Arugula is an amazing source of vitamins A, C and K. Over the years, these peppery, sour-tasting leaves have become a characteristic part of Italian cuisine. In a salad, light green arugula leaves are a perfect addition for an additional taste. And if you grow arugula at home, you have a constant supply!
Historians believe that arugula was once referred to as "oroth", a green leaf referred to in the Bible's Old Testament. In fact, this beautiful plant was cultivated throughout the Mediterranean area during Roman times.
Also popular in Great Britain in the Middle Ages, it was then called a rocket or garden rocket. The French called it Roquette, which may have inspired the name rocket.
It is a fascinating plant and we believe you will love growing and eating these greens!
Good products for growing arugula:
Brief instructions on care
Rucola is surprisingly easy to grow in the cool months of the year. Source: JasonUnbound
|Common Name (s)||Garden rocket, rocket salad, rugula, colewort, rocket, roquette|
|Scientific name||Eruca vesicaria or Eruca sativa|
|Days to harvest||40-60 days|
|light||Full sun to partial shade|
|Water:||Even, even moisture|
|ground||Soil rich in humus and well drained|
|fertilizer||Once or twice per growing season|
|Pests||Flea beetles and aphids|
|Diseases||Downy mildew, bacterial leaf spot, weakening|
All about arugula
Eruca vesicaria is the botanical name for arugula. At one point it was also called Eruca sativa. In fact, there are almost 40 different botanical names that have been used to refer to over time. However, if this seems confusing, you can also call it a garden rocket, roquette, colewort, rugula, arugula, or just arugula.
Its origins are in the Mediterranean region and extend from Turkey, Syria and Lebanon on the eastern edge to Portugal and Morocco. As a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants, it shares its genetics with other cruciferous plants, ranging from kale to cabbage, mustard to broccoli. These lettuce greens are more oriented towards the mustard side of the family and exploded on the international market.
This leafy yearbook often stays about one foot to two feet tall, although it can be between 8 and almost 40 inches high. The leaves are pinnate and often 2 to 3 inches long and attached to slender stems. They are often described as a longer, narrower leaf of lettuce. Rocket produces inflorescences of white flowers with purple veins. When the flowers sow, they form long, dense seed pods.
Both the leaves and the flowers are eaten. The seeds can also be eaten, but are often pressed to produce taramira oil instead.
Some sources claim that arugula was called an aphrodisiac by the Romans. It is rumored that this claim was banned in monastery gardens. Salad, however, was supposed to calm the passions, and so arugula was often mixed into mixed salads so that he could not ignite anyone too much!
Aphrodisiac or not, this vitamin-rich green is certainly a popular component of Italian cuisine and is also very popular worldwide.
Baby rockets can be harvested at a very young age or grow to maturity. Source: bmevans80
There is no question that you want to give your rocket a good start. How it grows follows below!
When to plant
For most growers, two seasons are ideal for growing arugula. Plant arugula seeds as soon as the soil is ready for early harvest in spring. If it dies again in summer, wait for the weather to cool down and replant it in autumn for a second crop. As soon as the ground freezes, it dies again. So harvest before freezing.
If you want a continuous harvest, sow seeds every 2-3 weeks throughout the season to get an endless supply of fresh leaves.
Where to plant
You need an area of the yard that is protected from extreme heat or cold, but at least partially gets sun. This plant forgives some shady conditions as long as there is bright ambient light but does not perform well in scorching heat. Choose your location accordingly.
Container growing is also an option. If you grow it in containers, you can move your plant to optimize its placement depending on your local weather conditions. It grows well indoors and outdoors as long as it has enough bright light.
How to plant
Sow seeds about ¼ "deep and about an inch apart. If you are planting multiple rows, place the rows at least 10 inches apart to ensure good outward development and sufficient space for healthy root development.
Once germination has taken place, thin out the seedlings. Keep arugula plants 4 inches apart when growing for young leaves, 6 inches when going for ripe leaves or seeds.
It is possible to send out arugula with or without other greens to create a thick and lush bed from which to harvest. This technique is best suited for leaf lettuce, mustard, or other related plants. Harvest regularly on these beds to allow more plant development.
Starting seeds in advance and transplanting young plants is not impossible, but it can be difficult. It is easier to sow where you want your arugula to grow.
A raised bed provides an excellent location for growing arugula. Source: Faeanna
Now that you know how to plant arugula, under what conditions do you need to grow arugula in your garden to get the best spring or autumn harvest? Let us discuss what your plants need.
Sun and temperature
Full sun to partial shade is best when growing arugula. Six to seven hours of sunlight a day are required for them to grow. You can accept indirect but bright lighting instead of direct full sun, making it an excellent choice for some of your partially shaded garden areas.
Arugula greens are a cool weather plant and develop best at temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as the weather in the garden reaches the 80s or higher, it will often start to produce flowers and seeds. As soon as it produces seeds, the plant dies.
Arugula tolerates mild frosts, but can be damaged and die under real freezing conditions. If you are in a mild climate, you may be able to grow it all winter to ensure constant supply.
Water & moisture
Even moisture is best to grow arugula. Water the plants in the morning as the leaf surfaces have enough time to dry out in the sun. Mulching the garden can also help maintain soil moisture and reduce the frequency of watering. A drip irrigation system or suction hose under the mulch can make watering easier.
Your arugula grows well in tower gardens, containers or directly in beds. Source: Bekathwia
Humus-rich, well-drained soil is what your plants prefer. However, they are tolerant of a variety of garden soil types as long as they retain moisture.
If you have sandy soil, change it heavily with compost and horse manure or cow manure to ensure additional moisture retention. Worm castings can also be used for additional moisture storage.
Hard-packed clay should also be crushed with a lot of compost or manure. This reduces the likelihood of it becoming difficult and prevents easy root development.
The pH for your rocket should be neutral and consider a range of 6.0 to 7.0 ideal. They also tolerate a slight acidity to a slight alkalinity.
Provide your arugula plants with a balanced fertilizer to ensure that they have what they need to develop healthy young leaves. A dry granule formula can be used once or twice during the growing season (whether spring or autumn). Alternatively, use diluted liquid fertilizer at the base of the plant as needed to keep the green healthy.
Arugula does not need to be pruned as you harvest it regularly to eat it! However, if you have too much to eat, cut off the yellowed leaf material. Make sure your older plants are at least a few inches apart between them to allow good airflow around them. If they are grouped too closely together, various problems with plant diseases can occur.
At the end of the growing season, your plants die either due to heat in summer or due to freezing conditions in winter. At this point, remove the plants and prepare the bed for another harvest or cover until it is time to replant.
Arugula seeds from unreliable sources can carry some fungal diseases. Be sure to buy seeds from reliable sources or sources treated with fungicides. This prevents these fungal problems from spreading to your floor.
Since this is a plant that normally only thrives in a mild climate, it is best to start with seeds. While it is theoretically possible to grow arugula only from the base and roots of the plant, the arugula is stressed by the loss of its leaves and often flashes to bloom. Instead of taking cuttings, plant seeds 1-2 inches apart.
Harvest and store
Arugula is popular in salads and has a slightly peppery, spicy taste. Source: Avrene
Now you have an abundance of healthy young leaves. How do you harvest these arugula leaves and keep them fresh? Let's discuss that!
Regardless of whether you are aiming for a spring or autumn harvest, use the same methods for harvesting. Try to harvest a third of each plant or less if you want to use a cut-and-come-again method to increase the productivity of that plant over a long period of time. A younger and smaller leaf is softer and more delicate than the older ones.
You can harvest arugula when it is very young for baby greens, and they are a great addition to any salad. As the leaves get older, their taste becomes more pronounced and is reminiscent of mustard green with a slightly peppery bite.
If your plant has bloomed, the leaves of the plant tend to be much bitter. They may be hard too, but they are still edible if you want to get a final meal from the plant.
Would you like to harvest arugula seeds? Wait until the plant blooms and forms seed pods. Once these dry out, cut off the pods and keep them in a place where they can dry out completely before opening them to save the seeds.
Rinse your fresh crop to ensure there are no garden pests or dirt on it, and pat dry all leaf surfaces with a paper towel. Then use a long strip of paper towel, place your sheets on top and gradually roll them up into a neat bundle, with all sheets surrounded by a towel. Moisture is the enemy when storing greens and this reduces the likelihood of condensation.
Place your rolled up arugula in a storage bag or container in the sharper drawer of the refrigerator. Unfortunately, there are no practical ways to store these greens long-term so that they do not become unappetizing or lose their taste. So stay fresh.
Arugula flowers look a bit like wildflowers. Source: Tracy27
As with all lettuce greens, you are likely to find pests trying to snack on them or disease problems that appear on leaf surfaces. Let's talk about possible problems!
Most non-pest or disease-related problems with arugula are weather-related. It is a cold weather crop and as soon as the temperature rises it will be lock and go to the seed very fast. To get an early harvest, sow your seeds very early in the spring. It will take 40-60 days to fully mature, but you can start harvesting earlier.
The worst rocket pest for many is Flea beetle. These hungry little pests chew holes in the leaves. Their larvae live in the soil and gnaw on roots. It is essential to prevent them from getting stuck in your garden. Neem oil and pyrethrin sprays are effective organic treatments for flea beetles, although pyrethrin appears to be more effective in killing them.
Aphids are the other main problem you will encounter. The cabbage aphid, green peach aphid and potato aphid are all attracted to your growing rocket plants. These garden pests spread diseases and suck the moisture out of the plants. Neem oil, pyrethrin or insecticidal soap are effective control methods.
One of the most common diseases in arugula is Wrong mildew. This leads to yellowish spots on the upper surfaces of the leaf with a gray powdery mildew or a mold-like substance underneath. It is easy to treat with organic liquid copper fungicide. You can prevent the development of downy mildew by regularly using neem oil.
If the temperature is warm and there is a lot of humidity, there is a risk that plants will develop bacterial leaf spot. Usually a Pseudomonas species, this bacterium has no organic cure available. If it is determined that infected leaves are being removed, spray the rest of the plant weekly with a liquid copper fungicide to ensure that no remaining spores can spread.
Finally, Attenuation caused by pythium fungi in the soil can be a real problem for very young rocket plants. If possible, plant in sterile soil so that you do not run the risk of planting in contaminated soil. If you grow arugula in an older bed, pretreat the seeds and planting area with useful mycorrhizas like MycoStop to reduce the likelihood of a Pythium attack. Remove plants that show signs of damping. Avoid growing arugula leaves in areas where this has previously been done.
frequently asked Questions
Q: How long does it take for rocket to grow?
A: After germination, arugula growth can take between 45 and 60 days.
Q: Does rocket grow back after cutting?
A: Yes, it can. However, there must be a few leaves left to be able to grow back. If you want to harvest continuously from a single plant, take ⅓ or less of the plant at the same time. Plants that have had all of their leaves removed can immediately try to start producing seeds instead of replenishing their leafy greens.
Q: Can you eat arugula after it blooms?
A: Arugula leaves tend to become bitter and somewhat tough once the plant has flowered. For the best taste and texture, harvest from plants that have not yet flowered. They are still edible after flowering, just not so cheap!
The green thumbs behind this article: