How to Plant, Grow, and Use Arugula

Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that is part of the mustard family. It has a peppery flavor and is often used in salads. Arugula is easy to grow and can be planted in the spring or fall.

Botanical Name:Eruca vesicaria
Other Names:Arugula, garden rocket, Italian cress, roquette, rucola
Type of Plant:Annual plant in the mustard family.
Size and Appearance:Arugula grows to be about 2-3 feet tall and has dark green, lobed leaves. The plant produces small white or yellow flowers.

Planting Time:

Can be planted in the spring or fall.

Blossoming Time:

Arugula blooms in the spring.

Propagation:

From seed.

Sun:

Arugula prefers full sun to partial shade.

Temperature:

Between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil:

Arugula prefers rich, well-drained soil.

Watering:

Arugula should be watered regularly.

Fertilize:

Usually not necessary.

Uses:

Arugula can be used in salads or as a garnish.

In this article, you will learn how to grow Arugula in your garden or in a plant pot.

How to Grow Arugula

  1. Buy Arugula seeds from a trusted source.
  2. Prepare the planting area by loosening the soil.
  3. Sow the seeds in rows, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and water gently.
  5. Keep the soil moist but not wet, and wait for the seeds to germinate.
  6. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out.
  7. Continue to water regularly, and fertilize every few weeks.
  8. Harvest the Arugula leaves when they are young and tender.
  9. Store Arugula in the fridge or freeze it for longer-term storage.

In the following, I will cover each step in a little more detail.

1. Buy Arugula Seeds From a Trusted Source.

Arugula seeds can be bought at most garden stores.

You can also buy seeds online at websites that sell gardening supplies or on Amazon.

2. Prepare the Planting Area by Loosening the Soil.

The perfect time to plant arugula seeds is in spring.

Arugula prefers a sunny spot in the garden and well-drained soil.

To prepare a planting area in the garden for arugula, you have to clear the area of any weeds or debris first.

Then, use a spade or tiller, to loosen the soil to a depth of around 8 inches.

Next, you have to add some compost or other organic matter to the soil and mix it well.

And finally, level off the area and make sure it is free of any large clumps of dirt.

3. Sow the Seeds in Rows, Spacing Them About 1/2 Inch Apart.

To sow the seeds in rows, first, loosen the soil in the planting area to a depth of about 6 inches.

Then, using a hoe or other tool, make a furrow (a shallow trench) in the soil that is about ½ inch deep and as long as you want your row of arugula to be.

Next, sprinkle the arugula seeds into the furrow, making sure they are spaced evenly. 

4. Cover the Seeds With a Thin Layer of Soil and Water Gently.

Arugula seeds need to be covered with soil because they need darkness to germinate.

Make sure to water them with plenty of water.

5. Keep the Soil Moist but not Wet, and Wait for the Seeds to Germinate.

It usually takes 7-10 days for arugula to germinate.

Arugula seeds need very little water to germinate and will often do so in dry soil.

However, once the seedlings emerge, they will need consistent moisture in order to grow well. If the soil dries out too much, the seedlings may wilt and die.

6. Once the Seedlings Have Emerged, Thin Them out.

They should be spaced out about 6 inches apart from each other.

To thin arugula seedlings out, carefully remove the desired number of seedlings from the soil, making sure to not damage the roots of the remaining seedlings.

7. Continue to Water Regularly, and Fertilize Every Few Weeks.

Arugula needs a balanced fertilizer.

Arugula seedlings need about 1 inch of water per week. They also need a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen.

Arugula seedlings need fertilizer that is high in nitrogen because it helps them to grow quickly.

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, and it helps to promote growth.

Arugula seedlings are particularly fast-growing, so they need a lot of nitrogen to support their growth.

8. Harvest the Arugula Leaves When They are Young and Tender.

You can typically harvest Arugula after 4-6 weeks from planting.

The perfect time to harvest arugula leaves is when they are young and tender. To harvest the leaves, cut them off at the base of the plant with a sharp knife.

Arugula roots are not typically eaten, as the plant is grown for its leaves. The roots can be bitter in taste.

9. Store Arugula in the Fridge or Freeze it for Longer-Term Storage.

Arugula leaves can stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week, and in the freezer for up to six months.

If Arugula leaves are left too long in the fridge, they will eventually wilt and turn brown.

Old Arugula leaves can taste bitter. This is because the leaves contain a compound called glucosinolate, which breaks down into a compound called sinigrin when the leaves are becoming old. And Sinigrin is bitter-tastinging.

How to Plant and Grow Arugula in a Planting Pot

  1. Choose a plant pot that is at least 6 inches wide and has drainage holes in the bottom.
  2. Fill the pot with high-quality potting mix, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
  3. Sow arugula seeds directly into the pot, spacing them about ½ inch apart.
  4. Gently press the seeds into the soil and then water them well.
  5. Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  6. Thin out the seedlings once they have germinated, leaving only the strongest ones to grow on.
  7. When the seedlings are about 4 inches tall, begin fertilizing them every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer or compost tea.
  8. Continue to water and fertilize regularly throughout the growing season.
  9. Harvest arugula leaves as needed, starting when they are about 4 inches long.
  10. To encourage continued growth, cut back the plants by about half their height every few weeks during the growing season.
  11. In late summer or early fall, allow some of the plants to bolt and go to seed so you can collect seeds for next year’s crop.
  12. Cut back all of the plants in fall and prepare them for winter by mulching heavily around the base of the plants.
  13. Water sparingly over winter and resume regular watering in springtime as new growth appears.
  14. Enjoy your homegrown arugula all season long!

In the following, I will cover each step in a little more detail.

1. Choose a Plant Pot That is at Least 6 Inches Wide and has Drainage Holes in the Bottom.

The perfect pot for arugula plants is a deep pot that has holes on the underside for drainage and that has plenty of room for the roots to grow properly.

Arugula plants need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive, so make sure your pot has drainage holes at the bottom.

2. Fill the Pot With High-Quality Potting Mix, Leaving About an Inch of Space at the Top.

Arugula plants need between 4 and 6 inches deep pots. This is because they have a deep taproot that needs enough room to grow and thrive.

Arugula plants need a potting mix that is high in nitrogen and is well-draining. Arugula is a fast-growing plant, and it needs a lot of nitrogen to support that growth. Good drainage is also important because arugula doesn’t like wet feet.

3. Sow Arugula Seeds Directly Into the Pot, Spacing them about ½ Inch Apart.

To sow arugula seeds in the planting pot for the perfect result, fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix and lightly tamp down.

Sow the seeds thinly and evenly over the surface of the mix, then lightly cover with more mix. 

4. Gently Press the Seeds Into the Soil and Then Water them Well.

To press arugula seeds into the soil for the perfect result, first, make a small indentation in the soil with your finger.

Next, take the seed and place it in the indentation. Finally, lightly press down on the seed so that it is flush with the soil surface.

5. Place the Pot in a Sunny Spot and Keep the Soil Moist but not Soggy.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and thin out seedlings as they grow if necessary.

If the soil for Arugula seeds is soggy, the seeds will not germinate.

6. Thin out the Seedlings Once They Have Germinated, Leaving Only the Strongest Ones to Grow on.

To thin out arugula seedlings, carefully remove the desired number of plants, making sure not to damage any roots.

7. When the Seedlings are About 4 Inches Tall, Begin Fertilizing them Every Two Weeks With Liquid Fertilizer or Compost Tea.

To fertilize arugula seedlings in a planting pot, use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions.

Arugula is a fast-growing crop and will benefit from additional nutrients.

8. Continue to Water and Fertilize Regularly Throughout the Growing Season.

Arugula seedlings need about 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.

9. Harvest Arugula Leaves as Needed, Starting When They are About 4 Inches Long.

If arugula leaves are harvested too early, they will be smaller and more bitter than if they are harvested at the proper time.

10. To Encourage Continued Growth, Cut Back the Plants by About Half Their Height Every Few Weeks During the Growing Season.

Arugula plants can be cut back to encourage growth by removing the older, tougher leaves near the bottom of the plant.

This will allow more light and air to reach the new growth at the top of the plant, and will also help to prevent disease.

11. In Late Summer or Early Fall, Allow Some of the Plants to Bolt and Go to Seed so You Can Collect Seeds for Next Year’s Crop.

Arugula plants go to seed by producing flowers that are pollinated by bees.

The flowers turn into seed pods that contain the seeds of the plant.

12. Cut Back all of the Plants in the Fall and Prepare Them for Winter by Mulching Heavily Around the Base of the Plants.

Arugula plants can be mulched as preparation for winter by spreading a layer of organic material, such as leaves, straw, or wood chips, around the base of the plant.

This will help to insulate the roots and protect them.

13. Water Sparingly Over Winter and Resume Regular Watering in Springtime as New Growth Appears.

Arugula plants in planting pots need about an inch of water per week during winter.

14. Enjoy Your Homegrown Arugula All Season Long!

If you freeze some arugula then you will be able to enjoy your homegrown arugula year-round.

How to use Arugula Leaves

Arugula is most commonly used as a leafy green vegetable in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It can also be used as a garnish or decoration on other dishes. 

Arugula leaves can be brewed into tea, which is said to have medicinal properties. Some people believe that drinking arugula tea can help to detoxify the body, improve digestion, and boost the immune system. 

Arugula has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In some cultures, it is believed to have mystical or magical powers. Some people believe that eating arugula can bring good luck, ward off evil spirits, or promote fertility.

Interesting Facts About Aragula

  • Arugula is a leafy green vegetable that is part of the cabbage family.
  • Arugula has a peppery flavor and is often used in salads.
  • Arugula is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.
  • It also contains calcium, iron, and magnesium.
  • Arugula can also be used as a garnish or cooked like spinach.
  • Arugula plants are low in calories and fat and are a good source of fiber.
  • Arugula plants have high antioxidant content and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Arugula, also known as rocket salad or roquette, is a leafy green vegetable with a peppery flavor. It is a member of the mustard family and is related to kale, cabbage, and collards.

Arugula is native to the Mediterranean region and has been cultivated for centuries. It is now grown in many parts of the world, including the United States.

Arugula is a low-growing plant, and its leaves are deeply lobed and serrated. The leaves are dark green, and the plant produces small yellow flowers. Arugula is typically harvested when the leaves are young and tender.

It can be eaten raw or cooked and is often used in salads. Arugula is a good source of vitamins A and C, and also contains calcium, iron, and magnesium.

In the following, you will find all information on Arugula including how to care for Arugula, the benefits, different types, and many more interesting facts.

How to care for Arugula

Arugula is a cool-weather crop that can be planted in the spring or fall.

It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter. Arugula is not particular about pH but prefers slightly acidic soil.

Water arugula regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. The plants will bolt (go to seed) if they become too dry.

Arugula can be harvested as soon as the leaves are big enough to eat. Cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors, leaving the basal rosette intact. Arugula will produce new leaves if cut back frequently.

If allowed to bolt, arugula will produce tall stalks with small white flowers. The flowers are edible and have a peppery flavor. Once the plant has flowered, it will produce seed pods. The seeds can be collected and used to grow new plants.

List of the most common Arugula types

  • Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa- also known as rocket salad or arugula, this type of eruca has dark green leaves and a peppery flavor
  • Eruca vesicaria- also known as garden rocket, this type of eruca has green leaves and a milder flavor
  • Eruca sativa- also known as rucola, this type of eruca has dark green leaves and a strong flavor

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Written By Vincent

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