Arugula

Arugula (also known as rocket) is a Mediterranean native that’s grown for its delicious leaves; it lends a spicy, peppery zing to salads, pizza and even pesto. Arugula is very easy to grow. Arugula seeds and plants are available at all Sloat Garden Center locations.

Growing arugala/spicy greens

Arugula and other spicy greens (like mustard) are shallow rooted, so they require soil that is loose and holds moisture. They are well adapted to being planted either in the ground or containers.

Prepare soil by blending Sloat Loam Builder or Sloat Planting Mix 50/50 with the native soil. Incorporate E.B. Stone Sure Start and E.B. Stone Agricultural Lime according to directions. Rake the bed to a fine crumble. If planting in containers, use Sloat Organic Potting Soil and Sure Start.

When seeding greens, you can either plant them in rows or broadcast them. Broadcasting works best with the smaller seeds of lettuce, arugula and mustard greens. Water the seedbed in the morning and afternoon for the first week to ensure the germinating seedlings do not dry out. Germination takes 5 to 10 days.

When the seedlings have reached an inch in height, thin to 3″ apart (and don’t forget to eat your thinnings!). Feed your plants monthly with a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or Maxsea All Purpose. Harvest tender young leaves; larger ones usually taste too sharp. Plants that over winter will shoot up to 3″ once spring weather warms up, then bloom; tender buds and flowers taste like the young leaves and plants reseed themselves.

Planting white alyssum with your greens will provide a food source for beneficial insects such as syriphid fly and parasitic wasps; these insects will help keep troublesome aphids in check.