Arugula, scientifically known as Eruca sativa, is a leafy green vegetable with a distinctive and peppery flavor. Also referred to as "rocket", "ruchetta", or rucola in various parts of the world, it is a popular choice in culinary dishes for its unique taste and versatility.
What's wonderful about arugula is that it's great on pizza and in salads. It grows quickly, which is why it's also known as rocket. When grown from seed, most arugulas will be ready for their first harvest in as little as 40 days. It's also perfect for cut-and-come-again harvesting.
Additionally, it's a deer-proof herb to grow! Our planters with arugula sit right under the noses of our deer, and it remains intact. Well, it does suffer a few bites, but those are tiny holes from other garden pests, such as worms or slugs. However, even that doesn't happen extensively. (We've seen worse on other plants, our environment is slug/snail heaven, tons of them around).
Rocket is easily started from seed, and while it can be grown all year round, it actually prefers cooler weather. So, you can grow it when not many other crops are suitable for the season. In our climate, come spring, it already is wanting to bolt, but maybe we could find a cooler spot for it... Here are the same young plants going to seed:
Here's how the flowers look once it has gone full seeding mode:
Another benefit of growing rocket is that when it goes to seed, it produces flowers that attract pollinators. But keep in mind that when the herb bolts, it grows a 15-35" tall spike (up to 1 metre), so your patch starts looking like a proper cottage garden!
Rucola is not only prized for its vibrant flavor but also for its nutritional value. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and folate.
Arugula's peppery kick can add a delightful zing to salads, providing a pleasant contrast to milder greens. And you don't even have to share it with hungry deer! They will clean up your parsley and lemongrass all right, but rocket is all yours!
Last modified 05 October 2023 at 22:26
Published 15 September 2023