Spice up your salad mix with arugula! Also known as roquette or rucola, arugula's tender young leaves have a robust, peppery flavour. Most often eaten raw in salads but also steamed or added raw to many other dishes such as pizza. A good container variety!
How to Sow
- For optimum flavor, grow in cool weather.
- Sow in average soil in a sunny to partially shady area as soon as the ground can be worked.
- In rows 15 inches apart, sow seeds evenly and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil. Firm and water gently.
- Seedings emerge in 7-14 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
- Arugula also grows well in containers. Use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.
- Thin gradually to stand 6 inches apart starting when seedings are about 3 inches high.
- Sow again in late summer in a protected area when the temperature is below 75°F.
How to Grow
- Protect spring plantings with floating row covers to keep flea beetles away.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that depvers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the fopage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvest and preserving Tips
- Tender young leaves have a robust flavor, they should be ready to use about 30-35 days after sowing.
- To harvest, pick off the outside leaves at the base of the plant. Leave center intact for future harvesting. Younger leaves, 2-3 inches long, taste best.
- You can also harvest whole plants by cutting off just below the crown.
- Stop picking once plants flower as the leaves will become bitter-tasting. Flowers are also edible.
- Wrap the leaves in a clean, wet tea towel, or damp paper towel and place in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate.
- Arugula is best when consumed within a 3-6 days of harvest if possible.