Arugula, it has become a household word since its endorsement by the First Lady. But Flotus was exactly right! Arugula or rocket is a tasty treasure trove of healthful vitamins and compounds with no known downside.
Arugula can be planted in the garden as early as the soil can be turned with a spade, and will grow in almost any sort of soil. It matures in just 40 days and be selectively picked to extend the harvest for a few weeks. It can be planted again in the fall for a second crop.
Arugula requires no fertilizers, a little compost is always good and some should be added to the soil before planting. Plant the seeds 1/4 inch deep. Seeds will germinate in 4 to 8 days.
Use the leaves when they are young and tender, they have a tangy, almost peppery hot taste and this becomes unbearable if the leaves get too large – they can grow to 3 feet in height – and they become tough and stringy in the bargain.
However, if a few plants are allowed to mature and run to seed, they will self-seed very well. By this method a permanent arugula bed can be maintained year after year.
Arugula, because if its pungency has very few insect pests. The exception is those green caterpillars that like cabbages. They should be hand-picked as soon as they appear.
Now what about those health benefits? First of all, it has amazing antioxidant potential. It contains a smorgasbord of phytochemicals, DIM, folates, and useful levels of vitamins A, B-complex, C and K. Read all about this tiny green pharmacy right here.
There is no downside. Arugula is a leafy green which practically grows itself, and is a wonderful health food. If you haven’t grown arugula in the past make room for it in this year’s garden. You will be glad that you did!
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