Late Start to the Growing Season? Catch Up with These Quick Crops!

By the middle of June, the growing season is in full swing. And your garden should be lush and loaded with healthy, happy plants.

But… maybe it isn’t. Maybe you haven’t even started your garden yet, and you’re thinking that you missed your chance, that it’s too late in the year to sow seeds.

Whatever the reason for your delay — whether you just ordered your Tower Garden or life simply got too busy back in the spring — don’t worry. I have good news to share: You still have time to start your garden.

You still have time, that is, if you grow the right plants.

In this post, I’ll share 10 crops that, under ideal conditions, can go from small seeds to sizeable harvests in a matter of weeks. That means if you plant them now, you’ll be picking produce by August — just in time to start your fall garden.

Tower Tip: If you’re still worried there’s not enough time, remember that you can grow indoors any time of year!

Arugula: 20­­ days

The fastest of the bunch, arugula can be ready to harvest in as little three weeks after planting. It’s perfect for adding a peppery punch to fresh salads or sandwiches.

Bok choy: 25­­ days

You’ll be able to enjoy the tender baby leaves — which make super salads — of this Asian green in no time. And if you wait a few more weeks, mature bok choy is also excellent in stir-fry dishes.

Bush beans: 50 days

Bush beans can produce a compact — but hearty — yield of crisp pods in 50 days or less. (Pole beans, their vining twin, take longer.) To learn more about growing bush beans, check out this green bean growing guide.

Kale: 25 days

You can start harvesting kale as soon as you see a few baby leaves on the plant. Most varieties reach that point by week four. Similar to Bok choy, young kale leaves are ideal in salads, whereas mature leaves are best cooked. Get more kale tips here.

Lettuce: 30 days

Though some varieties — such as Bibb and romaine — require more time, many types of lettuce can be harvested just three weeks after planting. Growing lettuce is easy with Tower Garden, which is why lettuce seeds ship with every order.

Mustard greens: 40 days

This is one plant that grows almost too fast. It can be a challenge to harvest mustard greens quickly enough! Enjoy the spicy kick of young mustard greens in a salad, or stir-fry mature leaves for a nutrient-rich meal.

Snap peas: 55 days

The slowest-growing crop on this list is still a speed fiend. Snap peas can yield a batch of crunchy pods in less than two months. There are many ways to eat snap peas, but I prefer them as healthy snacks picked fresh off the plant.

Spinach: 40 days

Baby spinach is arguably the most famous salad green next to lettuce. Which is fantastic because, in about a month after planting, you can be harvesting your own! That said, spinach tends to be a little tricky, especially when it comes to germination. If you have trouble, try these secrets to growing spinach.

Swiss chard: 45 days

Chard is one of my favorite plants to grow. You can start harvesting this superfood when the plant is around six inches tall, which is typically about five weeks after planting. Young, smaller leaves are comparable to spinach in salads. And mature, larger leaves can be eaten in a variety ways. (For example, try making a veggie wrap and substituting chard for the tortilla shell!) Growing chard is pretty straightforward, but here are a few pointers.

Tender herbs: 30­­ days

You can start harvesting leaves of tender herbs, such as basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley, quite early — around four weeks after planting. Most of these will be potent in taste and aroma. Just a few leaves will transform a bland dish to one bursting with flavor.

Ready to grow?

OK, now you have no excuse — it’s time to grow (or at least order your seeds)!

If you want to grow something that’s not on this list, just check the seed packet label for “days to harvest” information. It will suggest when you can expect a plant to be harvest-ready.

Speaking of which… When your plants are big enough to harvest, make sure you’re doing it right.

So which of these quick crops will you grow? Share your plans in the comments below!

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