How To Grow Arugula
When added to your salad, the leaves of a plant called arugula offer a zesty kick. The arugula leaves are very common in European countries, but the vegetable is becoming more popular throughout the United States as well. This is identical to the product commonly packaged in airtight plastic bags at most American supermarkets and generally labelled “infant arugula.” But, we believe that homegrown plants have more taste. You choose! You too can sauté, steam, or otherwise cook the leaves of arugula similar to the process used for other types of leafy green vegetables. Arugula appears to blossom as something akin to a dandelion, but the full plant is far bigger and more wide open than the dandelion weed. All arugula plants will perform best in cooler weather since they are susceptible to extreme hot during the summer. At the peak of the growing period you should find your arugula plant having tall leaves up to one foot in height.
The formal name of arugula is “Eruca vesicaria”. Fans often refer to it as a leafy green plant that hides a spicy kick. The best planting seasons for arugula are just outside of the summer months. Whether in late spring or in early autumn, arugula will do better when not directly planted in the heat of summer. If taken care of properly, the arugula plant will grow up to a foot tall and more than one foot wide within the soil.
The growing process of arugula is quite similar to other leafy green vegetables. Like plants such as collard greens, mustard cabbage, or traditional lettuce, the arugula plan will develop tall stalks during the growing season with seeds sprinkled around the ground. Harvesting is best performed when plants have a large, center stalk that blooms. Pulling up these leaves before they have too powerful a taste will provide the best arugula crop. After harvesting, some gardeners prune the crops in order to produce another. The blooming stalks may have small white blossoms on top and grow up to three feet tall. Home gardeners should savor these large leaves and use them for the most flavorful salads.
When flowering starts in late spring or early summer, the taste gets more extreme. At some point it might be more powerful than you prefer, this means it’s time to take it out and await another cool season (early spring or fall).
Choose just the outer leaves so the plant remains complete and usable for weeks ahead. This cut-and-come-again crop keeps the plant producing tons of leaves before the plants bloom. Harvest frequently to encourage new development.
Arugula grows quickly. Place plants within a bright backyard with good drainage during the correct season. Do not plant arugula during the middle of summer. Like all greens, arugula demands a rich earth to produce its greatest development. The best conditions are fully composted soil with adequate drainage and topped with an organic fertilizer appropriate for leafy green vegetables. For moving arugula plants to locations with more room, leave at least a foot between each plant for best results.
Most chefs will use arugula as a replacement vegetable for any recipes that require large volumes of lettuce or spinach. For non-salad dishes, arugula works well as an herb used sparingly. Arugula is far more powerful than plain lettuce so use care when replacing lettuce with arugula in any recipe. The bold, spicy flavor of arugula is ideal for salads with other flavorful ingredients. The specific time during which you pick arugula primarily determines its potency. The most flavorful arugula leaves are the ones that have been growing the longest amount of time.