Growing arugula in your garden
- Succession planting helps ensure a fresh supply of arugula all summer long
- Adaptable to full sun or partial shade
- Flavor gets stronger as the leaves are harvested
- Good for microgreens and container gardens
all about arugula
Grown and enjoyed since the ancient Roman times, arugula was originally used as a medicinal herb and even as an aphrodisiac. These days, arugula is widely known as a delicious cruciferous vegetable with a spicy, tangy flavor that is delicious on its own, or as an ingredient in a multitude of recipes- especially in italian cuisine. Arugula is a member of the cabbage and mustard family, which helps explain its peppery flavor. The leaves have a deep green color and are identifiable by the notches that run up and down their sides. These tender, bite-sized leaves are not only tasty, but filled with high levels of beneficial nitrates, polyphenols, calcium, and vitamin K-just to name a few. If you look up the health benefits of arugula, they almost seem to be endless. However, the taste alone is enough to sell most people on arugula. Try sauteeing it with some garlic and olive oil, or eating it as a salad with a lemony vinaigrette.
growing fresh arugula in your garden
To grow arugula in your garden, wait until early spring when soil temperatures are between 40°F and 65°F. Arugula can withstand most soil conditions and even some partial shade. However, for higher chance of success, select a growing location with full sun and nutrient-rich soil. If you have nitrogen-poor soil, you can amend it with fertilizer or compost. Plant your seeds and cover them lightly with soil, then give them a watering. Generally, arugula will germinate within about seven days. Once the seedlings are around one inch tall, thin them out so there is only about three or four inches of space between each young plant. On average, arugula takes around 40 days to become fully mature enough to harvest. Arugula seeds grow best in cool weather and can be harvested after just a few weeks of growth as a baby green, or mature at five to six weeks. Younger leaves will of course be tender and milder while older leaves may be slightly bitter. Succession plantings ensure a supply of fresh arugula leaves all summer long. When ready to harvest, simply pinch off the outer leaves of the arugula. By only picking the outer leaves, you will allow the plant to stay intact, thus keeping it producing more leaves to harvest. The more you harvest, the more the plant will yield!
For more information about planting, growing, and caring for arugula seeds, please see the Arugula Seeds Planting Guide.