Arugula is a fast-growing cool-season salad green – often ready to harvest just 4 weeks after seeding. It prefers rich soil with a pH of 6 to 6.8, but it tolerates a wide variety of conditions. Seeds germinate quickly even in cold soil. Plant as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Avoid planting after other cabbage family crops. Plant ¼ inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows, or broadcast alone or mixed with other greens. Gradually thin to 6-inch spacings using thinnings for salads. It forms a rosette of deeply lobed leaves. Plants become erect when heat induces bolting.
Succession plant for every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous supply until about a month before your average first frost date. Good plant for intercropping.
You can slow bolting by reducing heat with shade and avoiding moisture stress with regular watering. Arugula often self-seeds. It requires insects for pollination and will not cross with other members of the mustard family.
To harvest Arugula, pick off the outside tender leaves at the base of the plant. Leave the center growing point for future harvesting. Larger leaves tend to get tough and very bitter tasting so harvest them small. Hot weather will also make the leaves bitter.
Arugula, Eruca sativa
Pollination, insect; Life Cycle, Annual; Isolation Distance, 1/2 mile
Arugula is self-pollinating, but will also cross-pollinate (possibly even between different species). Further, wild arugulas are common in most areas worldwide. Individual flower heads can be bagged to allow growing several varieties in proximity or to ensure that wild plants don’t cross the plants you’re growing. Collect the seed heads as they dry on the plants and store in closed paper bags to finish drying (many of the seeds will shed naturally). Don’t let the seed heads get wet after they dry. Chaff easily blows away after seed heads are crumbled—watch for thorns or prickles in some plants!
Based in Asheville, NC, Sow True Seed has a small, dedicated staff of dirt worshippers committed to providing high quality, open-pollinated seeds in support of sustainable food production and regenerative agriculture. Founded in 2008 by lifelong gardener and food activist Carol Koury, Sow True Seed was created to preserve our shared botanical heritage and grow a new era of ecological wisdom.
Sow True Seed supports independent, regional agricultural initiatives that foster a vibrant, sustainable economy, and true food sovereignty. They are committed to growing our awareness and actions to honor the heritage of their seeds, the diverse people and places that have contributed to our collective abundance.
Based in the glorious mountains of Western North Carolina – home to a temperate rainforest and one of the most biologically diverse areas of North America – Sow True prides themselves on working with farmers in the region who ensure the survival of heirloom varieties that would otherwise become extinct.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that seed germination rates be tested at least once a year. A “sell by date” is also required on seed packets and cannot date more than a year from the last passing germination test. Sow True Seed tests the germination rates of all seed varieties twice a year via the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to ensure passing germination rates. The sell by date is not a “use by” date; most seed varieties, stored properly, can last up to three years. Sow True Seed stores all seed varieties in a climate controlled facility that averages 50° F and 50% humidity, which are ideal seed storing conditions. For the home gardener the best way to store seeds is in the refrigerator, in a zip top bag or Mason jar, with silica packets to absorb any moisture. We do not recommend storing seeds in the freezer.
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