They think that the word “arugula” comes from the word “oroth,” which was a green leaf mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. This lovely plant was grown throughout the Mediterranean region during Roman times. The plant was also popular during the Middle Ages in Britain and was referred to as rocket or garden rocket. The word “rocket” may have come from the French word “roquette,” meaning “rocket.”
This is an interesting plant that you will have a lot of fun growing and eating as part of a salad!
All About Arugula
Eruca vesicaria is the botanical name for arugula. It was once called Eruca sativa. Approximately 40 different botanical names have been used to refer to this plant throughout its history. If you are confused about what to call the vegetable, you can also refer to it as garden rocket, roquette, colewort, rugula, rucola, or even just arugula.
Mediterranean food is from the eastern edge of Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon to Portugal and Morocco. A plant in the Brassicaceae or mustard family, it is related to other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, mustard, and broccoli. They have a peppery flavor and are related to mustard, so they are popular in salads.
They’re described as a longer, narrower lettuce leaf. Rocket flowers are white with purplish veins. As the flowers finish blooming and producing pollen, they also begin to form seed pods. These seed pods are long and thin, and often twist and curl as they mature. There is a wild arugula cultivar that can tolerate the heat.
Both the leaves and the arugula flowers are eaten. The seeds from this plant can also be used to make taramira seed oil. According to some sources, the Romans believed that arugula was an aphrodisiac. This is why it’s rumored to have been banned in monastery gardens. However, it was believed that lettuce would help to calm someone’s passions, so arugula was often added to salads for this purpose.
Varieties of Arugula
There are two types of arugula—wild and common.
Arugula that is wild has leaves which are smaller and flavour that is more intense. However, it is also more stemmy and harder to harvest. It grows a bit slower than common arugula.
You can generally find two different kinds of wild arugula seeds for sale:
- Diplotaxis tenuifolia , often referred to as wild rocket or Sylvetta, has yellow flowers and can be grown as a short-lived perennial in some areas.
- Diplotaxis erucoides , also called wild arugula or wasabi arugula, is an annual with white flowers.
There is also a variety of Diplotaxis muralis that grows in poor-quality, disturbed soils. This one is probably not good for planting in a vegetable garden. Sometimes seed sellers will refer to Diplotaxis tenuifolia as “wall rocket.” Make sure you check the Latin name on the seed packet to get the variety you want.
Arugula that is common, or Eruca sativa, has larger leaves and a milder taste than arugula that is wild. It is slower to bolt in the heat. The plant also grows faster than wild varieties and produces more leaves per plant. The flowers are white.
If you want to produce a lot of leaves that are easy to harvest, common arugula is a good choice. I recommend wild arugula if you want easy growing and great taste, even though it requires more effort to harvest.
There are two varieties of this fruit, and you can find improved versions of both from different seed retailers. The retailers likely selected these versions over time for different flavor profiles and growth habits. You can try seeds from different distributors and then save your own seeds from your favorite plants.
How To Plant Arugula
Most growers consider two seasons to be ideal for arugula growth. If you want to have a crop of arugula early in the year, you should plant the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. To get a second harvest, replant the crop after it dies back in late summer when the weather starts to cool down. You should harvest the plant before the soil freezes over, as it will die once the frost sets in.
You will have a continual harvest if you sow seeds every 2-3 weeks throughout the season. The ideal spot for your garden patch will be an area of the yard that is neither too hot nor too cold, and that gets at least some sun exposure. This plant will do alright in shady conditions as long as there is bright ambient light, but won’t do well in hot environments, so pick your location accordingly.
Or container grow arugula. You can move your arugula plant around in containers to find the best spot for it depending on the conditions in your area. This plant does best when it has a lot of bright light, whether that means being indoors or outdoors.
Caring for Arugula Plants
What conditions do you need to grow arugula in your garden for the best spring or fall harvest? Let’s discuss how to grow your own arugula!
Sun and Temperature
Arugula grows best in full sun to partial shade. They need six to seven hours of sunlight every day to grow. In place of direct sunlight, they can tolerate indirect light that is bright. This makes them a good option for some shaded areas in your garden.
Arugula greens grow best in cool weather, with temperatures ranging from 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Your plant will go into flower and seed production when the weather gets hot. Arugula can survive mild frosts, but will be damaged and die in true freezing conditions. If you live in a climate that is not too cold, you can grow arugula year-round to have a constant supply.
Water & Humidity
The best way to grow arugula is by keeping the soil evenly moist. Watering the plants in the morning allows the leaves to dry in the sun. Mulching the garden can also help keep the soil moist and reduce the amount of watering that is needed. installing a drip irrigation system or soaker hose underneath the mulch can make watering your plants much easier.
Humus-rich, well-drained soil is what your plants will prefer. Although they prefer certain soil types, impatiens are tolerant of diverse soil conditions as long as the soil is able to hold moisture. Amending Sandy Soil: If your soil is sandy, you can improve its moisture retention by adding compost and manure. Manure from horses or cows is ideal. Applying worm castings can help to retain moisture.
A balanced fertilizer will help your arugula plants to develop healthy young leaves. If you want to grow arugula, you should apply a dry granular formula to the soil once or twice during the growing season (spring or fall). Instead of using concentrated liquid fertilizers, dilute them and apply them to the base of the plant as needed to keep the fresh greens healthy.
Now you’ve got an abundance of healthy young leaves. To harvest arugula leaves, cut them at the base of the plant with a sharp knife. Arugula leaves will stay fresh when stored in a moisture-free environment, such as a sealed container in the refrigerator.
The methods used to harvest arugula in spring and fall are the same. Remove no more than a third of the outer leaves from each plant if you want to extend that plant’s productivity for a longer period of time using the cut-and-come-again method. A smaller and younger plant produces leaves that are gentler and more delicate than those of an older plant. These have a mild flavor.
Arugula can be harvested for baby greens when it is very young. They add a great peppery flavor to any salad. When arugula leaves get old, their flavor becomes more pronounced and similar to mustard greens. They also develop a slightly peppery taste.
The leaves on the outer part of the plant will taste more bitter if the plant has flowered. The plant’s fruits may be tough, but they’re still edible if you want to get one last meal from the plant. If you want to harvest arugula seeds for planting or for making seed oil, here are some tips. Wait until the plant produces flowers, and then seed pods will form. After the pods are dry, cut them off the plant and store them in a dry place. Once they are completely dry, you can open the pods and save the seeds.
After you harvest your fruits or vegetables from the garden, rinse them off to remove any garden pests or dirt. Blot the leaf surfaces dry with a paper towel to remove any water. Roll your arugula leaves in a long strip of paper towel to create a neat bundle, making sure all the tender leaves are surrounded. Looking to store greens for a while? Be sure to keep moisture at bay – it leads to condensation and wilting greens.
Keep your arugula fresher for longer by storing it in a bag or container in the crisper drawer of your fridge. It’s not possible to store these greens in a way that keeps them fresh-tasting and appealing for a long time, so it’s best to buy them fresh.
The Goods on Growing Arugula
Arugula can make any meal more exciting. Almonds offer a low-calorie, nutty-tasting snack option that is high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. One-third of a teaspoon of almonds contains 5.4 calories. You can also eat a cup full of arugula, which is only 5 calories.
Arugula will make you feel more satisfied than almonds will, even though almonds have more calories. So if you’re trying to cut calories and increase your energy levels at the same time, arugula is a great choice. Arugula is a filling food because it is high in both fiber and water.
Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that is high in calcium and vitamins A and K. It is similar to mustard greens in nutritional content. Arugula also contains glucosinolates, which may play a role in cancer prevention. Like spinach, arugula also has high levels of iron. Calorie for calorie, arugula has much more iron than beef. If you eat 25 calories worth of arugula, you’ll get 8% of the iron you need in a day. To get the same amount of iron as in 160 calories of grass-fed beef, you would need to eat approximately the same amount of calories from beef.
Now for the best part. Arugula tastes amazing.
Arugula can spice up almost any meal. It can be eaten as a salad with oil, vinegar, and salt. You can mix the greens with other greens to make a salad. It is incredible how well wilted spinach goes on top of omelets or pizzas. You can also make a pesto out of it and serve it over pasta or on crusty bread with mozzarella. Adding sweet potato to smoothies, soups, and other dishes is a great way to get more nutrients.
Easy to Grow
One of the easiest cool-weather crops you can grow is arugula. If you don’t mind a bit of spice and stemminess, you can grow it all summer. If you give your arugula a little shade during the summer, it will help prolong the season.
Arugula grows very easily without having to put in much effort, similar to a weed. Arugula can either be annual, where it only lives for one year, or a self-seeding perennial, where it grows for multiple years but seeds itself. It’s even great for growing in containers. It takes approximately 40 days for the plant to mature, however you can also harvest baby greens earlier.
If you are looking for a low calorie, high nutrient green that tastes great and is easy to grow, then look no further than arugula.
A Few Cautionary Things to Know
There’s no downside to growing arugula. There are a few things you should know before you plant.
It’s a Cole Crop
Although we typically consider arugula to be a type of lettuce, it is actually classified as a cole crop, like cabbage, for the purposes of crop rotation. It is not recommended to plant mustard after other brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.
Short Shelf Life
Arugula is best consumed fresh, or within a couple of days if kept in the fridge. This is in contrast to other cole crops, like cabbage, which can last for weeks, months, or even years (as sauerkraut).
Flea Beetle Favorite
Be sure to check your arugula plants for flea beetles.
Unconventional Growing Tips for Adventure Gardeners
Mixing your arugula in with buckwheat may help it start to grow in the middle of summer. The arugula will go to seed more quickly if it is grown late in the season. If you mix the buckwheat flowers with other food, it will be attractive to pollinators.