Fast (Fresh, Organic) Food
Here’s how to get quick, nutritious vegetables from your garden.
A reader and friend has pointed out that I seem to have an old-school view of the patience required to be a successful gardener. She’s suggested that your friendly, all-in-a-rush Planet Natural Blogger actually finds more timely gardening gratification with fast growing, quick-to-harvest greens that not only are ready in a short amount of time but also offer nutritional and flavor benefits that longer-grown vegetables don’t match.
That kind of growing for us anxious types is the subject of Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz’s The Speedy Vegetable Garden, a new book that shows the patience we’re always urging gardeners to display isn’t really necessary when it comes to some harvests.
We’ve mentioned Diacono and Leendertz’s book before in regard to growing microgreens and certainly used it as reference when talking about sprouts and edible flowers. But in a half-dozen chapters they also address quick cut-and-come-again salads as well as quick-harvest vegetables.
In a sense, they reject the old-fashioned formula that yours truly and other old gardening hands have of willful perseverance and seemingly endless seasons of growing. Relax! We don’t really need to wait all that long. Their philosophy is stated in the introduction:
The traditional perception of gardening is that it’s all about the long view. A gardener must be stoic and long-suffering: seed sown in spring will come to fruition in autumn. We sow, we tend, we wait, and if things go our way we finally harvest. But while it’s true that a great many delicious and worthwhile plants require such forbearance, there are also a large number that suit even the most impatient gardener. These are the crops that will be ready to eat in weeks, days, and even hours . . .
Not only do the methods they suggest yield fast harvests, they’re also suitable for indoor and off-season growing. When discussing vegetables, they point out that young veggies — carrots, summer squash and turnips among them — are often at their best when harvested early. They champion cherry tomatoes for their relatively quick yields when compared to full-sized tomatoes and smaller fruited cucumbers (like gherkins) for their unique, concentrated flavors.
The book scatters valuable growing tips throughout its reading and includes some tempting recipes as well. Cut-and-come-again salad greens get special attention and the information the book gives on this subject will be valuable to newcomers as well as long timers. The subjects here will be particularly useful to those who live in short-growing season areas. And the sections on sprouts and microgreens will suggest great, kid-friendly projects as well as keep your family in fresh, healthy growing things all year around. What are we waiting for?