Rocket (Eruca sativa) is part of the large family of Brassicaceae to which the cabbages belong. His young leaves are consumed floods in salads, and are very popular for their subtly peppery taste with a touch of refreshing bitterness. Over time, they get tougher. If one waits to harvest, then arugula leaves should be cooked. Easy to grow and compact, arugula finds its place in all vegetable gardens and even in pots. Let’s see when to sow it and how to care for this variety of salad for mesclun until we can harvest it.
It is necessary to well work the land from the garden before sow the arugula in place. This therefore requires digging, removing the stones, carefully weeding, loosening the soil and then amending it by adding compost. Once the soil is well prepared, all that remains is to sow the arugula as follows:
- Draw furrows spaced about 25 cm apart,
- Sow at a depth of 1 cm at the rate of one rocket seed every 2 cm,
- Water in fine rain.
About 7 days after sowing, we are pleased to see that the lifting is already well underway. As soon as the seedlings have formed 3 sheets, it is necessary to switch tothinning in order to keep only one plant every 7 or 8 cm. Of course, we only keep the most vigorous.
It is not not advisable to sow arugula in pots because it involves transplanting. However, this action causes a stress and usually transplanted plants go to seed early. It is therefore better to sow in place when the temperatures are fairly mild. Each gardener must choose the most favorable time according to his climate.
As to semi potted arugula, it is quite possible which is also very appreciable if you only have a balcony. In this case, gardening experts advise sowing directly in the final pot at the rate of 3 or 4 seeds per container, not more, and to keep only 2 seedlings during thinning. This method avoids having to transplant the young salads.
Whether you opt for sowing in the ground or in pots, it is essential to ensure that the soil is always moist by watering in fine rain.
Arugula likes loose floors, fresh and rich in humus and appreciate them sunny exposures. However, in areas with a hot climate, it should be planted in a semi-shaded area because the great summer heat makes its culture more difficult.
This variety of salad can be sown at two times of the year: from March to June depending on the region because the risk of frost must be avoided, and in September or October if you want to take advantage of a harvest in winter. It is indeed a moderately rustic salad which can therefore tolerate a temperature of -4 to -5 ° C but not lower.
Maintain your arugula culture
While easy to grow, arugula still needs some attention throughout its development, and until it’s ready to be tasted.
We maintain a sufficient humidity to allow the arugula plants to develop well. The soil should therefore never be completely dry between two waterings. In the middle of summer, especially where the hot weather sets in permanently, this requires very great vigilance because the rocket which is installed in full sun in certain geographical zones risks to lack water, to quickly form flowers and therefore to go to seed too early. In addition, its taste becomes pungent under such conditions, which is not as pleasant to taste and may put off some palates.
However, we can console ourselves by falling back on arugula flowers since they are edible. They also taste slightly peppery.
It is necessary that hoe regularly its arugula beds to keep the soil cool, loose and eliminate weeds as soon as they appear.
Ask a mulching at the foot arugula is a great solution. This limits the development of unwanted weeds and water a little less since a mulch retains soil moisture by slowing down the evaporation process.
Protect from freezing
Although arugula can withstand some moderately negative temperatures, the gardener has every interest in protecting his plants resulting from autumn sowing under a wintering veil or a tunnel.
Parasites and diseases
We can appreciate the fact that arugula is a salad whose leaves do not particularly attract snails and slugs because of their strong taste, although they are very tender. These unwanted people may nevertheless be interested in the root of this plant. A little gravel distributed around the vegetable garden limits the invasion of gastropods because they have difficulty in progressing on this type of soil.
On the other hand, the fear of gardeners is thecabbage flea beetle, a pest insect that can ruin an entire crop. Flea beetles cause a lot of tiny holes in salad leaves. The only solution not to suffer the onslaught of this parasite is quite simply to install a insect net upon emergence.
Arugula is not susceptible to any particular disease as long as the plants are not too tightly packed. On the other hand, if the air does not circulate sufficiently between the salads, if the leaves are wetted by watering and if the plants are immersed in water, there is a risk of having to deal with cryptogamic diseases as the gray rot and the mildew. It is therefore sufficient to adopt the right gestures from planting to prevent these fungal diseases.
Harvest the arugula
Arugula harvest is possible forty days after the start of its cultivation. It is picked as and when needed in order to enjoy it ultra fresh and tasty. To harvest arugula, simply cut the leaves at ground level with a sharp knife.
Arugula brings character to mesclun, that is to say to a mixture of varieties of vegetable plants in the form of leaves or very young shoots. For a homemade mesclun, one can associate for example arugula, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, curly, batavia, escarole, chicory, oak leaves, lamb’s lettuce, tetragon and parsley.