Thursday, February 18, 2010

i LOVE Arugula!

My husband first discovered arugula after a business trip to Argentina a few years ago. Down there, they dress it simply, using only a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, letting the peppery flavour shine through. When he asked me to pick some arugula up from the store so that we could re-create this salad at home, I discovered that arugula was hard to find. When I finally found it, I discovered that it was also expensive!

Luckily, we have a garden, so I ordered a large packet of seeds and we started to grow our own the following spring.

Arugula is a gardener's dream for several reasons:

1) It is very easy to grow! Sun, partial shade, cool weather, unexpected frost, whatever! Arugula can take it...
2) It grows very fast - I've had seed germinate in just 24 hours! Generally, we're harvesting baby leaves in less than 30 days.
3) It thrives in the fall/winter garden - especially when sheltered in a cold frame or a mini-hoop house.

Did I mention that it's delicious? To grow your own, simply sow the seeds in the garden as soon as you can work the soil in the spring - late March/early April if possible. Continue to sow more seed every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest. In the heat of summer (not that we get much heat!), arugula will go to seed quickly, so I usually stick summer plantings under pole bean teepees or A-frame trellis. This provides a break from the hot sun, and delays bolting (going to seed).

Happy Gardening!

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