We call it arugula here in North America. However; arugula is known elsewhere as roquette, rucola, and colewort. Eruca sativa is a short leafy green that grows about 12-24 inches tall and is packed with a powerful punch of spicy flavor and is easily recognizable in salad mixes by its deep and pinnately lobed leaves. The flowers of the arugula plant resemble its kin the brassica family, producing bunches of small creamy white-yellow flowers. Fruits of these flowers contain the seed that can be saved for future sowing.
The leaves can be harvested when young for a mild flavor or when fully mature at 3 or 4 inches in length for maximum mustardy tones. However, those leaves allowed to mature too long on the arugula plant will become bitter in taste. Arugula offers an herbaceous, peppery flavor with a mustardy tang and nutty finish.
The Roquette Arugula variety is the standard type most commonly grown in home gardens. The leaves are smooth, a pale green, tender and wider than other varieties. Arugula greens add a spicy kick to your garden-fresh salads and sprouting mixes.
- BOTANICAL NAME: Eruca sativa 'Roquette'
- PLANT TYPE: Vegetable
- GROWTH CYCLE: Annual
- SEASON: Spring Summer Fall Winter
- USDA ZONE: 4a-9b
- LIGHT: Full Sun / Partial Shade
- SOIL TYPE: Clay, Loamy Sandy
- YIELD: 0.5 lbs. per plant
- SQUARE FOOT GARDEN: 16 plant per square foot
- Germination Soil Temperature: 40-75°F
- GERMINATION: 5-7 days
- MATURITY: 35-40 days from first planting
- HARVEST: As soon as 21 days
- SEED DEPTH: 1/8-1/4″
- PLANT SPACING: 1-6″
- ROW SPACING: 6-12″
- SOW INDOORS: Start your seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost.
- SOW OUTDOORS: 1–2 weeks before last frost or as soon as soil can be worked. Continue to sow seeds every two to three weeks after your first planting to enjoy fresh arugula all season long.
This leafy green is a cold weather crop that will bolt if exposed to extreme heat, so be sure to provide some shade cover if planting in temperatures that consistently surpass 75–80°F. In most climate zones, arugula performs best when planted in the early spring or late summer just before temperatures begin to drop.
Full sun or partial shade
Arugula is not picky and will tolerate a variety of soil conditions; however, make sure to provide good drainage. A pH between 6.0 and 6.8 is ideal.
Water: Requires moderate levels of water. Keeping soil moist but not soggy will help keep your plants from bolting. Avoid wetting the leaves to reduce opportunistic conditions for fungal disease.Nutrients: Amend the soil with compost high in organic matter before planting seeds.
Pruning: Occasionally picking younger leaves off your plants will allow them to develop larger leaves with a stronger flavor while making room for new growth
Mulching: A light mulch of straw can reduce weed growth, which is necessary to avoid competitors trying to steal your arugula’s spotlight!
- Flea beetles
- Garden Carpet Moth
- Bacterial blight
- Downy mildew
- White rusts
Grows well with bush beans, carrots, mint, nasturtium, potato, onion thyme, rosemary, beets, and cucumber to name a few. Avoid planting with strawberries and other members of the brassica family
Harvest leaves when they are 2-6″ tall, keeping in mind that older leaves will have a stronger flavor than younger ones. Flowering will cause leaves to turn bitter, so harvesting is preferentially done before signs of blooming.
The Leaves are highly perishable and best used immediately after harvest , but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Frozen, leaves will keep up to 6 months
Leaves can be steamed or blanched and frozen for later use, but they will lose some of their flavor.
Usually eaten fresh with other salad greens or added whole and cooked or sautéed lightly. Arugula makes a great topping for pastas and pizzas.
NUTRITIONArugula is a low-cal vegetable that presents itself as a good source of folic acid and vitamins A, B, C, and K. The leaves are also high in concentrations of iron. Nutrition Facts
Having valuable phyto-chemicals, which some studies claim have anti-cancer and counter carcinogenic effects, are prevalent in arugula leaves. Arugula has also been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, and improving overall heart health
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