While gardening generally isn't a process that should be hurried, there's no need to forgo growing your own vegetables if you're a bit behind this year. You can still enjoy homegrown food if you're short on time, without sacrificing on taste. The key to growing vegetables quickly is choosing the right ones and we've got seven delicious crops that can be harvested in less than two months, meaning that you can (and should!) plant them now and still enjoy them this summer.
Growing vegetables is a great way to save money and stock up on nutrients. Plus there's nothing quite as satisfying as tucking into your very own harvest. You can savour these healthy veggies straight from the garden, or cook them up in tasty, flavour-packed recipes for friends and family. And the great thing about these fast-growing veggies isn't just that they'll be ready to eat soon, but also how easy they are to grow. Not lucky enough to be the owner of naturally green fingers? No problem. Growing vegetables doesn't have to be a chore. Discover seven easy-to-grow veggies that can be on your dinner table in just a few weeks...
These crunchy, sweet veggies are fabulous in salads or can even be enjoyed alone, with just a sprinkling of sea salt and a smear of butter. There are a few different varieties to choose from but most will be ready to harvest just one month after planting. Simple!
Spinach leaves maybe look delicate but they're actually pretty easy to grow as they're happy in both partial shade as well as full sun, plus they can grow in a range of soil types. Serve them raw in a healthy salad or use them to add some extra colour and nutrients in dishes like this spinach, sweet potato and feta quiche or this lentil, chickpea and spinach curry. Plant now and the leaves should be ready to eat in about 35 to 40 days.
Cucumbers grow fast and don't need a lot of care, however they do prefer warmer temperatures and moist soil. Most types of cucumber can typically be harvested around 60 days after planting, but you can pick them whenever they're big enough to use. Make a summery salad with cucumber, strawberries and poppy seed, or cool down in the heat with a cucumber and prawn gazpacho. Or simply add a few slices to your G&T – perfection.
Full size carrots can take up to 200 days to grow, but baby carrots can be harvested much sooner, in about 50 days. Packed with Vitamins A and C, these earthy veggies are delicious when eaten raw and served with a creamy dip or can be grated into salads for a delightful crunch. Or use your homegrown veg in a tasty side dish, like this recipe for baby carrots with orange glaze.
Savour fresh salads all summer long with this easy crop. Short on sunshine? No problem – lettuce prefers cooler temperatures and even grows wonderfully indoors. Once your leaves are ready to be harvested (in about 30 days), pick the outside leaves first and the plant will continue to produce. Or cut the entire plant 5cm above the base. Serve leaves fresh from the garden (wash them in ice cold water first) with a lemony dressing or whip up this one-pot braised peas and lettuce with chicken dish.
The wonderful thing about growing courgettes is how many vegetables you can get from just one plant – you may have more courgettes than you know what to do with! When planted properly (plants will need about a metre of space) courgettes can be harvested after 70 days but don't forget about the flowers – they're delicious when stuffed with cheese and lightly fried. For the courgettes themselves, fire up the grill and enjoy the fruits of your (very light) labour with this courgette and pepper bianco pizza recipe. Or give these courgette and corn fritters a go.
Light and peppery, rocket is easily grown and can be planted in window boxes, containers and garden beds. Rocket leaves will be ready in about 21 days and are wonderful in salads like this luscious broad bean and rocket salad with bean butter, or when added to breads like this smoked salmon, cheddar and rocket muffins recipe. Delish!
Stock up on seeds, planting supplies and garden tools at your nearest Asda.