Common Name : Arugula, Arugula Roquette, Rocket Salad, Rucola, Rugula, Garden Rocket
Botanical Name : Eruca sativa
Type : Annual
Variety : 'Arugula' Roquett
Height : 8 - 18 inches
Width : 6 - 12 inches
Habit : Compact
Foliage : Green, Arrow shaped serrated leaves.
Attributes : Tolerates Light Frost
Arugula, also known as salad rocket. This salad green has a spicy, distinctive flavor, peppery taste without being bitter. Has been very popular in France and Italy for a long time. The leaves of arugula provide a spicy zap when added to a salad. This is the same plant sold in cellophane bags in the grocery store and usually labeled ‘baby arugula.’ Long, dark green, broad arrow-shaped serrated leaves form a loose, open bunch. Adds an exciting, interesting flavor and texture to salads. The flowers are also edible.
Uses : Used in salads, stews and soup. Infuse with oils & vinegars for an unusual touch, blend into butter and serve with any red meat. Collect seeds when ripe and press for oil. Arugula is considered a vegetable when it is cooked and eaten like spinach, or it can be used more sparingly as an herb to flavor a salad, meat, or pasta sauce. It is not for those who prefer mild flavor like that of an Iceberg lettuce salad.
Harvest : The leaves are tastiest and less bitter when harvested 2 to 6 inches long. The flowers are also edible. Pick only the outer leaves, this way the plant remains intact and usable for weeks to come. This cut-and-come again harvest keeps the plant yielding lots of leaves until the plants flower. Harvest often to encourage new growth. For the best flavor, harvest all greens frequently and when young. As with all greens, a rinse in cold water will help preserve the flavor and texture. To avoid bitterness, do not eat over-mature plants or those that mature in the heat of summer."
History : Arugula was probably carried to England by the Romans and was called a “good salad herb” by John Gerard. It is still at times referred to as Roman Arugula or Roman Rocket.
Sun : Full Sun
Water : High
Maintenance : Easy to grow
Spacing : 9 inches
Soil : Rich, well drained, well dug soil
Arugula prefers light, fertile, moist, and well drained soil. It is an easy to grow cool-season crop that performs best when planted in early spring or fall. Most will tolerate light to moderate frosts with minimal cover. Rapid continuous growth is very important for the best quality. Plants are most vigorous and the flavors are milder and richer when daytime air temperatures are between 60-70°F. Keep the soil uniformly moist for best results. Sow greens every couple of weeks to ensure a continuous supply of young plants. Thin to 10-16 inches apart after their second set of leaves have emerged.
When flowering begins in late spring or early summer, the flavor becomes more intense. At some point it may be stronger than you like, which means its time to take it out and wait for the next cool season to plant (early spring or fall).
Arugula flowers are edible. They have a strong peppery flavor, which is event stronger if you eat the semi-ripe seed capsule along with the flower. Leaves from plants that are grown in cool, moist rich soil are more tender and less pungent than those from plants grown in hot dry conditions.
Watch for aphids can be a problem and can be controlled with a strong spray of water. Proper plant spacing that allows adequate air circulation helps prevent diseases.