Growing arugula organically in home garden can be a great way for enjoying this excellent salad green. Arugula (eruca sativa) is used as a leaf vegetable mainly for it’s fresh peppery flavor. It is also known by some other names such as rocket, garden rocket, eruca, rucola, rocket salad, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette etc.
The arugula plants are actually native to the Mediterranean region, but today it is grown and found throughout the world. It is a fast-growing, cool-season salad green. It is one of those vegetables or salad greens that people either love or hate. It tends to have a musky odor and taste that can put off some people. While some people find it’s peppery bite very refreshing.
This guide is for the people who loves arugula. Growing arugula is actually easy, and you can easily grow this green salad that adds a tangy, mustard-like flavor to salads. And along with salad, you can also use arugula in some other ways. However, growing arugula organically in home garden can be an excellent way for enjoying this vegetable.
How to Grow Arugula
Growing arugula is very easy, and the plants grow faster. The seedlings are very hardy and can even tolerate some frost. However, here we are describing everything about growing arugula in home garden from planting, caring to harvesting.
Choose a Variety
First of all choose a variety for growing arugula. You can consult with any existing home gardeners in your area for better recommendation about selecting a variety. Some common and popular arugula varieties are Astro, Italian Rocket, Garden, Runway and Sylvetta.
The arugula plants are grown from seeds. After selecting the right variety for your home garden, purchase seeds from your nearest seed supply stores. Arugula seeds should easily be available in your area. But if you are unable to find seeds in your local market, consider ordering online.
Best Time for Growing Arugula
The arugula is a cool-season vegetable and best grown in the colder months. The seedlings are very hardy and can even tolerate some frost. You can plant early or late in the growing season and you will be able to harvest as soon as 4 weeks after sowing. Sow in late-summer for a fall or early-winter harvest.
Preparing the Soil
The arugula plants can be grown in almost all types of soil. Just ensure the soil is humus-rich and well drained. The plants are very hardy and can tolerate a wide variety of conditions. So you can start growing arugula almost anywhere with the availability of full sun. Prepare the soil for growing arugula by adding well-rotted aged manure or homemade compost.
Planting arugula seeds in rows will be good. Level the soil and mark several rows, and the rows should be at least 10 inches apart. Then plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and about 1 inch apart. You can plant arugula seed alone or mix with other greens. Arugula seeds germinate faster. Sow new seeds every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest.
Arugula plants don’t require too much care and management. So you don’t have to take much care for growing arugula in your home garden. Just keep the soil evenly moist and thin the seedlings to about 5-6 inches apart. Providing some shade for warm-season plantings will be helpful for reducing heat stress.
Pests and Diseases
Arugula plants are susceptible to some common garden pests such as cabbage worms, downy mildew, flea beetles etc. Use homemade organic insecticides or any other organic ways for preventing all these pests.
Once summer arrives, arugula leaves quickly turn bitter and the plant shifts into flower production. So harvesting timely is important. Taste of the arugula leaves is best when they are young. You can start harvesting the leaves when they are about 2-3 inches long. While harvesting, you can either pull the whole plant or cut individual leaves. The white flowers of the arugula plants are also edible.
These are the common steps for growing arugula organically in your home garden. Hope you will be able to grow this flavorful salad green next season in your home garden. Happy gardening 🙂