When you are growing your own food, you must have noticed that growing food takes time. Food crops like corn, wheat, and rice have harvest time of 100-120 days. Therefore, if you are just a hobbyist farmer, growing food crops is out of the question. Vegetables take little less time, however, you will have to wait for 60-90 days before you can start harvesting. Growing food is time-consuming and requires hard work and a lot of patience. Having said that there are also varieties of edible plants that can grow in a short time. If you just a hobbyist gardener, here are some vegetables and spices that you can grow easily and harvest in less than one month.
Sprouts are tasty and highly nutritious. Sprouts are good if you have diabetes, heart disease, or want to lose weight. Sprouts are low in calorie, high in fiber, full of protein, minerals and vitamins. You can harvest sprouts in 3-5 days depending on what you are sprouting. You can sprout almost anything including but not limited to beans, soya, chickpeas, peas, lentil, broccoli, fenugreek etc.
Here is an easiest way to grow sprouts
Wash well and put inside the Mason jar. Fill the jar with water and cover with sprout lid. If you do not have sprout lid, cover the jar with muslin/cheese cloth and tighten with rubber band or string. Let it soak for12 hours (couple of hours more if you are trying to sprout, kidney beans, lima beans, or fava beans, and few hours less if you are sprouting broccoli, or fenugreeks).
Drain the water through the sprout lid or muslin cloth and keep the jar in the warm place away from direct sunlight. It is better if you keep the jars in the dark place. Sprouts will be ready in 2-3 days. Wash well before you eat. You can make soup, stew, broth, or eat raw by adding in salad or sandwich. You can store sprout in the fridge for 5-7 days.
You can also make sprouts by wrapping in muslin/cheese cloth instead of putting in the Mason jar. You have to keep it in the warm and dark place though.
You can grow microgreens in coconut coir, cocopeat, or soil. Broccoli, mustards, radish, spinach, lettuce are good for microgreens. Microgreens are tiny shoots, not more than 3 inches, of edible plants that are just 5-10 days old. Microgreens can be used in salad, soups or vegetables.
Plant wheat seeds in the soil where it gets diffused light. In 9-10 days the plants will be 4-6 inches tall. Harvest the shoots, juice it out and drink. Just like wheat grass, you can also grow barley grass.
Generally speaking, it takes almost 2 months for lettuce to mature, however, you can harvest as soon as they have 3-4 leaves, which usually takes 25-30 days.
The proper harvest time for spinach is 60-80 days, however, you can also harvest spinach in less 3-4 weeks. Make sure your potting soil is very fertile and you keep the soil moist.
Not only roots, even the leaves of radish are edible. Leaves in radish will develop in 20-25 days and you can snip leaves and add in your vegetables, make salad or soup. There are many varieties of radish, some radish takes just 4-6 weeks to develop roots. You can grow the early variety of radish if you want to harvest roots as well. You can grow red variety as well as white variety.
Generally speaking, it takes about 90 days for the beet roots to grow. However, beets will have well grown leaves in just one month. Beet leaves are nutritious and you can add these leaves in salad or make vegetable.
Turnip leaves are also edible. Turnip leaves make a great curry. You can make turnip leaves curry by adding potatoes and tomatoes and cooking for 15 minutes. You can harvest turnip leaves in 25-30 days. However, if you want to harvest turnip, you will have to wait for 80-90 days.
Mustard is generally grown for oil. Mustard seeds give good quality oil. You can also use mustard paste as dressing in salad or pickle, or make sauce. However, young mustard plants are edible. In fact young shoots of mustard is a popular vegetable in India. You can harvest mustard plant in 25-30 days.
You can grow leeks from the store bought leeks. Cut the bottom parts and plant in the soil. You can harvest leeks in 3-4 weeks. However, if you want fully grown leeks you might have to wait for at least 6 weeks.
You can grow celery from the store-bought celery. Cut the bottom part and plant in the soil. You can start harvesting in 3-4 weeks.
Green Onions/Spring Onions
Depending on how you are growing, green onions take 4-6 weeks to harvest. If you are growing green onions from seeds, it takes little longer, however, if you are growing green onions from the top part with shoots or bottom part with roots, green onion will grow faster and you can harvest in 3-4 weeks. Best way to grow green onion is by reusing the top or bottom part of the onion that you generally toss in your waste basket. Growing green onions or spring onions virtually costs no money, as you can re-grow green/spring onion from the crown area or the root area of the onion.
Cut one inch from the top part of the onion. Make sure green shoot is already appearing. If there is no green shoot yet, scrap the upper layer of the skin. This will let the onion grow faster. Then after, plant the onions in plastic cups, tray, basket, etc. and place in the area where it gets bright light. If you want, you can directly plant in your garden.
You can grow also re-grow onions from the root area. Cut one inch from the bottom with roots intact. Plant it on the soil. You can grow spring onions in the kitchen counter, terrace, balcony etc.
You can start harvesting in 2-3 weeks. When you harvest, leave one inch so that it will re-grow again and you can harvest again. You can harvest again in 2-3 weeks. You can harvest multiple times. Continue adding liquid fertilizer in the soil for better harvest. Alternatively, you can let the plant continue to grow until it flowers. In 90-100 days, you can collect seeds from the flowers and use those seeds to grow a fresh batch of onions.
Interestingly, you can also grow green onions from store bought green onions. Cut one inch bottom with roots intact and plant in the soil. You can also plan entire onions instead of top part with shoots or bottom parts with roots.
If you are a fan of green onions, here are some interesting ways to grow spring onions at your home.
Wrap egg carton with plastic sheet (use paper cartoon) and stack another egg cartoon on the top. Spray water on the top egg cartoon until it is damp. Place small size onions on each hole on the cartoon and pour little bit water on the holes. If there are no green shoots appearing on your onions, snip the top skin of onion. You can harvest in 2-3 weeks and continue to harvest multiple times. . You will have to feed liquid fertilizer and water frequently.
You can also propagate onions directly in water. Fill soda/cold drinks bottles with water and place an onion on the top. Make sure the bottom of the onion touches the water. You can start harvesting in 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, you can also cut the upper part of the plastic bottle and place on the cut bottle making it just like a funnel. Fill with water and place onion inside the funnel. Remember to change water every 2-3 days. You may add liquid fertilizer if you want.
You can also plant onions in a cylindrical bottle and grow green onions vertically. Make holes in the bottle. The holes should be 2 inches apart and one inch in diameter. Fill the bottle with soil and plant small size onions with the top part poking out of the holes. Fill the bottle with more soil and plant more onions. In this method, you are planting layers of onion in a single bottle.
The easiest way to grow green onions is by planting them in a seedling tray, or just a simple tray, filled with soil. Fill a flat container with one and half inch soil and place onion on the soil, do not cover onions with soil. Place the container in the area where it gets sunlight and water every 2-3 days.
Garlic is also easy to grow. You can harvest garlic shoots in 2-3 weeks. Garlic shoots are flavourful just like the roots. Garlic shoots go well in salad, broth, soups, and variety of dishes. You can grow garlic in plastic cups, paper cups, plastic bottles, flat containers, egg cartoons, seedling tray etc.
Separate garlic cloves and plant with the top part pointing up, and cover garlics with soil. Shoots will be ready to be harvested in 2-3 weeks. You can harvest garlic shoots multiple times. If you want, you can let garlic grow for 4-5 weeks and pluck the entire plant with roots. The young garlic plant where garlic pod has not yet appeared is very flavourful. If you let it grow for 90-100 days until leaves start drying, you can harvest the roots.
You can also propagate garlic in water and later transfer to the soil in a week or two. When you are propagating in water, garlic will develop roots in about one week and shoots will begin to appear on the second week. In order to propagate garlic in water, you do not have to separate cloves. Remove the outer skin and put the garlic on the bottle filled with water, make sure the bottom part touches the water. Change water every 2-3 days. When roots and shoots appear you can separate cloves and transfer to the soil. However, you can also continue growing in water and harvest garlic shoots.
You can also grow garlic in a plastic bottle vertically just like we explained onion growing method. Make holes on a plastic bottle. The holes should be one cm in diameter and 3 cm apart. Fill the bottle with soil and plant garlic clove in each hole. You can start harvesting in 2-3 weeks, for multiple harvesting, add liquid fertilizer.
Growing Variety of Spice in 4 Weeks
Just like vegetables, there are spices that you can grow in less than one month. However, for faster growth you will have to use cuttings and propagate in water. If done appropriately, water propagation helps plant grow faster. . When you are propagating in water, you can harvest the leaves multiple times.
You need cuttings, and mason jars, or plastic bottles (better if the neck is cut to make the opening larger). Fill the jars/bottles with water and place the cuttings inside. Make sure you pluck bottom leaves from the cutting and leave only 2-3 leaves on the top. Also change water every 2-3 days. You can add hydroponic nutrients for faster and healthier growth. Keep the bottles in the direct sunlight for at least 4-5 hours every day.
Using this process you can grow herbs and spices like peppermint, basil, oregano, sage, stevia, thyme, rosemary, lemon grass, and chives.
When the roots appear you can transfer to the soil or continue propagate in water and harvest leaves every 3-4 weeks.