growing arugula plant
The real arugula plant (Eruca sativa) is also known in the United States under its Italian name Rucola. It comes from the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae), has coarsely feathered leaves and is cultivated annually. arugula plant originates from the Mediterranean region and was already a popular medicinal and aromatic plant among the Romans. It grows to a height of ten to 50 centimeters and has hairy leaves similar to those of radishes. Rucola is very popular as a fresh salad ingredient or on pizzas, especially the young leaves of the plant are used, as the older ones are more suitable for seasoning with their sharpness. Mustard oil glycosides are responsible for their characteristic nutty-hot taste. The rocket is rich in folic acid, vitamin B and the minerals potassium and calcium. As a fast-growing and easy-care plant, it is also well suited for cultivation in containers on the balcony or in the greenhouse.
Location and soil
The arugula plant finds ideal conditions on humus-rich, sand-loamy soils in warm, sunny to semi-shady beds.
Sowing and planting
In the open, you can sow the arugula plant continuously from May to September as required. The row spacing should be 15 to 20 centimeters, the sowing depth one to 1.5 centimeters. When preparing the bed, rake around two litres of sifted mature compost per square metre flat into the soil. It is also possible to sow arugula plant in pots in March in the greenhouse or on the windowsill. The seeds germinate at ten degrees. At a temperature of 20 degrees, the first harvest is possible six weeks later.
Crop rotation and mixed cultivation
As a cruciferous plant, arugula plant should not be sown on beds on which cabbage plants used to stand. Due to the short cultivation time and the small space requirement, arugula plant is usually a gap filler and can be placed in individual rows between carrots, onions and other slow-growing vegetables, for example.
The arugula plant needs sufficient water, otherwise the leaves will quickly become too sharp. In addition, the soil must be regularly chopped and kept weed-free. An additional fertilization is not necessary, since the rocket is a weak eater. If you grow them later in the year after other heavy or medium eaters, you can also dispense with compost before sowing.
Rucola or arugula plant is ripe for harvesting after four to six weeks, when the leaves are about ten to 15 centimeters long. Cut the leaves about three centimeters above the Soil and prepare them as freshly as possible. They are wrapped in a damp cloth and kept in the refrigerator for two days. Tip: In warm dishes, especially on flat bread or pizza, the arugula plant leaves taste best if you add them shortly before serving, as the flavour-giving essential oils can evaporate when heated for longer. Rucola can also be processed into pesto, but this is not the standard pesto recipe.
After rosette formation, arugula plant quickly enters flowering and forms seeds. The seeds can easily be harvested for sowing next year: Let some plants flower and then cut off the dry, brown seeds later. You let them dry out and then wipe them out. The dry seeds are stored dark, cool and dry in a glass or paper bag until sowing next year. Rucola, however, also easily sprouts itself in the garden.
There are hardly any differences between the varieties of lettuce rocket. Ruca’ is fast growing and has a nutty taste like cress. Skyrocket doesn’t shoot as fast as most other breeds.
Diseases and pests
Rucola is a robust crop. The greenhouse may be infested with downy mildew. As a preventive measure, you should ventilate the greenhouse regularly, especially in summer. Against earth fleas it is helpful to avoid neighbouring cultures of the cruciferous family and to water the plants vigorously from time to time.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.