Best Vegetables To Grow For Short Growing Seasons

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

If you love gardening but live somewhere with cold temperatures for most of the year, you have learned over time that your options are limited. Many flowers, shrubs, and fruit trees that thrive in many climates simply don’t survive in some places with short growing seasons. The same is true for vegetables. But if you live somewhere with a short growing season, you will be happy to learn there are several vegetables that you can still harvest successfully.

The best vegetables to grow in places with short growing seasons are resilient ones that take fewer than 60 days to mature and yield a crop. Certain lettuces, kale, spinach, arugula, and other leafy greens are great for short growing seasons as they harvest quickly. Some root vegetables, including radishes, beets, and carrots are resilient and grow quickly. You can even grow broccoli, zucchini, and several types of peas.

If you live somewhere with long winters and brief summers, you might think growing vegetables is not in the cards for you. But this is not the case. There are dozens of vegetables, herbs, and all sorts of delicious edible marvels you can grow in a short span of time.

Below is a list of 14 of the best and most delicious vegetables that you should consider planting in a garden that has a limited time to grow.

14 Vegetables That You Can Grow With A Short Growing Season

1. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a fantastic and healthy addition to any garden. If you happen to live somewhere with a limited growing window, Swiss chard may be a great option. It usually grows from seed to harvest in less than 12 weeks.

This leafy vegetable is also full of nutrients and antioxidants. Furthermore, it goes great in soups and stews that suit those living in colder climates.

2. Cabbage

Cabbage is a mainstay in any cold-weather garden. Most cabbages have a strong endurance for cooler temperatures, which means you can plant them a bit earlier than other greens, and harvest them a bit later.

Cabbage can sometimes take more than two, and up to four months to grow. But do not be deterred by this. Cabbage, unlike other vegetables, actually prefers a cooler climate and can survive a frost. As long as there are no consistent freezes in the late spring, you should have no problem growing several types of cabbage.

3. Beets

Beets are a delicious root vegetable that have found their way back into the mainstream over the last decade or so. In addition to being delicious as a side dish, added to salads and even soups, they are also quite resilient.

These vibrant purple root vegetables are great for planting in a garden with a short growing season. They can survive frosts and near-freezing temperatures, making them great for more temperamental climates. There are several beet varieties, so choose ones with a short maturation time, like chioggia beets or Burpee’s golden beets.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is a very hearty vegetable that can handle slightly colder temperatures. It is a great addition to short-growing season gardens, but there is one thing to note.

Broccoli might be able to handle colder temperatures, but it takes a very long time to grow from seed – upwards of 100 days. Therefore, consider adding broccoli to your garden, but buy it in a juvenile state, or consider a fast-growing variety of broccoli like Spring Raab, which matures in less than 2 months.

5. Kale

Kale is a very resilient green and is an ideal addition to a cold-weather garden. It can survive much better than some lettuces in short growing seasons. This is because it grows quickly, can withstand cool weather and is a more substation green. Best of all, it’s very nutritious and versatile.

6. Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, are great for any garden. They are especially great in gardens where it is difficult to find plants that will grow. This is because green onions grow like weeds. They sprout up quickly and can grow in almost any condition.

These tasty green shoots grow to maturity in as quickly as 20 days. Best of all, you can grow them by your kitchen window when there is still a chance of frost, and then transplant them.

7. Peas

Peas are another vegetable that can grow quite quickly. They are great for gardens with a short growing season, but make sure you choose the right varieties.

Snap peas are a popular choice as they mature quickly. You can also try a type of pea called Alaska peas, which are known to thrive in cooler temperatures when growing time is limited.

8. Radishes

Radishes are another root vegetable that work well in cool climates with short growing seasons. They are very fast-growing and enjoy cooler seasons, which means you can plant the seeds just after the last frost.

They are also very easy to grow. This makes them a good vegetable for those trying to plant a short-growing season garden for the first time.

9. Spinach

Spinach is a delicious and healthy green that does great in just about every savory dish. It is also great for anyone planting a garden with a limited amount of pleasant weather.

What makes spinach great for these shorter seasons is that it grows very quickly and yields a ton of leaves in this short period. This makes for a fast and bountiful harvest.

10. Carrots

Carrots are another root vegetable that you can plant in a short growing season. Remember, there are several types of carrots, and some do better than others in short-growing seasons. Consider smaller carrot varietals, as they tend to mature faster.

11. Bok Choy

If you are a fan of stir fries and Asian soups. then make sure to plant some bok choy in your vegetable garden. Bok choy might be associated with some warmer-climate cuisine, but this vegetable can also thrive in gardens with shorter growing seasons. In fact, it usually matures in just around 45 days.

12. Zucchini

Zucchini is a substantial squash that is a great plant for a short-season garden. It matures in about 45 days and tends to produce tons of squash in a short time. Its blossoms are also edible and quite popular in several types of cooking.

13. Arugula

Arugula is another fantastic leafy green to plant in your short-season vegetable garden. It takes an average of 40 days to mature from seed to harvest, making it great for any garden.

Arugula also can seed twice in one season, making it a bountiful crop. It can tolerate cold temperatures and even grows in some shade.

14. Lettuce

If you are a salad lover but live in a cooler climate, don’t be discouraged. There are actually several types of lettuce you can grow in places with a short growing season.

Try oak leaf and butter lettuces, as both tend to grow quite quickly — often in 45 days or less. This means you can enjoy farm-to-table salads even in places where fresh produce is hard to find.

Final Thoughts On Vegetables For A Short Growing Season

If you want to grow a diverse and plentiful vegetable garden, don’t let a short growing season deter you. There are all sorts of fantastic plants that produce a plentiful harvest in just a few months.

Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes, which can withstand cold springs and falls, are great. There are also several leafy greens that multiply fast, like Swiss chard, kale, and spinach.

You can even grow vegetables like peas, broccoli and zucchini as long as you have a three-month growing window.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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