Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Rocket science: Growing arugula

Bold, spicy and easy to grow, arugula adds intense flavour to summer and fall meals

Arugula’s growth is generally healthy and strong, but the tiny black flea beetle can pose a serious threat, descending in great numbers and riddling the leaves with little holes. Flea-bitten arugula is about as appetizing as slug-chewed lettuce. This is where a sheet of floating row cover does its best work. Finely spun threads bonded together mean the sheer fabric floats lightly over plants, letting in sunlight and rain while blocking flying insects. Easily cut to fit, the translucent cloth is reusable for years.

There are only a handful of arugulas, the basic wild rocket and a few improved types. Although no arugula can stand the blazing sun of midsummer, ‘Skyrocket’ and ‘Astro’ are both described as more heat tolerant. ‘Surrey’ is said to be milder, but with arugula it’s all about weather and water.

Let it seed
Arugula is still close to its wild roots. If you can handle a bit of randomness, allow a plant or two to run to flower and seed. Collect the seeds to resow, or let them fall where they will and watch for the naturalized seedlings to spring up—where you want them and where you don’t. 


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