Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a leafy green vegetable with a peppery, slightly bitter flavor. It is often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish for pizzas and pastas. Arugula is a member of the mustard family and is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as other nutrients. It is a cool-season crop that prefers well-drained soil and partial shade. When harvesting arugula, it’s best to pick the outer leaves when they are young and tender, leaving the center leaves to continue growing. Arugula is easy to grow and a popular choice for home gardeners who want to add a flavorful and nutritious vegetable to their diet.
How to Grow Arugula Organically
Here is a brief guide on how to grow arugula organically:
- Soil preparation: Arugula prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, so amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0.
- Planting: Arugula can be planted in the spring or fall. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows that are spaced 6-12 inches apart.
- Watering: Arugula needs consistent moisture to grow properly, so water deeply and regularly. It’s best to water in the morning to allow the leaves to dry before evening.
- Fertilizer: Use an organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to promote leafy growth. Apply the fertilizer when the seedlings are 2-3 inches tall and again when the leaves start to grow.
- Pest control: Arugula is susceptible to pests such as flea beetles, aphids, and caterpillars. Use organic methods to control these pests, such as beneficial insects, row covers, and neem oil.
- Harvest: Arugula is ready to harvest when the leaves are at least 2 inches long. Harvest the outer leaves first, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. Cut the leaves at the base of the stem and leave at least 1 inch of stem on the plant to promote regrowth.
By following these steps, you can successfully grow arugula organically and enjoy a bountiful harvest of these nutritious and delicious greens.