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potting vegetables

Fastest Growing Vegetables in Pots and How to Care For Them

Who doesn’t want to harvest their vegetables quickly? When you are growing your own vegetables in pots, you shouldn’t have to go to the grocery store or garden market as often. Want to know what vegetables can you grow in containers for a quick harvest?

In this article, we will discuss how to produce some of the fastest vegetables grown in pots.

person watering a potted plant
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

7 Vegetables That Grow Quickly In Pots 

Fasten your seatbelt because it is going to be a quick ride!!! 

Lettuce 

Depending on the variety of lettuce that you are growing, this vegetable matures in 45-55 days (i.e., less than two months). You can plant lettuce 2-3 times yearly. 

It is simple to grow lettuce. Simply plant the seeds ¼ inches deep, then keep watering until they harvest. Lettuce prefers well-drained but moist soil. You can start growing lettuce some weeks before late frost by starting them indoors. Make sure that the plants receive sufficient sunlight or grow lights

Some lettuce requirements are: 

  • pH: 6-7 
  • Soil: Well-drained 
  • Sunlight: Full or partial shade 
  • Optimum temperature: 60°-65°F (15.5°-18.3°C) 

Remember to feed your plants with nutrient-rich fertilizers.  

Widespread lettuce pests include: 

  • Aphids 
  • Crickets 
  • Flea beetles 
  • Grasshoppers 
  • Garden symphylans 

Keep reading for tips on pest control. 

Spinach 

You can harvest spinach leaves in 4-6 weeks after planting. Spinach and a few other vegetables prefer a neutral or slightly alkaline soil (pH 7-8). If the pH of your potting soil is below 7, increase it with lime.   

For most gardeners, it is best to start spinach in the fall. Plant spinach seeds 1 inch apart in the pot and then cover them with ½ inch of soil. For rapid seed germination (less than a week), the soil should have a temperature of 70°-80°F. For optimum sunlight, place your pots in the southern part of your home. 

Spinach requirements are: 

  • pH: 7-8 
  • Sunlight: Full sun 
  • Soil: Well-drained, rich in nutrients 
  • Temperature: 70°-80°F (21°-26.6°C) 

You can harvest spinach multiple times. Cut the older leaves first and allow the young leaves to grow for the future.  

Some spinach pests are: 

  • Aphids 
  • Leaf miners 
  • Grasshoppers 
  • Corn earworms 
  • Garden snails and slugs 

Radishes 

Radishes are hardy, easy to grow, and can be harvested three weeks after planting. They are among the fastest and easiest vegetables to grow in pots. 

You should plant radish seeds in spring and fall. Planting them in the hot days of summer can cause them to bolt, making them useless. Bury radish seeds ½-1 inch deep, 1 inch apart. For a continuous harvest, you can plant a new set of radish seeds every ten days. 

Basic radish requirements are: 

  • pH: 6.5-7.0 
  • Sunlight: Full sun (essential) 
  • Soil: Nutrient-rich, well-drained 
  • Temperature: 60°-65°F (15.5°-18.3°C) optimum, 50°-70°F (10°-21°C) tolerable  

To harvest your radishes, pull out the plant and root. 

Common radish pests are: 

  • Aphids 
  • Cutworms 
  • Flea beetles 
  • Cabbage loopers 
  • Harlequin beetles 

Cherry Tomatoes 

Potted Tomato Plant by planetnatural.com

Cherry tomatoes are little tomato varieties that grow quickly. In less than three months, the sweet fruits are ready to be picked. The best cherry tomato varieties to grow in pots are, Lizzano, Tumbling Tom, and Terenzo. You can also plant other types. 

Plant the seeds by covering them with less than ¼ inch of soil. In 5-8 days, the seeds will sprout. You can start the plants early by growing them indoors in March or April. Tomatoes need uniformly moist but well-drained soil.  

Other cherry tomato requirements are: 

  • pH: 6.0°-6.8° 
  • Sun: Full sun (6-8 hours) 
  • Soil: Well-drained, nutrient-rich 
  • Temperature: 59°-68°F (15°-20°C) 

Cherry tomatoes, like other kinds of tomatoes, are greedy feeders. Plant your tomatoes in nutrient-rich soil or fertilize regularly. 

Common pests that can damage your cherry tomatoes are: 

  • Rats 
  • Aphids 
  • Whitefly 
  • Cutworms 
  • Nematodes 

Kale 

Do you love kale? Good news! Kale will be ready for harvest two months after planting. Harvest young kale leaves for salads, and harvest older leaves for cooking. You can collect kale leaves multiple times. 

Start your kale by growing the plants indoors six weeks before the last frost date. Plant seeds ½ inch deep. The seeds will sprout in 5-7 days. Always water your plants. If you allow your plants to dry out, they will produce bitter leaves. 

Other kale requirements are: 

  • pH: 5.5-6.5 
  • Sunlight: Full or partial sun 
  • Soil: Well-drained, moist, and preferably loamy 
  • Temperature: 60°-70° (15.5°-21°C) optimum, 55°-75° tolerable (12.8°-23.8°C) 

Kale planted in spring takes a bit longer to mature than kale that is grown in late summer or early fall. When the leaves are large enough, you can harvest them. Remember to water your potted kale often. 

Do you want to know what is eating your kale leaves? Here are some common pests of kale: 

  • Aphids 
  • Caterpillar 
  • Flea beetles 
  • Cabbage loopers 
  • Diamondback moth 

Arugula 

Also called “Rockets,” arugula is a must-include in the salad of so many people. Arugula is among the fastest vegetables to grow. You can harvest arugula three weeks after planting. 

Arugula is hardy and will tolerate some frost. Start arugula seeds in spring or summer. You can plant a new set of seeds every 2-3 weeks for continuous harvest. Plant arugula seeds ¼ inch deep and water continuously in well-drained soil.   

Basic arugula requirements are: 

  • pH: 6-7 
  • Sunlight: Full sun  
  • Soil: Humus-rich, well-drained 
  • Temperature: 45°-65°F (7.2°-18.3°C) 

To harvest arugula, you can pull the whole plant or cut individual leaves. Arugula leaves taste best when they are young. The white flowers of arugula are edible, just like the leaves.  

Common pests of arugulas include: 

  • Ants 
  • Thrips 
  • Aphids 
  • Crickets 
  • Whiteflies 
  • Caterpillars 

Beets 

Photo of potted beets by balconygardenweb.com

Beets can be grown for both their leaves and their roots. They will be ready for harvest in around two months.   

Start growing beets as soon as the soil is workable (i.e., early spring). Sow the seeds ½ inch deep, 1 inch apart. If your beets are too compacted, you must thin them out by removing some of the plants so that the remaining plants will be 3 or 4 inches apart. 

Basic beet requirements are: 

  • pH: 6-7 
  • Sunlight: Full sun 
  • Soil: Nutrient-rich, well-drained 
  • Temperature: 50°-80° (10°-26.6°C) 

Common pests of beets are: 

  • Aphids 
  • Leafminers 
  • Flea beetles 
  • Leafhoppers 
  • Seedcorn maggots 

You can plant any of the seven vegetables listed above. The following are tips on growing your vegetables quickly and how to control pests from your pots. 

Top Tips to Grow Vegetables Quickly 

Do you want to grow faster crops? Here are some things to consider: 

Pick the Right Type of Fertilizer 

Some fertilizers are organic while others are inorganic or synthetic. Organic fertilizers such as compost and manure, help fix the soil. Inorganic fertilizers are processed to give your plants specific nutrients for their immediate use. Read labels and follow manufacturer recommendations.

Consider Plant Requirements 

You should grow vegetables only when you are ready to give them what they need, like the type of soil, pH, temperature, and sunlight. If you don’t plant vegetables meeting their requirements, they will grow slowly and be more susceptible to pests and diseases. 

Control Pests and Weeds 

With pests and weeds around your plants, your vegetables will take a bit longer to mature. Weeds can compete with your vegetables for sunlight and nutrients. Pests can damage your plants’ leaves and roots, therefore reducing how much nutrients your plants can absorb. 

Remember those tips for controlling pests that we mentioned earlier?

Tips to Control and Prevent Pests in Your Potted Plants

It is heartbreaking when you find pests eating your potted plants. Here are a few tips to control or prevent pests from your potted plants: 

Companion Planting 

Companion planting is the practice of growing other plants with your vegetables. Companion plants have various advantages like repelling pests, increasing soil nutrients, etc. Some plants that can repel pests from your pots and the pests they repel are:  

  • Mint: Repels spiders and ants 
  • Basil: Repels tomato hornworms 
  • Garlic: Repels aphids and spider mites. 
  • Rosemary: Repels a wide range of insects 
  • Marigold: Repels cucumber beetles and some nematodes 

Introduce Friendly Insects 

Not all insects are dangerous to your plants. Some insects help pollinate your plants. Other insects help control pests by eating them. Some insects that are predators to common plant pests are: 

  • Ladybug 
  • Lacewing 
  • Honeybee 
  • Dragonflies 
  • Praying Mantises 

Hand-pick Pests off Your Plants 

If you find pests like cutworms, caterpillars, and snails that are big enough to be hand-picked, pick them off your plants. You can dispose of them any way you want. 

Use Pesticides 

If pests disturb your potted plants regularly and the previous tips don’t work, you could consider using pesticides. There are different pesticides for each type of pest. Be careful when choosing pesticides for your vegetables. Some contain ingredients that are toxic to humans and animals. Read the labels and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Choose organic pesticides when possible.

Conclusion 

There are many quick-growing vegetable plants. Some of the fastest-growing are arugula, radishes, spinach, kale, and cherry tomatoes. You can help your vegetables mature quickly by planting them at the right time of the year and giving them nutrients. 

Always remove weeds and pests from your vegetables so that they can grow even faster.  

Now that you know some of the fastest-growing vegetables, which one will you grow first? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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