Saturday, June 23, 2012

Arugula for Fall and Winter Gardens

Arugula is one of my favorite organic vegetables. It is expensive in the markets but extremely easy to grow in the home garden, even in pots and other containers. I just finished writing Fall and Winter Gardening: 25 Organic Vegetables to Plant and Grow for Late Season Food, my latest e-book (it's now online, so please click on the title to take a look). Arugula is one of the 25 late season vegetables you can grow well into the fall and even winter, since it is hardy down to at least 15 degrees F. 

Here is a brief crop profile from the book:

Arugula (Roquette)

·         Edible Portion: Leafy greens
·         Days to Maturity: 35 for baby leaves, 45-50 for larger leaves
·         Spacing: Space seeds 4-6 inches apart in rows 6 inches apart
·         Planting: Plant seeds ¼ inch deep
·         Temperature for Seed Germination: 40 F (min.), 67 F (ideal)
·         Germination Time: 5-7 days
·         Transplant Seedlings at: 2-4 weeks

Arugula is a vigorous plant with green leaves that carry a sharp, peppery flavor. It has been a favorite at many gourmet restaurants. Young leaves are somewhat mild and can be eaten raw in salads. They are commonly used in salad mixes to provide an element of spice. Larger leaves are spicier and need to be cooked, which removes much of the sharp flavor. Those who enjoy the taste of arugula can use it as a spinach substitute in any recipe. Arugula is a great source of vitamins A and C as well as iron. Here is a picture.

I hope you try growing some this fall. If you like baby salad greens with a peppery tang, you'll love this fast and easy growing vegetable!

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