So we may only be a month into winter, but for many of us, our thoughts have already turned to spring. And with the spring will come planting our gardens, which is an exercise in patience; after laboring through months of cold, ice and snow, waiting further weeks or months for vegetables to sprout seems endless. Here are a few vegetables for your garden that are a little quicker-growing to help ease you out of that winter funk faster.
Baby spinach leaves will be grown in 30 to 40 days. Spinach enjoys partial shade, 3 to 6 hours of sunlight per day will be sufficient. It can also survive in full sun where necessary, just monitor the soil moisture carefully.
The versatile and easily cultivated bush bean produces 6 to 8 inch, stringless pods in 49 days. Pick these beans before seeds mature for optimal flavor. Some varieties do well when dried for long-term storage.
Arugula is simple to grow and harvest and adds a delicious, nutty and aromatic essence to salads and meals. It takes just 21 days for this plant to produce baby leaves. Arugula can be easily grown from seeds, in window boxes or pots as well as garden beds.
Radishes are familiar to all, but everyone has probably not grown them in their garden. Many of the small, red radish varieties will produce the edible portion, 3/4 to 1 inch round roots, within 21 days. There are larger varieties available, which ripen later but can be stored longer.
Black-seeded lettuces take about 28 days to go from seed to your salad. Lettuce comes in 2 general varieties “leaf” and “head”. Iceberg, romaine and Boston are commonly found lettuce varieties; head lettuces grow in tightly-packed heads of compact leaves, while leaf lettuces grow as a loosely gathered bunch of leaves. New gardeners should stick with leaf lettuces, these will be the easiest to grow.
Sugar snap peas take just 56 days to produce their sweet, crunchy pods measuring about 2 1/2 inches in length. These are a pleasure in a spring garden and are some of the earliest to harvest.
For assistance in choosing appropriate regional veggie varieties, selecting the proper location for your garden, soil testing and garden amendments, contact your arborist and your local agricultural extension.