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Arugula

Direct-sow Arugula as soon as the ground can be worked in the early spring and sow every two weeks through fall for successive scissor- or mature harvest. Sow thickly for scissor-harvested baby leaves, and thin out to 6" apart for mature plants. Use garden fabric to protect it from flea beetles (that cause the tiny pin-size holes), and shade netting to protect it from the heat of high summer when it can bolt and become too tangy. An excellent choice for overwintering, Arugula launches itself out of the ground quickly, hence its nickname, Rocket. Its stimulating, tangy taste has been coveted since Roman times, and is perfect in mixed garden salads with softer-flavored greens like Mache, Endive and Lettuce, sandwiches, as a bed for poultry or fish, and as homegrown Sprouts. To broaden the range of texture and flavor in your garden and salads, don t forget to plant some of these specialty Salad Greens: Arugula, Asian Greens, Chervil, Claytonia, Cress, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Escarole, Frisee, Giant Red Mustard, Komatsuna, Lettuce, Mache, Mibuna, Minutina, Mizuna, Orach, Radicchio, Salad Blends, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Tatsoi.

Average seed life: 1 year.

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Gardening Tips

Direct-Sow Basics

Arugula Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1⁄8"-1⁄4"
Row Spacing: 12"-18”
Seed Spacing: 2"
Days to Germination: 5-14 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-70°F

Salad Greens yield the tastiest and most tender leaves when grown quickly in cool weather. Sow directly as soon as the soil may be worked in the spring and/or in the fall, about 6 weeks before the first fall frost. Follow the spacing on the chart above or broadcast seed in a well-dug bed in moderately fertile soil amended with compost and/or well-rotted manure. A light sprinkling of soil over the seed is sufficient, tamp down lightly and water well. For larger plants, thin seedlings to 10" to 12" apart. To harvest in the “cut and come again” method, you don’t need to thin them out. Just give them a haircut when they are 3" to 4" tall. Weed scrupulously and keep soil evenly moist. Feed with kelp or fish emulsion. Make successive sowings at 2 week intervals until hot summer weather sets in for a steady crop. Hot weather causes bolting and a bitter taste!

Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

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