|One of the aurugula plants in my garden|
I generally plant it in inhospitable areas of the yard, or where I have a weed problem and I put it there to overwhelm the weeds. That way, it can happily take over, reseed whenever, and I can pick baby leaves when I'm in the mood for the salad but largely ignore it. Not that I don't love the salad. I do. It's one of my favourite munchies while I garden. But like I said, the thing grows and grows....
So if your gardening space is limited in some way, it would be advisable to grow your arugula in a container.
How to grow arugula
Arugula grows well in Autumn and prefers full sun or semi-shade and well-drained soil. Turn the soil over, work in compost, rake it even and water thoroughly the day before you sow. Sow the seeds 1-1.5cm deep in rows that are 30cm apart.
Water it well as it grows, preferably at the end of the day, ensuring that the soil is always slightly moist, otherwise it will go to seed too quickly.
You can start harvesting the baby leaves after a month of planting. Pick only a few leaves from each plant and remember that the older the leaves are, the stronger their flavour will be.
Also keep in mind that the frequency with which you nip out the flower and seed buds will determine the duration of your arugula harvest.
For a continuous harvest, you may choose to sow some arugula seeds every couple of weeks. I tend to let one or two plants go to seed and let them reseed the patch.
Here's a very simple recipe that I found online and which I adapt and use quite often:450g/1lb tomatoes chopped into chunks
- 50g/2oz arugula, stalks removed
- A dash of salt
- A dash of freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 tbsp good quality extra virgin oil
Sometimes I add strawberries with feta, apple chunks or avocado to the above recipe. For a warm rocket salad, I add freshly roasted pumpkin, butternut or squash with nuts into the mix, with or without the tomato.
You can also throw in a few arugula leaves into your lettuce salad from extra flavour, or put it into a casserole or stew to use as a herb/add flavour, though I haven't tried the latter yet.
Anyhoo, try it; grow it in a small container if you're not sure you'll like the taste of it. At worst, you'll end up with a container full of pretty white flowers:-)