Grown as an edible herb in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, salad rocket (Arugula) was mentioned by various classical authors as an aphrodisiac, most famously in a poem long ascribed to Virgil, Mortem, which contains the line:”the rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people”. Some writers assert that for this reason during the Middle Ages it was forbidden to grow rocket in monasteries. It was listed, however, in a decree by Charlemagne of 802 as one of the pot herbs suitable for growing in gardens.
Arugula looks like a longer-leaved and open lettuce and is eaten raw, in salads with oil and vinegar, or as a garnish, as well as cooked as a leafy green vegetable. It is rich in vitamin C and Potassium. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods, and mature seeds are all edible.
Sun: Full Sun
Spacing: 10 – 11”
Height: 10 – 14”
Optimum Soil Ph: 5.5-7.0, Ideal 6.0-6.5
Days To Maturity: 55 – 60 Days
Sowing Method: Directly Outdoors
Although arugula likes cool weather, it can be damaged or stressed by frost or snow. Keep the row covers handy and protect your plants if extreme weather is predicted.
Gardeners in USDA Zones 8 and up will have better luck with fall sowings, succession sowing into winter. Even cool season gardeners can start seed in late summer, to harvest up until frost.
The seeds are small and should barely be covered with soil. Sprinkle them on dampened soil or potting mix and press firmly. Then dust with some more soil and keep moist. They should germinate within 2 weeks.
Arugula is shallow rooted and makes a good choice for growing in containers. You’ll have more control over sun exposure in a container, but they will dry out more quickly.