For many gardeners, waiting for seeds to germinate and plants to grow is part of this hobby’s reward. For many others, however, it can be maddening, particularly if you are gardening with kids. Distract impatient growers with fast plants while they wait for the remainder of the garden to catch up.
Many flowering plants sprout and grow quickly, and they provide the extra benefit of splashes of color for your lawn. Sweet alyssum, celosia, cornflower or educator button, marigold and cosmos sprout within five to seven days. Zinnias, sunflowers and morning glories bring even more shade and quick increase, while rapid nasturtiums multitask as garden beauties which you can add to salads or as dinner-plate garnishes.
Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis) will increase your garden every year, while black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) are biennial or perennial crops, depending on the varieties you select. These flowery plants will germinate in five to 10 days and grow quickly after sprouting. Other perennial choices include blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis), blanket flower (Gaillardia x gradiflora), rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) and gaura (Gaura lindheimeri). All of these perennials are hardy in United States Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, while many thrive through zone 10.
Not only do lots of herbs germinate and grow quickly, they add fragrance to the garden and flavor to your menu. Consider basil, which sprouts in about four days, or chives, cilantro and dill, which make their appearance seven to 14 days after planting. Mint grows quickly, also, but you will most likely want to plant it in containers to keep it from invading other areas. Garden cress adds a sharp aroma and a peppery flavor to dishes.
Several vegetables grow very fast, including most types of lettuce and radishes. Cucumbers germinate within seven to 10 days, also, and mustard greens, spinach, scallions and turnips maintain their own in the race. Blue Lake and Pencil Wax bean varieties are particularly appropriate for fast gardening, and cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon, using their four- to six-day germination period make excellent garden proportions.
Noted in Thomas Jefferson’s garden diary as early as 1812, hyacinth bean vines can grow 6 to 20 inches in one season, twining through the garden, their maroon seedpods and purple flowers bringing tropical drama to the landscape. Grasses, particularly wheat grass and rye, also grow quickly. Add a little fun by expanding grass in a hollowed potato decorated using artwork wiggle eyes, in order that it appears to grow hair.