Growing Arugula

Arugula

Arugula has been grown since the time of the ancient Romans and is still being used in Italian cuisine.

Arugula is an annual plant that is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

They are a fast-growing leafy green vegetable that is in the mustard family with a tart peppery flavor.

Because they prefer cooler temperatures they are best grown in the early spring and in the early fall.

They can also survive in the middle of summer if they are grown in containers so they can be moved out of the heat of the summer sun after receiving morning sun.

As the summer months start they will become spicier with the warmer temperatures.

Because of the bitter flavor of the leaves deer and rabbits will leave them alone.

When Arugula produces flowers the leaves of the plant will become too bitter to be eaten.

When this happens it is referred to as bolting, therefore when a plant bolts the seed should be harvested for the next growing season or be sown later in the season.

PLANTING ARUGULA

Arugula is best planted in hardiness zones 3 through 11 in well-drained soil with full sun and a soil pH range of 6.0 through 6.5.

They are best planted 12 to 18 inches apart and about one-quarter inch deep.

Arugula is not a heat tolerant plant, therefore it will need morning sun with afternoon shade to survive the mid-summer temperatures.

Growing them in containers is an option because they can be moved to a shaded area when the temperature becomes too much.

This is also a great option for anyone who has limited growing space in their garden.

FERTILIZING AND WATERING

Arugula is best fertilized every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a homemade liquid fertilizer.

They prefer consistently moist soil but not soaked and because they have shallow root systems, they don’t need to be water deep.

BLOOMS

Arugula is a short-lived plant that blooms 8 to 10 weeks after sprouting with blooms that appear on a tall flower spike with four white petals that include green and purple veins.

Their buds and blooms are edible and often add to a salad.

The term bolting is a term used when a plant goes to seed for the next season and arugula is known to bolt fast.

When the plant starts to bloom they are known for its flavor becoming stronger.

HARVESTING

Arugula is ready for harvesting about 40 days after the seeds have been sown into the soil.

For a continual harvest, seeds can be sown into the soil every 2 to 3 weeks until mid-summer.

The whole plant can be harvested or a few leaves per plant can be harvested to extend the amount that can be harvested.

PROPAGATING

Arugula is an annual plant, therefore propagating them through seed is the only way and some plants should be allowed to go to seed for the following season.

They are able to self-pollinate with some varieties being able to cross-pollinate with the help of pollinators and the wind.

The seed should be stored in a cool and dry area and they can be stored for about six years, therefore when storing them it is important to add the date.

PESTS

Romaine lettuce has few pests that feed on them but using natural methods such as attracting predators and using natural insecticides such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soap will keep your pest control organic.

  • Aphids
  • Flea Beetles
  • Thrips
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Leafminers
  • Whiteflies
  • Slugs

DISEASES

Arugula that is planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.

If this is the case then pruning and preventive measures may need to be taken.

  • Downy mildew
  • Damping off
  • Bacterial leaf spot

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT

Arugula is 92% water but they are packed with vital nutrients especially when consumed raw.

They are also packed with antioxidants that protect and reverse any cell damage.

VITAMINS

  • Vitamin A
  • Thiamine – Vitamin B1
  • Riboflavin – Vitamin B2
  • Niacin – Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate – Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

MINERALS

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

VARIETIES

Arugula is available with several deferring leaf structures ranging from oval-shaped leaves with no lobes to leaves with several deep lobes that look similar to oak leaves.

ASTRO ARUGULA

Astro Arugula has more of a mild taste compared to other varieties.

  • Plant size – grows to about 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide
  • Foliage – green oval-shaped leaves with a few lobes at the base of the leaf that are harvested when they are about 3 inches long
  • Days to germinate – 5 to 7 days
  • Days to harvest – baby greens in about 21 days and about 38 days for mature leaves

WILD ARUGULA

  • Plant size – grows to about 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide
  • Foliage – green oval-shaped leaves with several deep lobes that are harvested when they are about 6 inches long
  • Days to germinate – 5 to 7 days
  • Days to harvest – baby greens in about 21 days and about 40 days for mature leaves

RED DRAGON ARUGULA

Red dragon arugula is a smaller variety with a very peppery flavor.

  • Plant size – grows to about 6 inches tall
  • Foliage – green oval-shaped leaves with red veins and several deep lobes that look similar to oak leaves that are harvested when they are about 6 inches long
  • Days to germinate – 10 to 12 days
  • Days to harvest – baby greens in about 21 days and about 45 days for mature leaves

WASABI ARUGULA

  • Plant size – grows to about 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide
  • Foliage – green oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges that are harvested when they are about 5 inches long
  • Days to germinate – 10 to 12 days
  • Days to harvest – baby greens in about 21 days and about 45 days for mature leaves

SLOW BOLT ARUGULA

  • Plant size – grows to about 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide
  • Foliage – green oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges that are harvested when they are about 3 inches long
  • Days to germinate – 5 – 7 days
  • Days to harvest – baby greens in about 25 days and about 45 days for mature leaves