Growing a productive garden takes time. Seeds need to be planted, germinate, established, the plants have to mature and produce fruit. In most parts of the world there is plenty of time for this. The garden is planted in spring, grows all summer long, and is harvested in the fall.
In short growing season areas you don’t have a spring, maybe not even a fall, so all you got is summer. Only 100 or less frost free days are challenging. It requires a very organized gardener and plant varieties that grow and produce quickly.
Today I want to share some of these annual vegetable varieties that are suited for short growing seasons. Most of them we have grown successfully in our garden. According to Environment Canada officially we have 107 frost free days. Here is a link for Canada and USA frost free dates to find out what your area has.
This list is not exhaustive, there are many more plant varieties that are suited for a short growing season. We have tried quite a few and if we were to list them all here it would make a very long list. Also, if some plants did not do well, they did not make it into this list. I will add and remove varieties as we experiment more with them. I want this list to be up-to-date, with plant varieties that are worth growing.
- Purple Peacock (60-70 days for snaps) Beautiful and delicious Pole Bean.
- Yellow Bean Roma Gold (55 Days) Reliable early bush bean.
- Beans Orient Wonder (70 Days) New to try.
- Pole Beans Scarlet Runner (65 Days) Beautiful as a flower and edible at any stage.
- Black Turtle dry Beans (85 Days) A dry bean that matures in our short season.
- Tiger’s Eye Bean (95 Days) Very yummy dry bean that does mature in our short season.
- Cylindra (50-70 Days) Our favourite.
- Bull’s Blood (58 Days) Pretty and edible leaves.
- Beet Chioggia (58 Days) New to try.
- Early Jersey Wakefield (63 Days) Early, start early too.
- Early Copenhagen Market (65 days) New to us.
- Red Jewel (80-90 Days) Great middle sized red cabbage.
- Early Snowball (50 Days) Early classic.
- Scarlet Nantes (65 Days) A must have favourite.
- Red Core Chantenay (65 Days) Huge, great for preserving.
- Fleet Bi-Colour (59 Days) Yes, it does produce corn even here, but it’s not as tasty as longer season corn.
- Straight 8 (60 Days) New to try.
- Patio Snacker (50-60 Days) Great for small space, a favourite.
- Cucumber Holland Greenhouse (64 Days) For indoor growing.
- Aunt Molly’s (70 days) Great producer and keeper.
- Eggplant Fairy Tale (49 Days) New to try.
- Blue Curled (65 Days) Great for kale chips.
- Lacinato (65 Days) Huge plant.
- Winter Red (50 Days) A favourite, we grow it indoors all winter.
- Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce (45 days) A classic.
- Red Sails (66 Days) Great looking and grows well.
- Tropicana (55 Days) A favourite.
- Butterhead Lettuce Esmeralda (53 Days) Grows well indoors.
- Early Jalapeno (70 days) Productive.
- Doe Hill (60-65) Very tasty and beautiful yellow tomato pepper.
- King of the North (70 Days) A pepper that actually matures in short season.
- Supper Chili (65 Days) Hot, productive.
- Orange Bell (85 Days) Tasty.
- Bright Lights (40 Days) Beautiful.
- Spaghetti Tivoli (74 Days) A small plant, very productive, early, tasty.
- Burgess Buttercup (85 Days) Great all around.
- We have grown many tomato varieties, you will find them all in an extra post: Tomato varieties we grow.
If you have short season vegetable favourites that we have not mentioned, feel free to add them in the comments!