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Growing Organic Arugula In Containers, Pots

Introduction to Growing Organic Arugula in Containers

Arugula is a leafy vegetable that is known for its health benefits and delicious taste. This leafy green is generally used in kitchens as a salad or as an addition to meals. Rocket or Arugula is an edible annual plant in the Brassicaceae family used as a leaf vegetable for its fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery flavour. Growing Arugula organically in containers can be a great way for enjoying this excellent salad green. It is used as a leaf vegetable mainly for its fresh peppery flavour. 

In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Arugula plant growing tips
  • Best organic fertilizer for Arugula
  • The best soil for growing organic Arugula
  • How do you know when Arugula is ready to harvest
  • Conditions for growing Arugula indoors

A Step by Step Guide to Organic Arugula in Containers

Growing Arugula is easy, and you can easily grow this green salad that adds a tangy, mustard-like flavor to salads. And along with salad, you can use Arugula in some other ways. However, growing Arugula organically in the home garden can be an excellent method for enjoying this vegetable.

Features of Organic Arugula Sprouting Seeds

Organic food is normally high in flavour and richer in taste. Here are some important features of organic Arugula sprouting seeds.

High-Yield – The seeds should give at least 90 to 95% yields in one soak. These seeds must come with a certified label to be suitable for everyone to use.

Sustainable – The farming and development of the seeds must be free from any toxic chemicals and pesticides.

No-Mush – A good seed must be pre-soaked without turning into mush while trying to make sprouts.

Organic Soil Preparation for Growing Arugula

Well-drained soil rich in organic matter is ideal, but the Arugula plant will tolerate a range of soil conditions. You can sow Arugula seeds a one-quarter inch deep and one inch apart in rows or you can broadcast Arugula by itself or mixed with other greens. Humus-rich and well-draining soil are what your plants will prefer. Though, they’re tolerant of a wide range of garden soil types as long as they retain moisture.  If you have sandy soil, amend it heavily with compost and horse manure and cow manure to provide extra moisture retention. Worm castings can be applied for additional moisture retention.

Hard-packed clay must be broken up by a lot of compost or manure as well. Then, this will reduce the likelihood that it will become hard and prevent easy root development. This Arugula plant needs well-drained soil with a neutral pH level to grow and thrive. Introduce amendments to the soil before and then add well-rotted manure or compost before sowing. You must prepare your garden soil in the fall if you want to plant in the spring by gently raking the garden soil so that it’s even and free of any big rocks, sticks, or dirt clods. However, if you are planting in a container, you should avoid using garden soil and buy a good potting mix.

The Arugula plant grows best in well-drained soil, but it likes a lot of moisture so water frequently. The plants also prefer a soil pH level of 6-6.5. Dig in some well-rotted manure or compost before sowing to satisfy both these needs. This should be done as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring or better yet, prepare the soil in the fall before you shut down your beds so they’ll be ready to plant for spring growing. Although the Arugula plant is adapted to grow in a variety of soils, the best results and most productive plants will come from quality soil. Ideally, organic, composted and well-draining soil should be used. Manure, compost, and other organic material can be worked into the soil where you will be planting Arugula before the season begins. These soil amendments pack the soil full of nutrition to help the Arugula plant grows healthy and strong. Simply spread manure or your desired organic materials over the area where you will be growing Arugula, then work it into the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Manure is especially high in nitrogen.

Sunlight Requirement for Growing Organic Arugula

Arugula does best when it is allowed to receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. It is crucial to point out that Arugula tends to suffer under the intense heat of the afternoon sunlight, so it is best to position your Arugula plants where they’ll be able to gain access to full morning sun and shade in the afternoon.

Different varieties of Arugula

There are two main varieties of Arugula. They are Wild Italian and common. The Wild Italian variety is flavorful how it is hard to cook with and its taste becomes bitter. So, we recommend you to buy common Arugula seeds. Common seeds will develop tasty leafy greens that are very easy to cook.

Choose Container for Growing Organic Arugula

If you are growing Arugula in a container, remember that these leafy vegetables need a large-sized pot to grow. The pot must be at least 24 inches wide and deep. Make sure that has a good number of drainage holes and drainage is very important.

Process of Growing Organic Arugula from the Seed

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Growing Organic Arugula from the Seed.
Growing Organic Arugula from the Seed

Step 1) Arugula plant can be easily sown from seed and you can begin planting as soon as the soil thaws in spring. Find a spot in full sun or partial shade, and sow seeds about 1/4-inch-deep in rows 10 inches apart, leaving about an inch between each. If you prefer, you can broadcast seeds and thin later to 3 or 4 inches apart. Arugula seeds should germinate within just a few days.

Step 2) Arugula’s modest space requirements and rapid growth make it an excellent choice for indoor growing as well. You’ll need a pot at least 6 inches in diameter for a single Arugula plant, or a larger windowsill planter for multiple plants. Soil depth can be as little as 4 inches, though for continuous harvesting you must have at least 6 to 8 inches. The plants must get plenty of daylight, but they don’t necessarily need direct sunlight.

Step 3) Arugula is usually direct-seeded and plant small sections every 3 weeks for continuous harvests. Optimum seed germination occurs at soil temperatures from 60–70°F, but seeds will germinate at as low as 45°F. For best results, sow seeds thickly, about 1 inch apart from each other, 1/8-1/4 inches deep in 4 inches wide bands, allowing 6-8 inches between rows to allow weed cultivation; or broadcast seed over a weed-free bed. Arugula can be grown to maturity in containers.

Step 4) Arugula plant prefers nutrient-rich soil but is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions. It is important to keep plants well-watered. Arugula plant has a shallow root system, so it needs consistent and frequent watering, or it will dry out. Water the base of plants instead of the plant leaves to reduce the chances of mildew and blight.

Step 5) Plant them to a depth of about 1/4 inch and a spacing of about 4 to 6 inches depending on how early you plan to harvest leaves. Alternatively, you can broadcast the Arugula seeds and thin them after they begin growing.

Step 6) If you’ve chosen a quality potting soil, you must be able to continually harvest Arugula leaves for months without fertilizing. If the Arugula plants do begin to lose vigour, a balanced 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted to half the usual strength will bring them back to full health.

Step 7) Arugula plant isn’t especially fussy about its growing conditions, though it prefers reasonably loose and well-drained soil. Then, it likes to have plenty of light, but that can be a problem as the weather warms up. If you want to harvest throughout the warmer months, plant it in spots where there will be plenty of morning light but also shade from the afternoon’s heat. The plants don’t require fertilizer to flourish, though they’ll appreciate a soil enriched with well-aged manure or compost.

Water Requirement for Growing Organic Arugula

Arugula requires frequent regular watering and you should water your plant at least once a week. Though, don’t waterlog the soil. You can tell that your greens need watering when the top about 2 inches of the soil is dry to the touch.

Organic Fertilizers for Growing Arugula

Arugula does best when they receive fertilizer and the soil is amended with organic material before they are planted. About every 2 weeks once Arugula plants have their first true leaves; gardeners should apply a balanced water-soluble or granular fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer where the three numbers separated by hyphens are equal or as close to equal as possible, such as a 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 blend. Arugula plants do best when they get a dose at half the strength directed on the package every 2 weeks.

Before sowing Arugula seeds, gardeners must work several inches of well-rotted manure, aged compost, fish emulsion, or another nutritious organic material into the top 6 to 12 inches of soil where Arugula will be planted. It’s best to amend the soil in the fall before planting in the spring so there’s plenty of time for the additive to break down and then release its nutrients into the soil before Arugula is planted.

Organic Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Arugula

Arugula plants are susceptible to some common garden pests such as cabbage worms, downy mildew, and flea beetles etc. Use homemade organic insecticides or other organic ways for preventing all these pests.

Pests – The worst pest of Arugula for many is the flea beetle and these hungry little pests chew holes in the leaves. Their larvae live in the soil and will gnaw on plant roots. It’s essential to prevent these from taking hold in the garden. Neem oil and pyrethrin sprays are effective organic treatments against flea beetles, although pyrethrin seems to be effective at killing them.

Aphids are the other issue you’ll encounter. The cabbage aphid, green peach aphid, and potato aphid are all drawn to your growing Arugula plants. These garden pests spread disease and suck the moisture out of the Arugula plants. Neem oil, pyrethrin, or insecticidal soap is effective to control methods.

Diseases – One of the common diseases on Arugula is downy mildew. Then, this causes yellowish spotting on the upper surfaces of the leaf, with grey mildew or mold-like substance underneath. It is easily treated with organic liquid copper fungicide. You can prevent the development of downy mildew disease with regular applications of neem oil.

When the temperature is warm and there is a lot of humidity in the air, plants are at risk of developing a bacterial leaf spot. Usually a Pseudomonas species, these bacteria have no organic cure available. Treatment if discovered is to remove infected plant leaves, then spray the remainder of the plant weekly with a liquid copper fungicide to ensure that any remaining spores can’t spread.

Finally, damping-off caused by Pythium fungi in the soil can be a real issue for very young plants. Then, plant in sterile soil when possible so that you aren’t at risk of planting in contaminated soil. If growing Arugula in an older bed, pre-treat the seeds and planting area with beneficial mycorrhizae to reduce the likelihood of the Pythium attacking. Remove plants that show signs of damping-off and avoid growing Arugula leaves in areas where this has happened previously.

When and How to Harvest Arugula

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How to Harvest Arugula.
How to Harvest Arugula.

Plant maturity is reached around 1-2 months. Though, young leaves can be harvested in just a little over 2 weeks. Look for plants that have reached a height of 3-4 inches and begin your harvest to acquire a milder flavor leaf and to encourage continued and abundant leaf growth. As you notice a decrease in leaf growth or flavor, cease harvesting the smaller plant leaves.

When it comes time to harvest your Arugula plant, pick leaves in the evening. Picking in the evening time also prevents harvest during wet times and will help reduce soggy leaves. Once Arugula is picked, store leaves wrapped in cloth or paper towels and located in a perforated plastic bag. Then, keep the bagged Arugula in the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator for up to 10 days. However, note that some flavor may be lost after 5 to 6 days. Once summer arrives, leaves quickly turn bitter, and the plant shifts into flower production. So harvesting timely is very important. The taste of the Arugula leaves is best when they are young. You can start harvesting the leaves when they are about 2 to 3 inches long. While harvesting, you can pull the whole plant or cut individual leaves. The white flowers of the Arugula plants are also edible.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Arugula in Containers

How long does Arugula take to grow?

After germination, Arugula can take anywhere from 45 to 60 days to grow.

Why is my Arugula plant wilting?

Improper watering, poor lighting, and pests can all cause Arugula plants to wilt. Water and light issues can affect any type of vegetable and are the simplest to fix. Wilt may affect older leaves or it may hit all the foliage at once.

How often do you water Arugula?                                                   

Arugula plant will do best when the soil is kept moist. While the soil must be kept thoroughly moist, avoid overwatering. Root rot can set in quickly if the soil is allowed to become waterlogged and advice to water every other day or when the top inch of soil has become dry.

What do white spots on plant leaves mean?

This fungus impacts cruciferous vegetables including Arugula plants; you’ll see it show up as white spots underneath the leaves. You can also apply a fungicide to the soil to eliminate the problem in future crops.

Should I soak Arugula seeds before planting?

Soaking the Arugula seed for a few hours may speed germination. Baby leaves will be ready to harvest in 7 to 8 weeks. Common Arugula germinates in about ten days and is ready to harvest about 5 weeks later.

How long does it take for Arugula seed to germinate?

Arugula seeds germinate about a week after planting, so when seedlings reach 1 inch tall, thin them out so that the plants are spaced 3 to 4 inches apart.

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