Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:54 pm
Planting arugula is easy and works just as well in a pot as in the garden. We’ll show you how you can harvest your own arugula all year round and save on plastic waste.
Arugula is full of valuable ingredients for your body. These include:
- Mustard oils
- Folic acid
- vitamin C
Reason enough to eat the healthy arugula more often. To avoid packaging waste, it’s best to buy it in bulk – or simply plant the lettuce in your garden, on the balcony or indoors in a pot.
Planting arugula: The preparation
When talking about arugula, botanically speaking, one usually means:
- the annual mustard rocket or salad rocket (for example, the varieties Coltivata, Sylvetta and Pronto)
- or the perennial wild rocket (for example the varieties Napoli, Dragon’s Tongue and Venicia).
We have taken the name arugula from the Italian language. In our gardens, mostly the annual salad rocket is grown. The wild rocket is much spicier and more intense. Therefore, it is less suitable as a salad, instead you can use it as a seasoning herb.
In addition to the variety, there are other aspects to consider:
- Location: since arugula originates from the Mediterranean region, the plant needs a sunny, warm place.
- Soil: Arugula lettuce thrives best in loose, humus-rich soil. If the soil is too loamy, you can loosen it with some mature compost and sand.
- Crop rotation: The lettuce plant belongs to the cruciferous family. Therefore, you should not plant it in beds where other cruciferous plants, such as cabbage, were previously grown.
- Mixed culture: arugula needs little space and grows very quickly. Because of its short growing season, the lettuce is good as a gap filler, for example, between carrots or onions.
Planting arugula: The sowing
Sowing arugula is simple and works both directly in the bed and in the pot:
- On a sunny windowsill you can sow arugula all year round.
- From April you can start sowing in the open ground.
- Enrich the soil with compost.
- Make a groove about one to two centimeters deep in the soil.
- Scatter the seeds and cover them with soil.
- Water the freshly planted seeds thoroughly.
- In the bed, the distance between rows should be about 15 centimeters.
- Arugula roots very shallowly, so it is well suited for growing in pots.
- The seeds germinate already at a temperature of ten degrees and need about five to fifteen days.
Planting arugula: care and harvest
Arugula is very frugal and extremely easy to care for:
If you have enriched the soil with compost before sowing, you no longer need to fertilize for harvest. Arugula is a weak grower and is used to nutrient-poor soils. The lettuce is sometimes sensitive to heavy fertilization. In addition, arugula tends to store nitrate in its leaves.
Lettuce rocket needs sufficient water, especially on hot, dry days. Otherwise, the leaves will quickly become very sharp.
To avoid pest infestation by soil fleas, you should regularly loosen the surrounding soil and keep it free of weeds.
Since arugula grows quickly, you can harvest the first leaves after about six weeks:
Harvesting should be done before flowering, otherwise the leaves will taste bitter and the plant will shoot up.
Young leaves taste milder than older ones. The nutty flavor of arugula is best when the leaves are ten to 15 centimeters in size.
Cut the leaves about two inches above the ground. Arugula resprouts after harvest, so you can harvest it again and again without reseeding.
Tip: Let a few plants bloom, so they can reproduce themselves and you can enjoy the salad rocket again next year. Alternatively, you can cut off the finished seed heads and store them in a dry, dark place to replant next year.
How to use arugula in the kitchen
The tangy, spicy leaves are especially popular in Italian cuisine. Since the mustard oils are sensitive to heat, arugula is best prepared raw.
Arugula gives salads a nutty note and a slight spiciness. In combination with tomatoes or on pizza, arugula salad is particularly popular. In addition, the feathery leaves are well suited to decorate dishes. Here you can find inspiration for dishes with arugula: arugula recipes: the healthy salad is so versatile.
Wrapped in a damp cloth, arugula leaves will keep for about two days in the refrigerator. To preserve the flavor, you can make arugula pesto from the leaves.