Rocket is one of the salad greens with a distinctive taste, however those gardeners who grow their own plants find it tastes a lot better than many store bought varieties. This is simply because they pick it young and eat it fresh.
Well grown, early picked Salad Rocket will be sweet, nutty with a slight peppery taste, the older larger leaves can be bitter and overly peppery.
Generally the best time to plant Rocket is from March through to November. Avoid the depths of winter in colder zones, and the heat of summer in all zones. Rocket tends to ‘bolt’, or go to seed in hot dry weather.
Salad rocket Description
Depending on where you live and which recipe you are reading Salad Rocket or Eruca vesicaria sativa is also known as arugula, rugola, rucola, roquette, garden rocket, Mediterranean rocket, Salad rocket, Roman rocket, or Italian cress. Easily grown from seeds Salad Rocket is great for salads as well as for cooking.
This is a leafy vegetable with a spicy or mustard like taste (it is a member of the mustard family). The young leaves are picked and usually mixed with other salad leaves or greens. Also used for pesto and a range of other dishes.
One of the wonders of this plant is the speed that it grows, you can usually be picking the leaves within 3 weeks, so stand back.
Prepare for planting
In the garden dig in lots of well rotted compost and some aged cow manure, rake through well and sow seeds directly. In cold weather try a little plastic igloo to speed up germination.
In a container, use a high quality potting mix with water retaining crystals mixed in, water regularly with a weak liquid seaweed fertiliser for great results.
- Easily grown from seed Arugla or Rocket can be planted in spring in a moist humus rich soil.
- Plant rows sequentially ( every 2-3 weeks) to ensure continued supply.
- Arugla or Rocket tends to ‘bolt’ or go to seed if it dries out or gets to hot so a little shade will help prolong the season.
- Keep moist at all times
Picking Salad Rocket.
Pick often, try not to let the leaves get to big as they get a little tough and bitter. Remove any yellow leaves and dispose of them.