Arugula, Roquette, Eruca sativa
Add some zing to your salads with Arugula!
This leafy green adds a slightly peppery and nutty tang to a mixed green salad. Or tuck a few leaves into a sandwich. The leaves can also be sauteed and used in dishes like you would use spinach. I like to add it to pasta dishes. Some people use it to make pesto.
Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region. It is related to Watercress and Radish, which belong to the plant family Brassicaceae.
Arugula is hard to find in the grocery store, and it's expensive to buy. Luckily, it's very easy to grow.
It is easiest to sow Arugula seeds directly in the garden. The seeds will sprout very quickly, in about 3 days. As the seedlings grow, thin the plants to about 6 to 12 inches apart. The leaves will be ready to harvest in about 3 weeks.
After about 35 days, the plants will begin to flower. The flowers are edible, but strong tasting. If you let the plants go to seed, a new generation of arugula plants might come up on their own! It goes to seed rather quickly, so it is good to plant successive crops every 2 or 3 weeks.
Arugula grows best in cool weather. Move summer plantings to a site that is partially shaded from the hot sun. As the weather gets hotter or the plants get older, the leaves will get more peppery.
Arugula also grows well in containers. You can keep a large planter on your patio or deck.
You can order Organic Arugula from Park Seeds.
Images courtesy of
cogito ergo imago
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