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How to Grow Organic Arugula

Updated on September 21, 2015
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

New wasabi wild arugula

Wasabi Arugula - in a mixed greens salad, it adds zip. By it'self, Wasabi Arugula can be quite hot.
Wasabi Arugula - in a mixed greens salad, it adds zip. By it'self, Wasabi Arugula can be quite hot. | Source

Arugula flowers are edible

Arugula flowers. Once the plants have bolted, the leaves are bitter, but the flowers are edible.
Arugula flowers. Once the plants have bolted, the leaves are bitter, but the flowers are edible. | Source

Direct sow arugula seed

Frost tolerant arugula is ideal for fall planted gardens. Sow a few seed every week to extend the harvest.

Arugula is sometimes called rocket, in France: roquette, or in Italy: rochetta. If this herb is new to you consider adding arugula to your salad garden. If arugula is a regular at your table, try a new varietyof this Italian cress.

Frost tolerant arugula is ideal for fall planted gardens. Sow a few seed about every ten days to extend the late season harvest.

When weather becomes too cold, leave a few plants. In the spring, plant seeds early with frost hardy lettuces.

As a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), arugula is a peppery leafy green. It is best eaten fresh in salads of mixed greens or as mesclun mixes.

These small shallow rooted plants are fast growing and ideal for container gardens. Older leaves get stronger, pick arugula young. Seldom seen in grocery stores because the leaves are very perishable.

Arugula is best fresh. Use as you might use spinach. It's peppery taste may remind you of radishes or watercress.

The seed can be used as sprouts. Top salads or sandwiches with sprouts. Grown as micro-greens, arugula has that lively peppery flavor even when it is tiny.

Rich in nutrients and low in calories, your culinary imagination is it's only limit in the kitchen. Because arugula is so versatile and comes in many varieties, don't limit yourself to one variety or package of seed.

Buy, grow, eat arugula

EAT - Eat in lettuce salads, cold pasta or green rice salads. In Italy, it is used as a pizza topping. Try it on a cheese pizza. Your best chance of cooking or eating arugula is to grow your own from seed.

Dark green and leafy, arugula contains vitamins A, C, K and folate, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. The Romans used arugula as a vegetable, added the seeds to flavor oils and believed it was an aphrodisiac.

Substitute arugula for basil in the traditional pesto. Arugula Pesto from Simply Recipes is a great way to use up a lot of arugula leaves. Other pesto type recipes include a combination of cilantro and arugula.

Cover fresh made pesto with a this layer of olive oil and store in the refrigerator for about a week. Freeze in small portions. Use ice cube trays, candy or butter molds to make small portions. Toss frozen cubes into hot pasta or red or white pasta sauce.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze in an ice cube tray. Transfer frozen cubes to a sealable plastic bag. Defrost as needed.

GROW - Mentally divide a container into quarters or thirds. Plant a few seeds in one quarter (or third) each week. Keep seeds moist but not wet. No need to add fertilizer.

Draught tolerant and frost tolerant. Keep an eye on these fast growing plants. Thin young plants, using the "thinnings" in your salad. Harvest the outer leaves of the remaining plants. Removing those leaves trigger more leaf growth in the plant.

Plant in full sun. Thin each plant to about six inches apart. Clip only what you will use, because arugula is very perishable. Harvest leaves when they are small and tender.

For an organics overview, see How to grow organic onions. Find maps to help gardeners and organic garden definitions here.

Look for heirloom arugula

Whole Italian arugula plants can be pulled or pick outer leaves, making several harvests.
Whole Italian arugula plants can be pulled or pick outer leaves, making several harvests. | Source

More information and seed sources

For an organics overview, see How to grow organic onions. Find maps to help gardeners and organic garden definitions here.

I am not promoting these companies. Organically grown seed is sometimes difficult to find. So, these are companies where I have done business. Each offered prompt service and I received plenty of fertile seed exactly has advertized.

BUY - Find organic seed at:

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Thank you, Bob. I will always add this to my mesclun mixes.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 

    5 years ago from New Brunswick

    I must add this to salad garden next spring.

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