Edible rocket or Arugula (Eruca sativa)
Eruca sativa commonly known as Arugula or Edible rocket is an annual plant whose leaves are increasingly used for culinary purposes being consumed raw or cooked. Rocket leaves have a bitter taste, but young and tender leaves or those grown in colder climate tend to be less bitter and considered more suitable for salads. Seeds can also be consumed, and are sometimes used to replace mustard seeds.
In this article
Plant profileCommon name: Arugula, Edible rocket
Scientific name: Eruca sativa
Plant type: Vegetables
Height: 10cm - 50cm
Spread: 10cm - 50cm
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial shade
Moisture: Moist but well drained
Garden type: Mediterranean Garden
Planting type: Flower borders and bedding
Other characteristics: Edible leaves
At harvest time this plant reaches 10 to 30 cm in height, depending on the cultivated variety and growing conditions. During flowering, it can reach up to 50cm to 1 meter in height.
Arugula is a vegetable that grows best under temperatures between 15 to 23ºC, that is, in mild climates. At higher temperatures the plant tends to bloom earlier and its leaves will be harder and bitter. Although it can withstand harsh winters with temperatures of 0 ° C, younger plants may require protection and are grown in greenhouses for this purpose.
In summer, arugula should be grown under partial shade to produce good quality leaves. In spring, autumn and winter can be grown under full sun.
The soil should be well drained, fertile, rich in organic matter, with pH between 6 and 7.
Water rocket frequently so that the soil is always kept moist, however, it should never be soaked, good drainage is essential.
How to plant
You can sow arugula directly in the final location, superficially or at a depth not exceeding 0.5 cm in the soil. The seeds germinate rapidly normally in 4 to 8 days. When the plants reach about 10 cm in height, you must remove excess plants to achieve adequate spacing. If appropriate, the seeds may also be sown in trays and when the plants are large enough to be handled, they are transplanted to the final growing spot.
The recommended spacing varies with the cultivated variety and purpose, being 15 to 60 cm between the crop lines and 10 to 30 cm between the plants.
Keep the growing area free of weeds and invasive plants that compete for light and nutrients with arugula.
Harvesting arugula can be done from 20 to 65 days. Like lettuce, you can tear off the whole plant or pick only the well-developed leaves, in which case the harvest may last for weeks. In any case, the harvest should be done before the plant starts to bloom, because at that time the leaves are usually very bitter.