The fast-growing cool season green called arugula or rocquette is a favorite among gourmet chefs and home gardeners. It’s a popular addition to mesclun mixes; its musky, peppery taste adds interest to salads and soups. Arugula is rich in vitamin C and potassium.
There’s wild arugula and garden arugula. Wild arugula has smaller leaves and a sharper taste. Garden varieties include Astro, which has a mild taste, and Rocket, which is more peppery.
Arugula Planting and Care
You can direct seed arugula in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked and continue sowing until mid-August. Well-drained soil rich in organic matter is ideal, but arugula will tolerate a range of soil conditions. You can sow seeds one-quarter inch deep and one inch apart in rows or you can broadcast arugula by itself or mixed with other greens.
Arugula is also good for intercropping between longer season plants. However you plant them make sure you thin the seedlings so they stand six inches apart.
By making successive sowings every two to three weeks until a month before the fall frost date you can have a continuous supply of arugula all summer. Partial shade will help keep summer plantings from bolting (going to seed). Spring sowings are the most tender; once arugula bolts it’s too bitter to eat. Keeping the soil evenly most will help prevent bolting.
Arugula might benefit from a little shade during the heat of summer.
Arugula Pests and Diseases
Flea beetles attack young members of the cabbage family, and arugula is no exception. If you wait a couple of weeks before you sow arugula you may miss the flea beetle season. Another way to keep flea beetles from eating holes in the young leaves is to cover the seedlings with row covers.
Keep an eye out for cabbageworms, and pick them off as soon as you see them.
Arugula is ready to harvest in 30-40 days. Cut off the tender outer leaves at the base of the plants, leaving the center to grow on for future harvesting. Larger leaves have a stronger taste, which some people prefer. But when the leaves get tough it’s time to add them to the compost pile.
Arugula makes a fine microgreen. All you need to do is harvest after the first set of true leaves appears. You can even harvest some as microgreens and let the rest grow on to maturity.
Want more information about Arugula?
Arugula is fast and fun to grow and great for spicing up simple salads. Find out more about this tasty green at these web sites:
Check out this Guide to growing arugula organically.
This website features everything you’ve ever wanted to know: All About Arugula.
Arugula has often been called A Promising Specialty Leaf Vegetable.