How To Grow Arugula – Growing Arugula From Seed
Growing arugula from seed is not difficult but it takes time and patience. Arrogant as it may seem, arugula seeds are small and easy to miss! You will need to start with a good soil mix that contains organic matter like compost or manure.
Then you have to wait until the plant starts producing leaves and stems before starting your planting efforts.
You can either buy arugula seeds online or from local nurseries. Some farmers sell their own homegrown arugula plants too. If you do not want to bother yourself with the hassle of buying seeds, then just look for fresh green shoots at your nearest garden center.
They are usually located near the produce section. You might even see them hanging from the ceiling or under glass cases!
If you are lucky enough to live close to a farm where they grow arugula, then chances are they probably already have some ready-made seed mixes available. Just ask the farmer if he/she has any special varieties that would suit your needs. The best way is to go there and try out their products first hand!
But if you’re like most of us then you will probably get your seeds online. In this case, order from sites that have good reputation and are known to ship live seeds. Such sites would also typically feature guides and tips on growing vegetables in general.
They might have sections that are specific to arugula so be on the lookout.
The common name for seeds is actually ‘Arugula’ or ‘Roquette’. (Not ‘rocket’ as many people call it) The scientific name for arugula is “Eruca vesicaria”. In case you’re wondering, the word “Eruca” is the actual name of the plant while “vesicaria” is Latin for “bladder” and describes the shape of the seeds.
The seeds are very small so you will need to plan your sowing carefully. It is good to have a tray or flat with fine soil ready before hand. We will talk about soil in the next step.
If you want, you can use a mechanical seeder (this is what I do) or use a spoon. Just space them out evenly and lightly cover with soil. You can also use paper cups or empty tuna cans for this purpose. Fill each container with soil and make holes in it with a pencil.
As mentioned before, arugula seeds are very small. To make things easier you can soak the seeds in water for a few hours before planting them. This will help them swell and become more visible.
You can then take each seed between your finger and thumb and plant them carefully. Try to space them out evenly and don’t cover them in soil. Keep the containers in a cool, well-lit place (like your refrigerator!)
If you don’t want to use this method then you can just sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and gently firm it down. The seeds are so small that they will be difficult to see anyway. Just make sure that you don’t cover them with soil.
Water the containers gently and place them in a cool, well-lit area. The seeds should begin to show signs of sprouting within 2-3 days. Be careful not to over water them or the seeds will rot.
You can also sprout the seeds in paper towels. If you choose this method then be sure to place something under the paper towel so it doesn’t leak.
Once the plants are at least 4 cm tall you can transplant them to your garden.
Sources & references used in this article:
Arugula: A promising specialty leaf vegetable by M Morales, J Janick – Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS …, 2002 – academia.edu
Cultural practices to speed the growth of microgreen arugula (roquette; Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa) by C Murphy, W Pill – The Journal of Horticultural Science and …, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
Growing arugula plants using aeroponic culture with an automated irrigation system by JDR Salazar, JE Candelo-Becerra… – International Journal of …, 2020 – ijabe.org
Adagio’: A slow-bolting Arugula by MR Morales, E Maynard, J Janick – HortScience, 2006 – hort.purdue.edu
Inoculation of new rhizobial isolates improve nutrient uptake and growth of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and arugula (Eruca sativa) by EM de Souza, VL Bassani, RA Sperotto… – Journal of the …, 2016 – Wiley Online Library
Factors affecting the growth of microgreen table beet by CJ Murphy, KF Llort, WG Pill – International journal of vegetable …, 2010 – Taylor & Francis