I love an arugula salad sprinkled with some walnut pieces and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The only thing that makes that salad any better is growing the arugula at home. If you are not growing arugula, but like fresh leafy greens, what have you been waiting for? Arugula is super simple to grow, and one pack of arugula seeds will grow you a boatload of this peppery flavored leafy green vegetable.
Arugula does grow best in cooler climates, so the best time to plant arugula in your area is when temps do not exceed 65 degrees for any lengthy period of time. As a side note, arugula grows great indoors in a pot on a window sill.
Because arugula grows well indoors, you can start it early while the weather outside may be too cold or snowy and then transplant your arugula outdoors. Try not to sow your arugula seeds deeper than a quarter of an inch (six millimeters). Arugula seeds are fairly small and may not be able to generate enough energy to push through the topsoil if it is buried too deep.
As soon as you can work your soil, and fear of frost has passed, you can transplant your arugula to its final growing spot. The soil’s pH level should be 6.0 to 7.0, and the area should receive no less than 4 hours of sunlight daily.
Space out your arugula plants at least six inches (fifteen centimeters). You really do not need any more space than that. Your arugula will fill it in nicely.
Another great selling point of growing arugula is the fact that it requires very little nutrients to grow. So simply give your arugula a watering with some manure or compost tea every couple of weeks or so. Your arugula will get everything it needs from the soil, given you have been maintaining your soil properly with good composting methods.
If you want to know where arugula fits in with a crop rotation plan, I have read that arugula should avoid following plants of the cabbage family, although I have not verified that information with any other sources, so take it with a grain of salt.
When your arugula leaves are two to three inches, they are ready to harvest. Simply snip off the arugula leaves and allow your plants to continue to grow. Arugula tastes best when consumed fresh within an hour of harvesting (that is my opinion, not a scientific fact).
When it gets too hot, your arugula plants will bolt, producing flowers. At that point the arugula leaves will be too bitter to eat (again, my opinion), but I have read that arugula flowers are edible, although I have not tried arugula flowers myself.
Some great arugula varieties to try are Astro, Rocket and Italian Wild.