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Eruca sativa


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Baby salad greens (25 days); mature (45 days). Originating from the Mediterranean region, Arugula is a cool weather loving plant – grow it outdoors in spring and fall or in a hoophouse over the winter (see Growing Instructions tab). This versatile plant can be grown as an edible cover crop/ground cover. Tolerates some shade. This plant is known for its unique flavor. Baby salad greens are mild and tender with a touch of spice, while mature leaves develop a big peppery punch! If harvesting mature arugula, the peppery flavor can be mellowed out with cooking. They benefit from a good sauté, braise, stir-fry or steaming. Try it in soups or in any dish calling for cooked greens. Arugula also makes a great pesto!

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Growing Instructions(for USDA zone 5b):

Arugula is a cool-loving crop.  Start seeds asap in spring directly in soil in hoophouse (Feb. 1st), coldframe (Feb 15th) or outside (March 27). Days to germination: 5-7. For baby greens, broadcast sow seeds or sow seeds in rows 3" apart (sow seeds 1/8” deep). Plant every 2 weeks to have a constant supply. Keep soil moist. For fall production, sow it no later than Aug. 15th or for winter hoophouse production sow Sept. 1st (cover arugula inside the hoophouse when temps drop below 15°). Arugula is a cold hardy crop that is resistant to downy mildew. It can grow in part shade.



Baby Leaves: for cut-and-come-again, when leaves are 3-4”, cut entire plant with scissors 1-2" above soil level so you don’t damage the growing crown. Return for several harvests. Harvest mature leaves as desired.  Eventually the plants will begin to “bolt” (flower) and make seed. (See Seed Saving Instructions.)


Seed Saving Instructions (for gardeners):

Arugula is an easy seed saving plant. It is insect pollinated and is a cross-pollinated plant but since most arugula grown is the common arugula type, isolation from other arugulas is not usually necessary. Will not cross with Perennial Arugula which is a different species. Minimum population size: 10 plants. Collect seeds from the best plants once pods have turned from green to tan but before seeds have been released. Clean seed as a dry-seeded crop.

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Seed Stories

Arugula is a member of the Brassicaceae (Mustard) family, along with many other crops including broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, and radish. These “Brassicas”, as they are called, originated in the Mediterranean: a region with cool (but not cold) winters. This is why Arugula is such a cool weather-loving plant. Arugula has long been an important part of the cuisines of Italy, Morocco, Portugal and Turkey. It was brought to the U.S. by early British colonists, but did not gain popularity until the 1990s. It is now grown all over the world. Given Arugula’s tolerance for cold temperatures, more and more farmers and gardeners in the Great Lakes region are growing it with the increased use of season extension and hoophouses. 


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Growing Instructions