There is nothing like the tangy, mustard-like taste of arugula to add extra flavor to a mesclun salad tossed with radishes. They are delicious and straightforward to grow, and a bed of arugula provides you with a continuous supply of greens throughout the growing season. Learn when to plant and how to grow arugula from seed indoors and outside in the garden.
Rocket or roquette arugula is an annual plant with a compact root system. It is from the Brassicaceae family, a relative of kale, cabbage, and broccoli, and is one of the more popular salad greens.
There are different types of arugula plants, including Astro, Italian Cress, Slow Bolt, and Wild arugula, and they are all relatively easy to grow in a garden bed or container.
We think of kale and spinach as healthy and often overlook arugula, but there are many benefits to eating this leafy green. It contains vitamin C and antioxidants for a strong immune system, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, and other beneficial nutrients.
Arugula plants (Eruca sativa) are delicious whether you eat the tender leaves fresh from the garden or enjoy microgreens, and they’re even better when you grow your own organically.
Growing Arugula Plants from Seed
Growing arugula from seed is one of the easiest gardening tasks you’ll probably encounter. However, it is a cool season crop, and the plants require the right temperature to thrive.
They are low maintenance, too, as long as you give them the right amount of sunshine and water during arugula season. Learn what arugula needs to grow healthy and how to plant arugula seeds indoors and in an outdoor setting in a few simple steps.
Discover the growing conditions arugula varieties demand to germinate and mature, how to give them the care they need, and things to watch for while they grow.
Things to Understand before Growing Arugula from Seed
Before growing arugula from seed, there are a few important points to note. Learn when to plant arugula seeds indoors and the best time to plant them in the garden or raised beds.
Explore their soil, sun, and temperature requirements to ensure they produce healthy arugula leaves. Arugula plants (Eruca vesicaria ssp. Sativa) enjoy cool weather, and hot weather causes bolting, which ends the harvest season.
To grow arugula outdoors, it’s vital to sow the seeds as soon as you can work the dirt in the early spring or late summer and early fall for a winter harvest. The young leaves take roughly six to eight weeks to mature after sowing, and they tolerate a light frost.
Arugula plants grow best in well-draining, rich soil and prefer slightly acidic soil but tolerate a variety of conditions. They enjoy six or more hours of full sun but providing them with some partial shade during the sunniest time of the day is an excellent way to prevent bolting.
How to Plant Arugula Seeds Indoors
While planting arugula seeds indoors is pretty straightforward, they need the right temperature and moisture to germinate. Here is how to plant arugula seeds in an indoor setting so you get to enjoy leafy greens straight from your kitchen window.
Start seeds indoors by choosing the appropriate garden pot. We prefer a long and narrow planter since it’s the perfect size for sitting on a kitchen windowsill. Fill the pot with potting mix and sow the seeds a quarter of an inch deep in the dirt.
Spray the surface with a spray bottle until the soil is moist but not soggy, and set the pot in front of a window where it receives as much sun as possible. Keep the dirt damp and thin the seedlings after germination with six-inch spacing.
How to Grow Arugula from Seed in the Garden
If you have a patio, porch, or garden bed, planting arugula from seed in the outdoor garden or container is a great way to produce a large crop of greens.
However, timing is key when sowing seeds directly outdoors. Learn the right time to plant arugula seeds outside and care for and harvest the plants throughout the season.
In the early spring, sow the seeds a quarter-inch deep in the prepared garden bed or outdoor container. Space them an inch apart with rows ten inches apart.
Water the dirt gently right after planting and keep the ground damp but not soggy to promote germination. Once the seedlings erupt, thin them out so they are six inches apart and spread a layer of mulch over the ground around them.
As your plants grow, keep an eye out for pests like aphids and flea beetles. Consider using row covers to prevent them from destroying your plants, remove the insects by hand, or use insecticidal soap to kill them.
Harvesting arugula leaves is the fun part. Older leaves tend to be tough, and young leaves are the tastiest. In early summer, remove the entire plant when they are two to three inches long or the outer leaves as needed.
Arugula is a fast-growing plant that is so easy to start from seeds that it’s a wonder why more people aren’t growing them. The best thing about producing your own salad greens is that you know exactly where they come from and that they are free of unnecessary chemicals.
We hope that learning how to grow arugula from seed keeps your salad bowl full of healthy greens, and we’d love it if you’d share our arugula seed sowing guide and growing tips with the garden-growers in your life on Facebook and Pinterest.