Table of Contents
- History of Arugula
- Light Requirements
- Soil Preferences
- How To Properly Sow Arugula
- The Thinning Technique
- Water Requirements
- Fertilizing Requirements
- Arugula Dishes
- The Wrap-up
Although arugula is a preferred salad green, it is not lettuce and is more related to mustard! It has an almost tart and peppery flavor, perfect for most dishes.
Arugula is a versatile green to have in your home, and if you are planning on growing it indoors, you may be wondering in depth what you will need to know. Luckily, this article contains all the information you will need for your arugula indoor care.
History of Arugula
Before getting into the article, it is always fun to look at the history of the plant you plan to add to your home. Arugula is a habitual salad vegetable specifically in Southern Europe, and it is native to the Mediterranean and has since grown in popularity worldwide. The gain in popularity is due to the peppery taste and nutritional contents. The younger arugula leaves are often consumed raw in salads and are a great source of calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K, and contains many other nutritional and health benefits.
Along with the delicious taste, arugula extract has a long history of treating and preventing skin conditions such as eczema, dry skin, and acne. By incorporating arugula leaves and seed oil into your diet, you actively protect your skin from UV rays and their destructive effects. Arugula aids in skin prevention because it is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Now let’s dive into the care requirements needed for growing and keeping your arugula healthy indoors.
If you have a south-facing window in your home that gets ample sun exposure at least 4 hours a day, your arugula plant may be able to thrive indoors with only natural light. However, you may find that better results come from fluorescent grow lights.
If growing your arugula in the winter, you will need a fluorescent growth light due to the lack of sun available during the winter months. Your arugula plant should be under the lights for 10-14 hours each day to maintain health.
For arugula, you will need to provide it with moisture-retentive potting soil. Put that soil in a container at least 4 inches deep to allow for proper root growth from your plant. Always make sure the container or pot you put your arugula in has drainage holes. Drainage holes prevent overwatering, which will lead to root rot, and root rot will result in the death of your plant.
How To Properly Sow Arugula
1. Water soil thoroughly every couple of hours before planting to moisten the potting soil, but do not overwater as you do not want the potting soil to be soggy.
2. Place arugula seeds roughly ½ inch apart on the top of the soil, and then add ¼ inch of soil on top.
3. Gently water the soil and be sure not to disturb the seeds.
The Thinning Technique
Arugula seeds germinate rather quickly, and you can typically see seedlings emerging in less than one week. When you notice the seedlings have grown a few inches tall, thin them: doing this will ensure the remaining seedlings are 4-6 inches apart.
The soil moisture varies from every plant, but it is crucial to get it correct to ensure ample plant growth. For arugula plants, you should water regularly to allow the soil to remain moist. Do not let the soil dry out, and do not overwater. Water carefully from the top to avoid damaging the plant.
When plants are 4-6 inches tall, you can begin fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted with water to ½ of the recommended strength on the label. Use the fertilizer and water mixture to feed your arugula soil every two weeks.
When your plant is around 6 inches tall, you may begin harvesting. They typically reach this length 4-6 weeks after being sown. Harvest a plant’s outer leaves and leave the inner ones. Cut the leaves as close to the base of the plant as possible.
To harvest your arugula as microgreens, cut with scissors just above the height of the soil. Harvest after the first set of true leaves forms and replant seeds immediately to begin a new plant. Note: The first sprouted leaves will never be considered a plant’s true leaves; you will have to wait for the second set of leaves as they are considered true leaves.
Now that we have gone through the care for arugula plants, you may want new inspiration for arugula dishes to try! The following are a few recipes you may enjoy making with your arugula!
Prosciutto Pizza with Corn
You have probably never considered incorporating arugula with your pizza, but you should; this delicious combo is sure to become a family favorite. Soften the dough at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to make rolling it out easier. Add your sauce, cheese, corn, arugula, and any other toppings you’d like to see on your pizza! Then after 20-30 minutes, you’ve got yourself a healthy arugula pizza!
Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Red Pepper & Arugula Relish
Arugula also tastes phenomenal with chicken. Bake your chicken breast as you routinely would, then add your roasted red pepper and arugula mixture on top of it for a blend of sweet, juicy, and peppery. These flavors create the perfect combination of flavors for a new favorite dinner.
Chicken and Arugula Pesto Panini
This dish is a fantastic lunch whether you are at home or packing a lunch for work. To begin, bake your chicken as you ordinarily would, shred it, or cut it into strips, whichever you’d prefer. Spread pesto on one side of both slices of bread, place your chicken on top of that, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese and arugula on top. Grill the bread to melt the cheese, and allow the flavors to mix. This dish will certainly be a new favorite lunch option. The mixture of flavors and textures is perfect for a high-quality lunch with minimal effort. The thin crunchy bread mixed with the gooey mozzarella and the tender, juicy chicken, along with the peppery arugula, makes for a perfect combination.
Arugula and Cheese Breakfast Omelet
Incorporating arugula into your breakfast omelet is a great way to start your day and feel energized afterward. To start, crack your desired number of eggs into a bowl, finely chop your arugula or add it in whole, then add your cheese. Mix well and cook how you do any other omelet!
Arugula is great for any meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is a great way to stay healthy and energized!
Now that you’ve read this complete arugula indoor care guide, you can have a constant flow of arugula in your home! There are plenty of dishes and salads that allow for the addition of arugula. Also, caring for your arugula plant is very simple to the point where a beginner could grow it with ease. Remember that you’ll likely need a fluorescent growth light when growing indoors. A growth light is without a doubt necessary during the winter months. Provide your arugula with 10-14 hours under the growth light a day during the winter or any day that your plant can’t get adequate lighting indoors. Also, always provide your plants with a pot or container with proper drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot. It is best to keep your arugulas soil moist at all times, but never soggy and never allow for your soil to dry out. As long as you follow the proper care for arugula, you’ll be harvesting in no time.
There are relatively notable differences in vitamin content. Arugula contains five times more Vitamin B5, while spinach has around three times more Vitamin A, E, and K. Spinach is the winner in this category because it contains significantly higher levels of all vitamins except for vitamin B5.
Arugula that has gone bad will become slimy and mushy, and its color will fade; if it has an off odor or appearance, toss it out. Another sign that arugula has gone wrong is when its leaves are discolored and green. If you notice this, you should toss it right away.
Arugula will grow back once cut, so don’t pull the stems. Remember, arugula bolts (goes to flower) quickly in the heat. If this happens, strip the leaves from the stem and use both the leaves and flowers in your salads.
Properly stored, arugula will usually keep well for about 2 to 3 days in the fridge. To maximize the shelf life of arugula, refrigerate in a tightly closed plastic bag and do not wash the arugula until ready to eat.