Rocket (Eruca sativa) is part of the large family of Brassicaceae to which cabbages belong. His young leaves are consumed floods in salads, and are highly appreciated for their subtly peppery taste with a refreshing hint of bitterness. Over time, they become tougher. If we wait to harvest, then the arugula leaves deserve to be cooked. Easy to grow and space-saving, arugula finds its place in all vegetable gardens and even in pots. Let’s see when to sow it and how to care for this variety of mesclun salad until we can harvest it.
It is necessary to well work the land from the front garden sow arugula in place. This therefore requires digging, removing stones, carefully weeding, loosening the soil and then amending it by adding compost. Once the soil is well prepared, all that remains is to sow the arugula as follows:
- Draw furrows spaced about 25 cm apart,
- Sow at a depth of 1 cm at the rate of a rocket seed every 2 cm,
- Water in fine rain.
About 7 days after sowing we note with pleasure that the lifting is already well underway. As soon as the seedlings have formed 3 sheetsit is necessary to pass to thethinning in order to keep only one plant every 7 or 8 cm. Of course, we only keep the most vigorous ones.
It is not it is not advisable to sow arugula in pots because it involves transplanting. However, this action causes a stress and usually the transplants go to seed early. It is therefore better to sow in place when the temperatures are fairly mild. Each gardener must choose the most favorable time according to his climate.
As to sowing arugula in a pot, it is quite possible which is also very significant if you only have a balcony. In this case, gardening experts advise to sow directly into the definitive jar at a rate of 3 or 4 seeds per container, no more, and to keep only 2 seedlings when thinning. This method avoids having to transplant young lettuces.
Whether you opt for sowing in the ground or in pots, it is essential to keep the soil always moist by watering in fine rain.
Arugula loves loose soil, costs et rich in humus and appreciate them sunny exposures. However, in regions with a hot climate, it should be planted in a semi-shaded area because the high summer heat makes its cultivation more difficult.
This variety of lettuce can be sown at two times of the year: from march to june depending on the region because the risk of frost must be ruled out, and in September or October if you want to take advantage of a winter harvest. It is indeed a moderately hardy salad which can therefore tolerate a temperature of -4 to -5°C but not lower.
Maintaining your arugula crop
Admittedly easy to grow, the arugula still needs some attention throughout its development, and until it is ready to be tasted.
We maintain a sufficient humidity to allow the arugula plants to develop well. So the soil should never be completely dry between two waterings. In the middle of summer, especially where the hot weather sets in for a long time, this requires a great vigilance because the arugula which is installed in full sun in certain geographical areas is likely to lack water, to quickly form flowers and therefore to go to seed too early. In addition, its taste becomes pungent under such conditions, which is not as pleasant to taste and may put off some palates.
However, we can console ourselves by falling back on the arugula flowers since they are groceries. They also have a slightly peppery taste.
It is necessary that hoe regularly its beds of arugula to keep the soil fresh, loose and eliminate weeds as soon as they appear.
Ask a foot mulching arugula is a great solution. This limits the development of undesirable weeds and waters a little less since mulch retains soil moisture by slowing down the evaporation process.
Protect from freezing
Although arugula supports some moderately negative temperatures, the gardener has every interest in protecting his plants from autumn sowing under a winter veil or a tunnel.
Pests and diseases
We can appreciate the fact that arugula is a salad whose leaves do not particularly attract snails and slugs because of their strong taste, although they are very tender. These undesirables may nevertheless be interested in racine of this plant. A little gravel distributed around the vegetable garden limits the invasion of gastropods because they find it difficult to progress on this type of soil.
On the other hand, the fear of gardeners is thecabbage flea beetle, an insect pest that can ruin an entire crop. Flea beetles cause a lot of tiny holes in lettuce leaves. The only solution to avoid being attacked by this parasite is simply to install a anti-insect filet upon lifting.
Arugula is not susceptible to any particular disease as long as the plants are not too crowded. On the other hand, if the air does not circulate sufficiently between the lettuces, if the leaves are wet by watering and if the plants are immersed in water, there is a risk of having to face maladies cryptogamiques like the gray rot and the mildew. It is therefore enough to adopt the right gestures from planting to prevent these fungal diseases.
Harvest the arugula
Harvesting arugula is possible about forty days after the start of its cultivation. It is picked as and when needed in order to taste it ultra fresh and tasty. To harvest arugula, simply cut the leaves at ground level with a sharp knife.
Arugula brings character to mesclun, that is to say to a mixture of varieties of vegetable plants in the form of leaves or very young shoots. For a house mesclunwe can associate for example arugula, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, frisee, batavia, escarole, chicory, oak leaves, lamb’s lettuce, tetragone and parsley.