Here’s a selection to try:
Lettuce: the fancy-leaf types such as oakleaf and coral are speedy growers, with leaves ready to pick after about 3–4 weeks.
English spinach: a fast leafy grower, it’s ready to harvest in as little as 5–6 weeks.
Rocket: as quick as its name, rocket will give you leaves to pick in about 3 weeks (faster if you liquid feed it!)
Baby beets: these smaller-sized versions are ready to eat from about 6 weeks after planting seedlings.
Cherry tomatoes: the fastest to fruit of all tomatoes, these types will have fruit ready to pick after 2–3 months (large-fruited tomatoes can take up to 5 months). Buy advanced tomato plants for even faster results.
Radishes: select smaller types for a crop after about 4 weeks.
Herbs: perfect companions for your patch, herbs can be bought mature enough to harvest straight away! Alternatively, buy smaller pots, plant and liquid feed them, and you’ll be snipping away in a couple of weeks.
Note Maturation times are based on planting seedlings. For seeds, add 2–3 weeks.
Doing it in pots
As garden sizes decline, using containers is becoming popular and the range of compact vegies is expanding. Choose containers with a depth and width of about 30–40cm, filled with good-quality potting mix for herbs and vegies. These usually contain a slow-release fertiliser, but if not, add it and mix through. Place containers in an open sunny spot and feed with liquid fertiliser. The best varieties to grow include cherry tomatoes, salad greens, silverbeet, chilies and capsicums, snow peas, and baby root vegetables like carrot and beets.