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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/15/2011, 2:25 pm

Let's try this since the weather updates seem to fall on deaf ears....

I plan to feature a plant each week in this section. This week I will do Arugula since I knew nothing of it a week ago...and it landed in my SFG yesterday because I couldn't resist trying something new.

ARUGULA

If you are like me, you've never heard of it. Tomatoes, carrots, lettuces are all staples in our gardens. We may branch out and try spinach, broccoli, radishes, etc. But, we wouldn't mind doing something even more foreign to us....if we only knew we would likely enjoy it.

Well, here's a great liason for you. Arugula! Consider growing some if you are planning lettuces for salads. Arugula is apparently an easy salad green to grow as soon as your soil is workable in spring. That makes it another cool season veggie that will likely bolt when the season gets too hot. But, along with spinach, I interpret this as having frost tolerance, too. Frost is most likely a thing of my past, as I am down to only a 20% chance now.

Arugula is planted almost exactly like lettuce. 1/4" deep and 4 to a square. Thin like everything else when you see the second set of true leaves. And, apparently, the shoots you thin make tasty little snacks.

Arugula matures rather quickly, too. It's ready to harvest in 35-40 days, which means sooner if you are like me. Again, like lettuce, trim the outer leaves for an ongoing harvest, as arugula grows from the inside out. Harvesting is best in early mornings so the plants don't become stressed, and the harvested portions retain water better.

This little veggie will add a spice to your lettuce mixes. One thing I want to try is to use the leaves as wraps around cherry tomatoes and just pop them in my mouth for a quick snack. Maybe even a carrot stick or cucumber slice? Can you imagine the treats your garden will hold for you if you start nibbling like this? LOL, my veggies would never make it to the table again.

I can't wait to pop these guys into my salads, along with some radishes, for a touch of zing. Hopefully, you are encouraged to give this a shot, too, if you've been waiting for a small explanation.

Have a great weekend!!
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Post  quiltbea on 4/15/2011, 3:15 pm

I like this idea. It sure can help those that never tried a crop before.

I have arugula seed but in my case, living in the north in Maine, I'm saving mine for a fall-season crop.
I've got spinach and a large variety of lettuces for spring. I wanted some greens to grow for late-season crops.

I understand arugula is a great fall crop, too, because it can take some frosts and if one has a coldframe and extra hoop covering inside as well, one can grow arugula right into December around my neck of the woods.

I'm going to try it this year for the first time.
Thanks again for the info.
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Post  kjenkins82 on 4/15/2011, 3:41 pm

I've got two squares of arugula growing as we speak. I love the peppery flavor but my boyfriend doesn't care for it at all. (More for me!) I think with arugula you either love it or hate it. If you want to use it for something other than salads, it is great on pizza or tossed in with pasta. Can't wait to harvest some of mine!
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Post  FarmerValerie on 4/15/2011, 4:25 pm

Show off.

Just kidding great idea!!! Oh and great read!
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Post  staf74 on 4/15/2011, 4:30 pm

You may remember that I tried Arugula this spring but it bolted after just 3 weeks.....and that was in late March !!! Not sure why, transplant stress perhaps. I wish it hung around longer, the leaves had a kind of spicy hint to them but a neat addition to salads.
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Post  kjenkins82 on 4/15/2011, 4:32 pm

When I read the subject and saw Arugula, I thought for a second you were going to go A to Z! Now that would be impressive. Wonder if we could come up with something for all those tricky letters?
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Post  FarmerValerie on 4/15/2011, 4:35 pm

@kjenkins82 wrote:When I read the subject and saw Arugula, I thought for a second you were going to go A to Z! Now that would be impressive. Wonder if we could come up with something for all those tricky letters?

Good one, I say go for it!!!
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Post  sherryeo on 4/15/2011, 8:31 pm

BYBG - I think that's a great idea! There are veggies I've never tried growing that I'd love to learn more about. I think this topic's a winner!

BTW, I just read a hint in Mother Earth News magazine about interplanting arugula with shallots. The person who'd tried it said that the fast-growing arugula smothered any weeds and showed remarkably little damage from the flea beetles, which often plague it. The arugula was ready to harvest just when the shallots needed room to grow. I wonder whether it would have the same benefits if you used green onions (scallions) instead of the shallots. I think I'll eventually try it!
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Post  clfraser on 4/15/2011, 9:00 pm

I will have to try some Arugula in the fall. It is already too hot here I am sure. My 4 yr old loves veggies and those snack ideas sound right up her alley.
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Post  scubadoo on 4/15/2011, 10:40 pm

Awesome idea! Please keep this topic going! I never would've thought of growing that, but I love peppery things, so now I'm going to plan on that for a fall crop! Friday's Rookie Topic I 109486
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Post  GlassHen on 4/16/2011, 9:14 am

I would've never thought about planting arugula in the garden. I LOVE arugula! Thanks for sharing.
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Post  dizzygardener on 4/16/2011, 9:36 am

Great idea BBG!

I just recently found out that I LOVE arugula! There was some arugula in my Mesclun mix pack. I'd never really had it before.

Two salads later, hubbie and I are hooked on it. I need to get some seeds.

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Post  FarmerValerie on 4/16/2011, 9:48 am

You mentioned using the leaves as wraps, great idea, you can also use cabbage leaves instead of tortillas for wraps.
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Post  herblover on 4/16/2011, 10:14 am

I love arugula! That will be planted hopefully tomorrow as part of the second wave of spring greens planting.
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Post  boog1 on 4/16/2011, 3:06 pm

ARUGULA

If you are like me, you've never heard of it. Tomatoes, carrots, lettuces are all staples in our gardens. We may branch out and try spinach, broccoli, radishes, etc. But, we wouldn't mind doing something even more foreign to us...

i've heard of it never had an interest as far as eating not a real big veggie eater, mostly growin a garden for the other half. she likes her salads this year its fennel and kale never heard of either till she informed me she wanted me to grow some for her.


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Post  middlemamma on 4/16/2011, 3:09 pm

This is a great topic idea, there are a lot of veggies I have never tried. SFG has changed some of that but some things I just am not going to grow if I don't know what to do with it. Smile
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Post  pattipan on 4/16/2011, 3:31 pm

I plant arugula as a trap crop. It was not intentionally so the first time I grew it, but I've discovered that fleas beetles love it! So my spring planting it becomes a trap crop, then I plant it again in late summer for eating. tongue

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/16/2011, 9:39 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:Show off.

You know it...Wink

Glad it seems a hit. Taking all suggestions. I love researching new things for the garden. Fire 'em up and I'll see what I can't get covered.....or uncovered.
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Post  shannon1 on 4/17/2011, 1:22 am

Love the topic Idea. I have grown Arugula before a might too peppery for me but I think the idea of useing it as a pizza topping is a great idea. It is also called rocket salad because it grows so fast. It is fun to see it grow bigger every day.
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Post  boog1 on 4/17/2011, 11:38 am

well i guess between makin a midnight run to a compost pile i gotta stop by menards now for some arugula seeds, other half thinks she wants ta grow some ta put on our homemade pizza's Friday's Rookie Topic I 926169 thanks guys i knew it was a bad idea ta let her read this post Friday's Rookie Topic I 926169



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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/17/2011, 2:02 pm

@boog1 wrote:well i guess between makin a midnight run to a compost pile i gotta stop by menards now for some arugula seeds, other half thinks she wants ta grow some ta put on our homemade pizza's Friday's Rookie Topic I 926169 thanks guys i knew it was a bad idea ta let her read this post Friday's Rookie Topic I 926169



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Always glad to help. You guys do more damage to me than good, too, sometimes when it comes to the Mrs. Friday's Rookie Topic I 833560
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