Arugula is a hardy plant and does not have any strong preferences with regard to growing conditions. It can be grown in any well-drained fairly fertile spot or container. Arugula prefers cool weather, and is frost hardy enough that it will bear right through winter in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. The arugula plant is grown as a longer leaved open lettuce. It is a small plant , with a compact root system, so it is easy to grow in containers or in a flat on a sunny windowsill. It is also good for inter-cropping between longer season plants.
When to Plant
Plant seeds outdoors in spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Make additional plantings every three weeks as long as the cool weather lasts. For winter harvests, sow seeds in mid-fall.
How to Plant
Dig a shallow trench with the tip of your garden spade to mark the row where you would like to plant the arugula. Sprinkle the seeds from the packet into the trench trying to space the seedlings out by somewhere between 1/4" and 1". If you want to harvest full sized leaves, increase the spacing, or thin the plants out once they are established. Plant in rows approximately 6 inches apart. Cover lightly with soil, the arugula seeds need light to germinate. If they are deeply buried, they will not germinate.
When to Harvest
Arugula leaves can be harvested once they are about 2-3 inches long, which can be as soon as 2-3 weeks after the plants germinate under ideal conditions. Cut individual leaves or pull up whole plants. The leaves are best when young, but they retain good flavor until the plant starts to bolt. The flowers are also edible. If the plant does bolt, you can throw some of the flowers in with your salad greens. Once the flowers are set, the leaves will start to taste more bitter.
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