Commonly referred to as "rocket," arugula has been grown throughout history. It is a quick-to-harvest green, enjoyed much like lettuce, but it can also be cooked and, as a relative to mustards, has a peppery kick. Common arugula is an annual and is milder than "wild" or perennial arugula, which is slightly stronger, has more complex flavor, and more slender leaves. Arugula is low in calories and contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a source of calcium, iron, and folates. The flowers and seed pods are also edible. If you were wondering how to grow arugula from seed, you've come to the right place!
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date, when soil temperature is at least 40°F; ideally 50°-70°F. Successive Sowings: Every 3 weeks until 4 to 6 weeks before your average first fall frost date. Mild Climates: Sow in fall for winter harvest.
When to Start Inside: Not recommended.
How many do I plant? : Annual arugula yields 2.5 to 3 lbs. per 10-feet sown. In cool weather, annual arugula can be harvested about three times before it bolts, whereas perennial arugula will keep regenerating.
Sowing preparation and spacing
Prepare soil so it is loose, drains well, is rich, fertile, and weed free. Sow three seeds in a group 1/4" deep every 6". To grow as baby greens, sow 30 seeds per row foot (one linear row) or broadcast seeds 3/4" apart in a wider area.
Arugula grows with ease in cool temperatures (under 75°F), but can also be grown in summer; however, it will grow to maturity and bolt (flower) more quickly. Perennial arugula performs well even in summer heat.
For full-grown plants, thin to 1 every 6" once plants are 1/2" tall. Baby greens don't need to be thinned.
Keep moist but not soggy. In the cool of spring and early summer, keep evenly watered to promote fast, even growth, which will produce the best flavor.
If soil is deficient, we recommend adding a nitrogen-rich amendment prior to sowing, or regular applications of a nitrogen-rich, liquid fertilizer while growing. Liquid fertilizer is fast-acting compared to many granular amendments.
Keep plants well weeded. Weeds compete with crops for light, nutrients, and water, and can harbor insects and diseases.
Cut the flowers off of perennial arugula to keep the plant's energy focused on leaf-production.
For the mildest, best-tasting baby greens, pick leaves when 2"-4" long. Pick individually or cut off the plant at ground level. For the best flavor, harvest before plant begins to flower, unless you plan to eat the flowers.
Store rinsed and dried leaves in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES
Arugula is prone to flea beetle damage. Flea beetles are near-black, shiny, small, and jump like fleas. The damage is aesthetic and looks like small, rounded holes in the leaves. To help prevent flea beetle damage and reduce populations, cover the sown area with row cover or apply neem or DIY garlic and hot pepper spray frequently, and clean up plant residue in the fall.