Fast food: How to get from seed to feed in less time!

Does a lack of patience hold you back from growing food at home? You’re not alone. But edible gardening doesn’t have to be time-consuming, nor do you have to wait months on end to actually harvest something (despite this process being incredibly satisfying for some)! 

With the right plants and set-up, you can create a productive and fast-growing edible garden with minimal time and energy. Selecting seeds and plants that are quick to grow can keep you motivated, keep young children interested, and means you’ll get to experience the rewards of your home-grown produce sooner. 

Your fast food menu… 
The following plants are notorious for producing fast and plentiful harvests that are sure to satisfy the most impatient edible gardener. Coincidentally, many of these crops are also among the ‘easiest’ to grow, making them perfect for beginners and those wanting to build their confidence. 

Radish
Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 21 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: All year round


Top tip: Radishes are completely edible – enjoy the leaves and roots to really maximise your harvest! Learn how to store and prepare radishes here.
 
Lettuce 
Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 21-28 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: All year round 


Top tip: Choose a ‘cut-and-come-again variety’ for an ongoing supply and to prolong your harvest! Harvest from the outside leaves first. Learn more about how to plant and maintain your lettuce crops here

Spinach 
Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 30-40 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: Autumn – Winter


Top tip: From about three weeks, you can harvest the small leaves first and use them for salads! Learn more about the different varieties of spinach you can grow here.

Microgreens
Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 7-10 days 
Where to grow: Inside on a windowsill, in seed trays 
When to grow: All year round 


Top tip: Microgreens are ready to harvest as soon as they have their first set of ‘baby leaves’. Learn more here in this video from Gardening Australia.  

Some other ‘fast food’ options
Asian greens, turnips, peas, baby carrots, rocket, cress, spring onions, and green beans. 

Additional things to consider:

  • Soil quality will affect how quickly things grow, so buy the best soil/ potting mix you can afford! 
  • Utilise fertilisers such as compost and worm tea for a nutrient boost and to speed things up.
  • Keep in mind there are many other factors that can influence the growth rate of your veggies like humidity, moisture, sunlight, and pests. 
  • Most plants will grow quicker in the warmer months 
  • Purchase seedlings instead of seeds if you’re wanting a head start! 

In summary
Not all food from home needs to be fast, however starting out with some quick growing varieties might help some of us develop the skills, confidence, and motivation we need to embark on a longer-term edible gardening journey. Talk to any edible gardener and you’ll commonly hear about the immense satisfaction and appreciation that can come from growing slower crops such as pumpkins, avocadoes, and brussels sprouts. Edible gardening can even be a valuable lesson in patience and persistence! Head to our resources page for more information and fact-sheets to help get you started.

Remember, we’re all in this together. Share your edible gardening photos and experiences with us on Instagram and Facebook by using the hashtag #FoodFromHome.

Happy growing 🌱
– Kate (FFH team)

    

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