By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Are you a short-term tenant or someone who travels a lot? If you need a “quick result garden” in some temporary spot, there are many fast-growing plants and even seeds that produce a speedy harvest.
Planting Fast Growing Gardens
Consider growing all or at least part of your flowers, fruits or veggies in containers so you can move them along with you. If this is not feasible for your situation, get a ground bed ready for planting.
Find an area with rich soil in full to part sun. Weed it, remove rocks then till several inches deep. Add compost and further break up the ground as you work it in for your short-term gardening project. Make rows, hills or both with shallow furrows between them. As plant roots grow, you’ll use the furrows for watering. Fertile soil is important for veggies to properly reach stages of development within the fastest time span.
Quick to Grow Summer Crops
Growing a garden for tenants who are short-term will be more productive when you buy small plants or start them yourself from seeds indoors. What you plant depends on the season. In late winter or early spring, when temperatures are still cool, you can grow carrots (50 days to harvest), radishes (25 days), spinach (30 days), and a range of salad greens (21 to 35 days) and root veggies. Some greens prefer partially shaded areas. Check how long until harvest for each specimen before planting so you don’t overshoot your timeframe.
Harvest spinach and leaf lettuces when they reach an appropriate size. Harvest baby leaves from the outside, allowing inner leaves to continue growing, if desired. You can also grow these plants as microgreens, harvesting at between 10-25 days. While microgreens are expensive to buy, they’re simple to grow from seed and a short-term producer.
For flowers in the quick result garden, add cool season annuals in early spring, adding in warm-season varieties as temperatures warm. Most perennials take longer to bloom but return every year in those moveable pots.
Grow a garden quickly with warm season crops by growing tomato plants or start them from seed. Most tomatoes need the entire summer season to produce, but cherry tomatoes are ready for harvest in less than 60 days and grow well in containers too. Add summer squash and bush beans (60 days to harvest) for additional healthy and fast-growing crops.
If you have more time, add corn to the beans and squash for a compatible Three Sisters garden. Some types of corn mature in 60 days, while other types can take 3 months. Look for an early maturing type if time is limited.
Plant spinach again, in a lightly shaded area, for a summer harvest of the healthy greens.
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