Growing what we eat can sometimes be a waiting game. Cathy Isom tells us about some of the fastest growing veggies – from seed to dinner table. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
One of the hardest parts for beginning gardeners, any gardener really, is the waiting. We start off with a little seed and a bit of soil. We plant it, nurture it, watch it spring forth in the miracle of life, and then we wait. We wait for it to get its adult leaves. We wait for it to branch out, reach for the sun. We wait for it to give us some food.
Growing what we eat takes time. Some things — asparagus, apples, apricots — take years before they produce any food. Other stuff takes several months. On the whole, the propagation process requires a lot of persistence and patience. However, there are some plants that work their magic quickly. They provide the (nearly) instant gratification we all like so much, both in terms of the labor of growing food and the pleasure of eating it.
From seed packet to the dinner plate, in less than 60 days, who wouldn’t give them a go, right?
What a wonderful green it is. It provides a spicy kick for salads, or it can be sautéed and steamed like spinach. And, it sprouts up so quickly that some folks have taken to calling it rocket. Leafy greens like arugula require rich soil and about a foot of growing space (perfect for container gardening), and with that, a grower can be eating in just over a month. From there, simply harvest the outer leaves, and let the plant keep giving more.
2. Bok Choy
Also know as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is a cool weather vegetable most of us are now familiar with. It takes around a week to germinate (go from seed to sprout), but it works quickly from then on. Within 45 days, there will be fresh, homegrown bok choy to include in soups, salads and stir fries. Be aware that this plant does not like the summer time heat, so plant it in early spring or once the autumn crispness has arrived.
3. Broccoli Rabe
Another plant with many aliases, such as rapini or Italian turnip, broccoli rabe tricks us from the get-go: it’s not really broccoli (a distant relative) so much as mustard. Regardless, it’s quick-growing, with some varieties — Quarantina — maturing in just 40 days. By reputation, broccoli rabe is another cool weather crop, but some growers say, if young plants are harvested from regularly, the season can last right through the summer.