Arugula (Eruca vesicaria) is a type of leafy vegetable that is very common in Italian cuisine. As early as the Roman Empire, we can find evidence that arugula was widely consumed. Learn all about how to grow arugula in this article.
Although it has a good nutritional value, it does not reach the levels of its relatives’ spinach or chard. They are generally eaten raw, as an accompaniment to a salad. Although they can also be pan-fried.
Arugula stands out for having many bioflavonoids and glucosinolates. This makes them have a spicy flavor and are anticarcinogenic.
So, within the properties of Arugula, we can highlight:
- Vitamin A, C.
- Folic acid.
- Pantothenic acid (great for people with anemia).
- Iron, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, and potassium.
- Avoid fluid retention.
- Excellent diuretics.
When and Where Do We Grow Arugula
Arugula can be sown all year round. They are easy to grow because they can withstand very low temperatures.
They need sunlight, but not too much. We will look for a place where it receives enough sun during the day, although not like other crops that need as much sunlight as possible, such as tomatoes.
Arugula becomes ugly if they receive too much sunlight. Their leaves turn yellowish and their taste becomes bitter. Still, if you can eat them in this state, you are in luck; this is when they are at their most nutritious.
Organic Arugula Seeds
We have tried several seeds to grow organic arugula and never before have we had so much success with these seeds (Order it here).
The germination rate of the seedlings is extremely high and very fast, as you will see in the picture below those seeds germinated in 2 days!
Soil to Grow Arugula
Arugula is not a very demanding plant in terms of soil, we use a mixture of universal potting compost (Order it here) because we always grow arugula from seedlings (it is optional).
The important thing is that it has good drainage and if you place it in seedbeds that they have enough holes for drainage. It prefers slightly acid soil with a pH between 6 and 7.
- Grows Plants Twice as Big (vs. unfed plants)
- Feeds up to 6 months
- More blooms for more color (vs. unfed plants)
How Do We Fertilize Arugula
We do not need too much substrate for this leafy vegetable. However, adding some to the soil will lead to larger and tastier leaves.
We want very decomposed organic matter and compost deposited and wait some days for the soil to absorb the nutrients we have added.
How Do We Water Arugula
Arugula is plants that need a lot of water. We have to watch out especially in summer that they do not dry out. We will give them a constant level of water during the summer.
The ideal irrigation option is drip irrigation, because of its efficiency and its ability to keep the soil moist without waterlogging.
At other times of the year, such as spring or autumn, arugula can be maintained with the rainfall typical of that period. However, we will also be aware that several weeks or even months may go by and they will not receive water.
How to Grow Arugula Step by Step
To grow arugula correctly and be successful, the first thing to do is to place our seedbed substrate. It must be previously moistened with water in the seedbed.
The second step is to make a furrow in the form of a row along with the pot with your finger and place the arugula seeds leaving a small distance between each seed.
Then we are going to cover with a thin layer of substrate, very thin because arugula seeds do not need to go very deep in the soil. We recommend that to do this, you take some of the moistened substrates with your two hands and stick them together. Rubbing gently so that it falls irregularly and is dispersed in the seedbed.
Then we must water, we recommend that you use a sprayer. We must use it to avoid that the seeds move and go to the bottom of the seedbed, causing them not to germinate.
We always recommend that you start sowing indoors. Especially in the winter, as the cold can cause the seeds not to germinate.
Arugula seeds take between 6 and 8 days to germinate depending on the climatic conditions in which they were sown (in our case in 2 days and germinate).
How to Care for Arugula
Arugula requires some essential care like most plants, i.e. fertile soil, adequate watering, and sufficient sunlight.
The greatest care must be taken to protect them from extreme cold and heat.
When it is just planted, if possible, we should keep it indoors until it has at least 2” (5 cm) or more than 2 or 3 leaves. If for some reason we must have them outdoors we will have to cover the seedbed with a transparent bag on top, to protect them from the cold, especially at night.
In addition, we must provide adequate irrigation and ensure a minimum of sunlight per day.
We recommend fertilizing every 15 to 20 days, either in liquid or solid form, this helps the plant to increase its productivity, as well as intensify its flavor and help it grow stronger, thus avoiding pests and diseases.
Pests and Diseases of Arugula
Despite being very hardy plants, excess moisture greatly affects arugula due to fungi. Leaves closer to the ground can also be affected by fleas.
How Do We Prevent Both Problems?
The first, excess moisture and fungus, is done by proper watering, with drip irrigation. In summer we will give the arugula a constant supply of water. Daily, if possible.
However, we do not want to puddle the soil. This will cause excess moisture and lead to the appearance of these fungi.
On the other hand, we can prevent fleas by making a dilution of garlic and spraying it over the leaves.
When Can We Harvest Arugula
We will look at the size of the leaves. When they reach 2.3” – 3.1” (6-8cm), we can start harvesting arugula.
If we cut the larger stems, in warm climates the plant will bounce back in its growth and we can repeat the process up to 5 more times.
We hope that this complete guide on how to grow arugula will be of great help and that you will be successful in your garden.