Having the patience to watch vegetables grow until you get to harvest them.
It would be nice to know how long they would take to grow. And plan to get a harvest throughout the year.
Most vegetables will take between 30 to 120 days to grow. How fast vegetables grow will also depend on seed quality, days to maturity, environmental conditions such as soil, water, aeration, sunlight, nutrients, pests and diseases.
If you grow vegetables such as carrots or beets, they may take 50-80 days to reach maturity. Leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce may take 30-45 days until ready for harvest.
Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers may take longer time, such as 2-3 months until the fruits are ripe for harvest. Vegetables grown from bulbs like onions or garlic may take several months before they are ready to harvest.
Let’s look at different vegetables, and how long they take to grow. It will help you plan out your garden, so you always have some vegetables available for harvest.
Different vegetables and their maturity
It’s important that you grow vegetables with different maturity dates, so you always have some of them ready for harvest throughout the growing season. For example, you don’t want to end up with a huge harvest of tomatoes for a month and then nothing for the next few months.
My suggestion would be to grow several types of vegetables that I’ve mentioned below that will help you achieve this. Note that these maturity days are a rough estimate based on ideal conditions. So your experience will vary depending on the local conditions of your garden.
Vegetables that grow in 50 days
These are awesome vegetables to grow, especially as a beginner. You’ll get results pretty fast and feel confidence as a gardener.
Some of these fast-growing vegetables are spinach, turnip, arugula, lettuce, and radish. You’ll find a detailed list below.
Most of these vegetables are cool-season, which means you can grow them during early spring or late summer when the weather is cool.
|Name||Maturity Date (Days)||Type|
|Bok Choy||45||Cool season|
|Mustard greens||45||Cool season|
|Swiss chard||50||Cool season|
Vegetables that grow in 100 days
If you only grow the fast-growing cool-season vegetables, you’ll get a great harvest in summer/fall, but nothing at other times.
That’s why it’s important to grow vegetables that take 100 days or more in order to maintain a continued vegetable harvest throughout the growing season.
Some of these vegetables that take a medium level of time include cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, okra, green beans, sweet potatoes, and melons.
Many of these are warm-season vegetables you can start at the end of spring as the weather warms up. You’ll be able to harvest them in the summer.
|Name||Maturity Date (Days)||Type|
|Sweet potato||90||Warm season|
Vegetables that grow in more than 100 days
These are the vegetables that take the longest time to grow. You’ll need a long growing season or start some seeds indoors if you have a short growing season.
It’s not a bad thing that these plants take time because you’ll have them ready for harvest at the end of the growing season (or even the next growing season) when the other plants have already been harvested.
Some of these plants include celery, garlic, asparagus, leeks, strawberries, and blueberries.
|Name||Maturity Date (Days)||Type|
|Asparagus||3 years||Cool season|
|Rhubarb||1 year||Cool season|
|Strawberries||1 year||Cool season|
|Blueberries||1 year||Cool season|
Factors that impact how long vegetables take to grow
1. Seed quality
If the seed quality is poor, they will take longer to germinate and the vegetable plant will grow slower because of poor health. The poor quality seeds may also be prone to infection and that can kill the plant, slow its growth, or reduce harvest.
You need high-quality seeds that are resistant to disease and will germinate fast. The plants will be healthy and mature at the appropriate time.
I would recommend storing seeds properly in a cool, dry place, as exposure to too much moisture or heat can damage the generic material and reduce their viability.
I’ve faced this problem with cilantro seeds that I left for over a year, then tried to use them. The germination rates were very poor. And the plants that germinated did not survive for long.
2. Days to maturity
You’ll find the days to maturity on the seed packet of the vegetables. Or the tags on seedlings you buy from a nursery. This shows the time it would need for the plant to reach full maturity and be ready for harvest.
Fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers will reach maturity when the fruits are ripe for picking. The leafy vegetables and herbs mature when they reach full growth for consumption. The root vegetables mature when their roots are fully grown and they can be pulled out.
It’s important to note that the days to maturity on the seed packet is based on ideal conditions of soil, water, sunlight, temperature, and nutrients. So it’s just a reference and the days to actual maturity will depend on your garden conditions.
3. Plant variety
Even with the same type of plants, the days to maturity can be different because there are different varieties. We classified varieties by their number of days to maturity; some may be ready for harvest within a few weeks, while others may take several months before they are ready.
So it’s important that you choose the plant, and its variety to plan the growing season in your garden. If you have a short growing season, find varieties that mature faster.
You’ll find the information on the seed packets and catalogs on the different varieties of the vegetable plants and how long they take to mature.
Most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to grow well. So if the plants don’t get the required sunlight, they will be slow to grow. You want to put the plants in a location that gets them the sunlight they need.
I planted peppers in my container garden but those took almost a year to develop peppers because of the poor sunlight that reached through my apartment balcony.
Check the seed packets and catalogs for information on the sunlight requirement of the vegetable plants. If that is not available, research on the internet in gardening forums or seed websites to find this information.
It’s important to arrange the plants in the right position in the garden so they get the required sunlight. You need to understand how tall the plants will be when they mature.
You then plant the tall ones at the back and the shorter ones in the front. Do consider that the south facing direction is the best choice if your garden is in the Northern Hemisphere. This direction will get the most sunlight throughout the day.
The amount of water you supply the vegetable plants will determine how fast they grow to maturity. Too little or too much water will cause issues that slow down the growth.
Underwatering is when you provide too little water to the plants, causing dehydration. The plants can’t absorb nutrients from the soil and hence results in poor growth.
Now you may think giving lots of water should be beneficial. But then you risk overwatering where the soil is soaking in water and the roots cannot get required oxygen. This again leads to dehydration and a lack of nutrients in the plant.
In the worst situation, the roots will rot because of fungal disease. Which slows down growth or kills the plant.
So find out how much water the vegetable plant you’re growing needs. My hack for giving the required water to vegetable plants is to put my finger into the soil. It’s OK to dig a little to reach 1-2 inches into the soil.
I water the soil only if the finger comes out dry with no wet soil sticking to it. This helps me avoid the problem of both underwatering and overwatering. Of course, I check the soil every day as part of my routine in the morning.
I would suggest growing vegetable plants together that have similar watering requirements. This helps you avoid issues that plants are getting more or less water than they actually need. For example, tomato plants need a lot more water than lavender. So you want to grow tomato plants together or with other fruiting plants that have a need for plenty of water.
If possible, it’s best to water the garden early in the morning before the sun is at its strongest or late in the evening when temperatures cool down; this helps avoid evaporation from occurring during midday hours when temperatures are highest.
6. Soil condition
You need the right soil texture to grow vegetable plants. We call this loamy soil that has the right texture, so it keeps sufficient moisture but drains out the excess. It has enough air pockets so the roots get the required oxygen.
If the soil contains too much clay, it will keep moisture longer and you risk overwatering the plants. If the soil contains too much sand, the water will drain out fast and you risk underwatering the plants. Both situations will slow down the growth of the plants because of a lack of nutrients. So we want to avoid this.
If you want to grow plants in the ground, you’ll need to ensure the soil has the right condition. This means you’ll need to prepare the soil after a soil test.
The test will give you indications of what the soil is missing and needs amendments. You’ll also need to add compost periodically to improve the conditions.
I recommend using raised beds or containers with the right soil from the start. My favorite way is to use containers and create a vegetable garden on my apartment balcony. So I get some good potting soil that has the required texture for the plants.
The other important factor of soil is the pH. Vegetable plants prefer to grow in slightly acidic soil in the 5.5 to 6.5 pH range. If you use raised beds or containers, you’ll not face pH issues because you’ll use good soil from the start.
If you’re growing vegetables in the ground, the soil test will show you if there are issues with pH being too high or low. And you’ll need to fix the problem with amendments. If the pH is low, the soil is too acidic, and you use limestone to improve it. If the pH is high, the soil is too alkaline, and you can use sulfur to bring it down.
Vegetable plants will need the right temperature to grow fast to maturity. They can be warm-season plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that prefer temperatures around 75 degrees. Or cool-season plants such as spinach, lettuce, and cabbage that prefer temperatures around 60 degrees.
You need to grow the plants at the right time to give them the best chance of growth. So you want to grow warm-season plants during spring/summer. And you want to grow the cool season plants either early spring or late fall.
If you have a short growing season, you may have to start the seeds or seedlings indoors and transplant them outdoors when they have developed enough.
It may sometimes happen that the temperature drops or gets too high during the growing season. You’ll need to use row covers to protect the plants. If you’re growing vegetables in containers, you can bring them indoors until the temperature is back to normal.
Nutrients are essential for vegetable plants to grow at the fastest rate possible. There are macronutrients, micronutrients, and essential nutrients that the plants will need.
If you have taken care of using good soil in the garden, there will be most of the nutrients available initially. But once the plant is growing, you’ll need to feed nutrients into the soil at regular intervals.
I find the easiest way to do this is to add compost every 15-20 days to the soil. This helps the soil get the required nutrient boost. It also adds beneficial organisms to the soil, enriching it further.
You can also add organic fertilizer to the soil to give it a boost of nutrients. The fertilizer can be a slow-release fertilizer that you add to the soil. Or it can be liquid fertilizer that you spray on the soil or foliage.
When you want to grow the foliage of the vegetable plants, you need a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Once the plant has matured and is producing fruit or roots, you need a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorus.
I would recommend applying the fertilizer as per the instructions on the packet. You don’t want to apply too much fertilizer as you risk damaging the plant. This is a less frequent issue when you use organic fertilizer, but you still need to be careful.
9. Pests And Diseases
When you have a vegetable garden, it’s bound to have pests and diseases at some point. This problem can cause the growth of the plants to slow down, depending on how intense it is.
I use container gardening, which helps reduce the problem of pests and diseases a bit as the plants are isolated. I also check on the plants every day and take care of issues as soon as possible.
The first step is to identify the problem, usually by checking the signs and symptoms. You need to figure out if it’s caused by a pest or disease and which one.
The good thing is, as you get growing experience, you’ll understand what are the common pests and diseases in your area that often attack plants. You’ll know which plants you grow and what particular pests and diseases affect those plants. And you’ll be in a better position to deal with them once they occur.
You can avoid fungal issues by avoiding excess moisture on the plants. When you water the plants, use a watering can and only water the base of the plant. Avoid splashing water on the foliage. It’s best to water in the morning, so when the sun comes out, excess moisture will evaporate.
Some other things that help avoid pests and diseases include removing dead leaves and debris, sterilizing tools before use, controlling weeds, and ensuring good air circulation to avoid humid conditions.
Understanding how much time vegetables take to grow is crucial to plan your container vegetable garden. But there are several other factors involved that you’ll find below.