If you’ve not yet fallen in love with the peppery deliciousness of this member of the Brassicaceae family , it’s probably because you just haven’t tasted the right variety.I first met arugula, Eruca sativa, when I made a spring panzanella salad several years ago.I’ve rounded up a list of nine deliciously zippy varieties for you to consider growing in your veggie patch.For those of you who like arugula but not so much the spicy kick of some varieties, the ‘Astro’ cultivar’s mild, yet peppery flavor might be a perfect match.Harvest baby greens in just three weeks, or wait the full 38 days for even milder mature leaves.With a spicy flavor and frilly leaf edges reminiscent of kale, ‘Garden Tangy’ adds a kick to pasta dishes, salads, and more.It’s also convenient for those who struggle with patience, because each leaf provides lots of edible greenery compared to other, skinnier varieties.And this is also helpful for those who grow greens indoors over the winter and gardeners who have limited space.Back in my yard in Oklahoma, I had a big, beautiful oak tree that dropped gorgeous leaves and tiny acorns all over the front lawn every fall.Except for the fact that my oak tree’s leaves didn’t feature a red vein branching through the center.I used ‘Rocket’ in that fateful spring panzanella salad that led me to be enamored with arugula forevermore.If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 and up, you might benefit from the heat-tolerant qualities of ‘Selvatica.’ This cultivar resembles the wild, plucky weed from whence all modern cultivated types of arugula came.Hot weather can cause arugula to grow more quickly and bolt, which means it can begin to flower and go to seed almost faster than you can harvest it.That’s why heirloom ‘Slow Bolt’ is another winner for gardeners living in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 and up.The larger mature leaves can be used not only raw in salads and sandwiches, but can be added to soups and stews for a mildly peppery kick as well.You can find seeds in a variety of packet sizes at True Leaf Market.As its name suggests, the extra-spicy ‘Wasabi’ cultivar goes perfectly with sushi or in Asian-inspired spicy ground beef lettuce wraps, a recipe I simply love, which you can find on our sister site, Foodal.For a slim, almost weedy-looking plant that packs a bold flavor, try ‘Wild Rocket.’ This perennial cultivar even grows like a weed, reaching skyscraper-esque heights of 20 inches at maturity. .
Growing Arugula: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Arugula
The seeds will germinate quickly in cool soil and seedlings are capable of tolerating a light frost, but consider protecting plants with cloches or row covers nonetheless! .
How to Plant and Grow Arugula: Add "Rocket" Greens to Your Garden
Referred to by many names including rocket, rucola, roquette, rucoli, and rugula, arugula is an incredibly fast-growing cool season crop that adds a fresh spicy kick to salads and sandwiches.Though fluctuating in popularity over the centuries, arugula has been a part of the human diet for a very long time.The plant is native to the Mediterranean and has long been enjoyed around the region in Italy, Morocco, Turkey, and Portugal.In ancient times its leaves and seed oil were considered an aphrodisiac by the Egyptians and Romans, and is still used medicinally in India, Pakistan, and West Asia.Though originally brought to North America by British colonists, it really wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that it has gone from a relatively rare ingredient to modern culinary sensation.Arugula prefers nutrient rich soil but is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions.Don’t forget to thin plants as they are growing to avoid overcrowding and reduce risk of disease.Because it has shallow roots and doesn’t take up much space, it can be seeded around many slower growing crops to fill in the gaps.This can also be handy in the heat of summer, because larger crops will provide some shady relief to this cool weather lover.Wild arugula, a close relative of the cultivated variety, is less bitter and more heat tolerant.It does grow a bit slower, maturing in about 5 weeks, so keep that in mind if timing seedings for a continual harvest.These common garden pests can overwinter in soil and emerge to chew holes in young leaves, sometimes causing total destruction of plants.There are a few ways to control flea beetle populations, such as using floating row covers, companion planting with marigolds, or by sprinkling naturally occurring diatomaceous earth.These little green caterpillars chew their way through leaves, growing larger and more damaging the longer they feed.Fungi and bacterium love veggies and these two arre fairly prevalent in attacking leafy greens:.Yellowing leaves or small wet brown spots on foliage can be a sign of this bacterial infection.Store leaves wrapped in cloth or paper towel in a perforated plastic bag, and place in the crisper drawer.Plant Type: Self seeding annual Tolerance: Various soil types Native to: Mediterranean, naturalized worldwide Growth Rate: Fastest in cool weather Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-11 Maintenance: Low Season: Spring and fall Soil Type: All Exposure: Full sun to part shade Soil pH: 6.0-7.0 Time to Maturity: 40 days Soil Drainage: Well-draining Spacing: 3-4 inches Companion Planting: Bush beans, carrots, onions, potatoes, spinach, other salad greens Planting Depth: 1/4 inch Avoid Planting With: Other plants in the Brassicaceae family to avoid sharing pests and diseases Height: 6-12 inches Family: Brassicaceae Spread: 12-18 inches Genus: Eruca Water Needs: Keep soil consistently moist Species: vesicaria Common Pests: Flea beetles, cabbage loopers, root nematodes, slugs, birds Common Disease: Downy mildew, leaf blight.Arugula is a perfect addition to any dish that could benefit from added freshness and a hint of spiciness.Wonderful in salads and sandwiches, these flavorful greens are also amazing in stir fries, soups, and egg dishes such as quiche.The chocolate balsamic dressing finishes it off creating a light salad that is the perfect combo of fruity, sweet, and savory flavors.Chanterelle mushrooms and potatoes provide some heft and the arugula pesto added on top brings in a spicy, fresh flavoring.Vegans and carnivores will both love this tasty dish during the cooler months of fall and early spring.If you are anything like me, just scrolling down this page will make your mouth water for a big zesty bowl of fresh rocket. .
Tips for Growing Arugula Plants
sativa Common Name Arugula, rocket, roquette Plant Type Annual vegetable Mature Size 12 in.spread Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Humus-rich, well-draining Soil pH Sightly acidic to neutral (6.0 to 7.0) Hardiness Zone Annual plant; grown in zones 3 to 11 Native Area Mediterranean region.Arugula is a fast-growing green that is perfect for the early spring garden, but it can also be planted in the late summer for a fall harvest.Succession plant a new batch every couple of weeks, to prolong your harvest and take advantage of its short season.Arugula likes cool weather—45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal—but it can be damaged or stressed by frost or snow.Keep the row covers handy and protect your plants if extreme cold weather is predicted.Arugula grows so fast that a single application of a high-nitrogen fertilizer or rich compost mixed into the soil at planting time is usually all that is needed.Additional feeding is required only if the leaves are light green and clearly undernourished, as sometimes happens in very poor soil.Once the plants bolt by sending up flower stalks, the leaves tend to turn bitter.But don't be too quick to yank out the plants; the flowers pack a lot of flavor without the heat of the leaves.Older leaves are also great when eaten fresh, and they make nice additions to stir-fries, egg dishes, or soups.The fragile flowers can be tossed on top of salads or soups, sprinkled on sandwiches— and even added to drinks.Luckily it has a short growing season, and it is out of the garden by the time most insects start arriving. .
How to Grow Arugula Indoors
The Romans grew arugula as an edible herb and ate it for good luck.Arugula’s spicy aroma and flavor make it naturally resistant to pests.A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].If the soil dries out completely the roots will die back and it will be tough for the plant to recover.To set one up: Fill up the planter with dry soil from the bag, gently tamping down the top.Dump the soil into a large mixing bowl and add water until the soil is moist, but not sopping wet (about ½ Cup) Mix in 1 tablespoon of the Balanced Blend Plant Food.If you are using a regular pot instead, it should be a little bit bigger (at least 6″ / 1 quart and will need drainage holes to prevent it from being over watered.Starting your Arugula: Seed vs Propagate vs Live New Arugula plants can be started from seed (preferred), propagated from an established plant, or purchased live at many garden centers.We like starting from seed the best because it’s quicker than propagating from a cutting, less expensive than using live starters, has tons of options, and there’s no way unexpected visitors (pests!).Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling.We’ve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, we’ll just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle of the road option.Arugula plants need the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day] to grow their best.In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright!When they sense over 12 hours of light per day, they’ll start the end of their lifecycle and work on making seeds.Where you plant them can have some effect on the temperature – lower positions on a growing rack, ceramic planters, and hydroponics with air bubblers tend to run cooler. .
How to Grow Arugula
Common Name Arugula, rocket, garden rocket Botanical Name Eruca versicaria Family Brassicaceae Plant Type Annual, vegetable Size 2–3 ft. tall, 1–1.5 ft. wide Sun Exposure Full sun Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained Soil pH Acidic, neutral (6 to 7) Bloom Time Seasonal Hardiness Zones 2–11 (USDA) Native Area Mediterranean.For a continual harvest, sow more seeds every two to three weeks until the weather heats up in the summer or frost hits in the fall.Arugula grows best in full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days.This will help to prevent the plants from wilting and bolting (flowering and going to seed), extending your harvest for as long as possible.Like many vegetables, arugula needs regular watering for healthy growth and optimal flavor.If you fail to water regularly, you'll likely cause the plants to bolt and ruin the flavor of the leaves.You can extend arugula's growing season somewhat by protecting it from cold with row covers and from heat with shading.This wild variety has flat, narrow leaves with spicy yet not overpowering flavor.This wild variety has flat, narrow leaves with spicy yet not overpowering flavor.Arugula and spinach are commonly combined in salads, and interestingly they’re often substituted for one another in recipes even though they have quite different flavors and textures.Your arugula should be fully grown and ready to harvest in about four to seven weeks, depending on the variety.Alternatively, you can cut off all the leaves just above the soil; the plant might regrow if the weather is still mild.If you wait too long to harvest and the plant bolts, eat the flowers but not the leaves.The blooms appear after the leaves have grown to full size and are too bitter to eat.Also, as the weather warms, containers make it easy to move the plants out of direct sun in the heat of the day, thereby extending the growing season.Unglazed clay is a good material to allow excess soil moisture to evaporate through its walls.But if you notice any broken or diseased leaves, remove them as soon as possible to help prevent problems from spreading.Allow your arugula plants to flower, and wait for the seed heads to turn brown and become brittle.The seeds can germinate even when the soil temperature is as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.Moreover, the short, early growing season of arugula means you'll miss most pest infestations in the spring but perhaps not if you plant again in late summer.Arugula plants are favored by slugs as well as cabbage loopers, flea beetles, aphids, and diamondback moths.Stop slugs from reaching the tender leaves with beer traps, diatomaceous earth, or another traditional method.Arugula is an easy plant to grow and care for, as long as it receives mild temperatures, sufficient sunlight, and consistent moisture.It takes between four and seven weeks on average for arugula seeds to grow and be ready to harvest.Arugula is an annual plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in one season.
5 Best Heat Tolerant Arugula Varieties
Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a cool weather leafy green vegetable that has been grown for its mustard-like peppery kick since the Romans.Arugula will quickly bolt in hot weather, which causes it to produce a flower stalk.Very similar to Astro, the main differences are slightly better heat resistance and a spicier, more peppery taste.A wild cousin of standard salad arugula that bolts slowly and still tastes great when it does.Wild arugula tends to have smaller, serrated leaves, and its flowers are yellow (like mustard) instead of white.However, even after bolting, wild arugula leaves don’t turn bitter, but will get spicier.In the garden, wild arugula grows like a weedy rosette, then after bolting it produces long branches with loads of thin leaves.Bellezia is a wild-type heirloom cultivar selected for market growers, so it has a excellent uniformity while still preserving its heat tolerance and is very slow to bolt.Another benefit of growing Bellezia is it has a milder, almost nutty taste, with classic peppery arugula notes in the background.A wild-type cultivar whose distinctive flavor, leaf shapes, and time to maturity give the best of both worlds.Flavor-wise, Wildfire has that same peppery kick but is balanced with a slight sweetness when you first bite into it, making it a really unique addition to the salad garden.The flavor can vary from mild to quite spicy, but are generally milder than wild arugula varieties.After bolting, the leaves get spicier, much more bitter, and will grow hairs along the stem and petioles.Wild arugula has excellent heat tolerance and puts out yellow flowers, which are also edible.Wild arugula has much better heat tolerance overall and still tastes good (but spicier) after bolting.However, heat tolerant cultivars will buy you more time to get more harvests before the leaves turn too bitter.Just as with other cool weather leafy greens, there are ways to extend your arugula growing season into summer.Another option is to plant arugula in containers, which will allow you to move it to shadier places during really hot, summer days.Lastly, as an option for those who live consistently hot southern climates, you can use shade cloth to cover your arugula.Shade cloth blocks a certain percentage of sunlight (30-50% is recommended) which will keep your arugula cool and delay bolting. .
Plants grow best when they have plenty of moisture and can mature in cool weather.If temperatures turn too hot, arugula can bolt or go to seed prematurely. .