way. Just the other day, I shared a simple coleslaw recipe on Instagram and Facebook. Cabbage contains vitamin B6, folate and vitamin K, as well as manganese, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
One of the benefits of growing your own lettuce is that you get to experience what tender greens taste like. These greens are too fragile to transport and sell in a grocery store, so you can only enjoy them by growing them yourself or purchasing them from a farmer’s market.
Depending on the variety, lettuce might contain the vitamins A, C, folic acid and the minerals iron, calcium and potassium. Choose a variety that takes forty-five to fifty-six days to mature, and feel free to harvest sooner, like a microgreen.
- Lettuce, Salad Bowl 45 days
- Lettuce, Buttercrunch 48 days
- Summer Squash, Cavili 48 days
- Lettuce, Red Salad Bowl 50 days
- Lettuce, Ezrilla 52 days
- Lettuce, Continuity 56 days
21. Summer Squash
There are a couple of summer squash varieties that can be harvested within sixty days. Many take longer, approximately seventy-five days, so make sure to choose one of the types below:
The different varieties contain vitamins A, C, B6, folate, riboflavin and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Eat raw or cooked, and make muffins, a pasta alternative and even zucchini lasagna out of this versatile food!
Cucumbers often take longer than sixty days, but there are a few varieties to choose from that can be eaten between forty-five and fifty-two days after planting. Cucumbers are typically eaten raw or pickled. Try this amazing Cucumber Tomato Salad.
Cucumbers are packed with the mineral potassium and also have small amounts of the vitamins A, C, K and the minerals magnesium and manganese.
Turnips are typically eaten cooked in soups and stews. They contain several vitamins, including A, C, K, E, B2, B6, folate and the minerals iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper and phosphorus. Try the following varieties for a quick harvest:
24. Corn Salad
If you’ve never tried corn salad, you’re probably picturing yellow corn with black beans and pico de gallo, or quite possibly, corn with some tomatoes, greens and feta cheese on top. 😉 Corn salad is actually a leafy vegetable with a nutty flavor. It contains vitamins A, C, B6 and the minerals magnesium, potassium and iron. Wait fifty days for it to reach maturity or treat it like a microgreen and harvest sooner.
- Corn Salad, Vit 50 days
25. Green Onions
You may consider green onions a simple garnish, but they contain quite a few nutrients and shouldn’t be overlooked. They contain the vitamins A, C, K, B6, thiamin, folate and the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, iron, and potassium. Use the following variety in order to eat within fifty days. Other types take sixty five days or longer.
- Green Onions, Green Tide 50 days
Onions are such a staple vegetable! Most varieties take well over sixty days, and the beloved Walla Walla Onion takes a whopping one hundred and twenty five days to grow! The song “Have Patience” from my old Music Machine record is suddenly going through my head! The only variety I could find that takes less than sixty days is this one:
- Onions, Pacific Pearl 50 days
Onions contain vitamins C, B6, B9 and the mineral potassium. Grow in succession in order to harvest onions regularly.
27. Cherry Tomatoes
You won’t be able to grow large-variety tomatoes in less than sixty days. Typically, they take eighty-five days or longer to mature. Some varieties of cherry tomatoes are a different story, though. I recommend the following types:
- Tomatoes, Cherry, Bartelly 50 days
- Tomatoes, Cherry, Cherry Buzz 55 days
- Tomato, Gold Nugget 60 days
Tomatoes contain the vitamins A, C, K and the mineral potassium.
Beets are a powerhouse food! Seriously, beet juice is listed as one of the recommendations for nearly every ailment in Signs and Symptoms from a Functional Perspective! Beets contain vitamin A, folate, and the minerals manganese, iron and potassium. Eat them raw, juice them or cook them. I personally think they taste like dirt, so my solution is to juice them and drink it quickly in a shot glass. However you get it down, make sure you do it! Eat (or drink!) your beets! Try the following variety for an early harvest. Otherwise, you will need to wait sixty-five days or longer for your shot of dirt juice. I mean beet juice. 😉
- Beets, Boro 51 days
Beans often take sixty-five or even up to ninety-five days to grow. The following varieties are exceptions:
- Bush Beans, Bountiful 50-55 days
- Snap Bean, Antigua 56 days
- Beans, Borsalino 60 days
- Pole Beans, Carminat 60-65 days
Depending on the variety, beans may contain vitamins A, K, folate and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.
Cauliflower can be eaten raw or used as a substitute for potatoes in potato salad or mashed potatoes. You can also cut cauliflower finely and use it in place of rice for a low-carb dish. This Chicken, Carrot and Cauliflower Soup is perfect for the GAPS Diet, Paleo or Whole 30. Cauliflower contains the vitamins C and K and the minerals calcium, potassium and magnesium. Most varieties will take sixty to one hundred and ten days to reach maturity, but these types can be harvested sooner:
Almost any variety of carrot can be grown and simply harvested early, as a “baby” carrot. The following varieties reach their full size in less than sixty days:
Snack on carrots, roast them, add them to a salad, make this Carrot Raisin Salad, or make these amazing Grain-Free Carrot Muffins. Carrots contain beta carotene, biotin, vitamin K1, vitamin B6, and potassium.
32. Collard Greens
Eat your greens! No, truly–collard greens may not be a favorite food, but they are certainly good for you! They contain vitamins A, C, E, K and folate, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. That’s a mouth full! Fill your mouth with collard greens in the form of a raw or cooked dish. Either way, make sure to choose one of the following varieties in order to harvest them in sixty days or less.
Like tomatoes, the bigger version of peppers will take longer than sixty days. Typically, bell peppers take sixty-five to eighty-five days to grow. While you can eat peppers green, technically, they aren’t ripe until they are red, orange or yellow. They will be sweeter and more nutrient dense when they are ripe.
Peppers contain vitamins A, B6, E, C, folate and K1. They also contain the mineral potassium. Eat raw or cooked, just make sure to choose one of the following varieties in order to harvest within sixty days.
If broccoli rabe wasn’t enough, you can also harvest full-grown regular broccoli within fifty-six days! Eat raw or cooked in any recipe you like. We often make stir-fries with broccoli or add it to a homemade chicken Alfredo. Broccoli contains the vitamins C, K, folate and the mineral potassium. Choose the following variety, or your broccoli will take seventy to eighty-five days to reach maturity.
- Broccoli, Aspabroc 56 days
Peas can be harvested right about at the sixty day mark. Sugar snap peas are amazing raw and right off the vine. They are also packed with nutrients. They contain the vitamins A, C, K, thiamin and folate. They also contain the minerals phosphorus, iron and manganese. Most varieties take sixty-one to eighty-five days to reach maturity, so choose from the following in order to harvest within sixty days.
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