Arugula is one of the tastiest greens to grace garden salads. Characterized by its unparalleled peppery and crisp flavors, arugula has quickly become a favorite addition to salad gardens everywhere. Just because you don’t have access to an in-ground garden doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the wonderful flavors of homegrown arugula. Like many other leafy greens, growing arugula in pots makes for an easy and enjoyable way to harvest fresh salads without leaving the comfort of your patio. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own arugula this year! In this article, you’ll find information covering the basics to growing arugula in containers, along with some helpful tips to maximize production.
How to Plant Arugula
Most gardeners start arugula from seed. It can be direct-seeded into the garden about one to two weeks before the final frost in spring. If you wish for an even earlier harvest, you can sow seeds indoors several weeks before the last frost. Like most salad greens, arugula seeds are tiny, so you have to be careful not to plant them too deep. Choose a location in full sun, or for a longer season, in an area with midday shade.
Once the seedlings emerge, thin them to a spacing of 4 to 6 inches . If you love arugula, you can succession plant more seeds every two weeks to make the most of the growing season while the mild temperatures last.
To sow the seeds, prepare the soil with compost or a high-nitrogen fertilizer, and gently flatten it out with your hand.
Soil, Water and Fertilizer
Arugula plants are happiest in well-drained soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, about 6.0 to 7.0 pH. It tolerates a variety of soil types but likes it fairly rich; add compost or high-nitrogen fertilizer as needed. If planting in pots, any good-quality potting mix will do.
Like many vegetables, arugula needs regular watering for healthy, consistent growth and optimal flavor. Keep the soil consistently moist, watering as soon as the top 1 inch of soil feels dry. In dry climates, this may mean watering every morning. If you fail to water regularly, you’ll force the plants to bolt (send up flower shoots) ruining the flavor of the leaves.
As long as you plant your arugula in nitrogen-rich soil, it shouldn’t need additional feeding. Pale leaves indicate a lack of nourishment.
How to Grow Arugula in Pots
Arugula plants are relatively small and self-contained, so they’re easy to grow in containers. Because the roots are relatively shallow, you don’t need a giant or deep container to grow the plant. As the weather warms, pots make it easy to move the plants out of the direct sun in the heat of the day, thereby extending the growing season.
Consider planting a fair amount of arugula—once you get a taste for it, you might find you’re eating a lot. Therefore, pick a container that’s wide. Although you can grow arugula in almost anything, a self-watering container makes the whole task a lot easier.
The great part with growing arugula is the ability to harvest early and often. Arugula grows at extremely quick rates and normally can be harvested starting around thirty days from seed.
- To have perpetual harvests throughout the season, pick leaves from the outside of the arugula plant. Pick as close to the base as possible and leave a good amount of inside growth to keep the plant alive and productive. The arugula will grow back quickly for continued small harvests.
- If you’re looking for a larger harvest of arugula, allow your plants to grow out to 40-50 days old without harvesting any outside leaves. After this amount of time, the arugula plants will be large and can be harvested whole. Plant more seeds to restart the process.