Gardening whizz Huw Richards reveals his top picks for Isle of Wight growers who don’t want to wait too long for a harvest.

If you’re a beginner gardener, or just someone who doesn’t want to wait long to see the fruits of their labour, then growing quick-maturing crops is the answer.

Permaculturist, digital creator and author Huw Richards believes growing veg doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming – although he does have some reservations about people being impatient with their edibles.

“All the best tasting crops take a bit longer to grow than the fast crops. Peas, for instance, will take six to eight weeks longer than radish, but they taste four times as good,” says Huw.

Isle of Wight County Press: New potatoes dug out of the soil. New potatoes dug out of the soil. (Image: PA)

However, if you are a beginner and need some quick results to motivate you to continue, he recommends the following quick-maturing veg…

1. Pea shoots

“The gateway to gardening is growing pea shoots, because that takes you two weeks,” Richards says.

Start them off in a yogurt pot with holes in the bottom, resting on a saucer on a windowsill. Put 5cm of peat-free multi-purpose compost in the pot.

“You can get dried marrowfat peas from the supermarket and put them over the surface, 1cm between each pea, fill the pot with a couple more centimetres of compost.

"Keep it moist on a sunny windowsill and you will have a big harvest in a couple of weeks.

"Cut the shoots just above the lowest node because they can then give you two or three more crops or cuttings.”

2. New potatoes

Just buy a bag of seed potatoes, space them around 30cm apart and bury them 15cm deep in a large container filled with multi-purpose compost, or a soil and compost blend, in a bed from mid-March.

If you have a cold night, cover the ground with horticultural fleece or leaves to protect them from frost.

You should see some growth within three to four weeks, Richards reckons.

If you grow them in tubs they will require more water, but you should be harvesting them ten weeks after planting them out.

3. Nasturtiums

Don’t start them off until April because they are frost-sensitive.

“You can harvest the leaves after six weeks and after eight to ten weeks, you’ll get the flowers.

"Grow them from seed, one to two seeds in a 7cm pot, 2-3cm deep and start them off inside on a sunny windowsill,” Richards advises.

Once all chance of frost has gone, you can plant them outside into a container.

4. Leafy greens

“There are so many different types of lettuce and so many different colours, so just pick out the one that stands out the most to you.

"As long as you keep the slugs off, they are fool-proof, and they are not very hungry crops, either,” he says.

Sow them outside from mid April in sun or partial shade and, depending on the weather, they can start appearing in as quickly as five to seven days and be ready for harvesting in seven to eight weeks.

5. Mint

If you are growing edibles in a container, a mint plant is perfect as you can add the leaves to summer drinks and salads, and they are pretty tough specimens.

Either buy a plant from your local nursery or get a pot of mint from the supermarket and split it into smaller plants, or you can take cuttings and just propagate it in water, says Richards.

“It grows so quickly and you can keep it within a pot and harvest it within three to four weeks if it’s on a sunny windowsill.”

6. Radishes

Of course, these are among the fastest growing crops, ready for harvesting in four to five weeks, but Richards has found a variety called ‘Radish 18 Day’, which is supposedly the fastest maturing type.

While it is well-known that radishes become woody if left in the ground too long, Richards suggests leaving a few behind to let them flower. “You can eat the flowers and they will create these edibly-spicy seed pods.”

Isle of Wight County Press: A mint plant.A mint plant. (Image: PA)