Compared to Cultivated Arugula, Wild Arugula is slower growing, ready in about 50 days, with more deeply lobed leaves and a more pungent flavor. This is the type of Arugula (also called Rucola or Rocket) that grows wild in the countryside around Rome. Seeds of Arugula selvatica are much smaller than Arugula Coltivata seeds.
Arugula has been grown since Roman times, reputedly as an aphrodisiac, and is used widely in Italian cuisine. It's great as a salad ingredient, or simply eaten alone with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. In Italy, it is often wilted over hot pizza or in pasta just before serving. Ischia, an island in the Bay of Naples, has a traditional digestif liqueur made from arugula, called rucolino. Arugula pesto is made just like basil pesto, and is a good substitute when the weather is too cold for basil. Arugula survives low temperatures and is usually the first and last salad green in the garden. Under row cover, it will survive all but the coldest winters.
Sprinkle seeds about an inch apart. Replant frequently for a long season of harvest.
Direct seed 4-5 weeks before the last frost date. Scatter seeds in a well prepared bed (30-60 seeds per square foot). Tamp seeds firmly or cover them with a thin layer of sifted compost and tamp well. Keep moist until seedlings emerge, which should be 3-8 days, depending on temperature. Begin harvesting when they are 3-4 inches tall by pulling individual plants, thinning out your planting. As they get a bit larger, you can just cut an entire section about ½ inch above the soil line with a sharp knife. Taste becomes sharper as the plants mature and the temperature increases. If you allow them to flower, you can still eat them, but they will be a bit hotter. Succession plant every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest. If you grow in 4-foot wide raised beds, an 18 inch section should provide you with plenty of arugula for 2-3 weeks. For all practical purposes, no pests or diseases bother arugula.
Grown in Tennessee.
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