Friends With Plants
Menu
Salatrauke

Rocket "Rucola Coltivata"

Jude Jude
26/11/2021 · 6 minutes reading time

Make your November plants grow tall and strong!


Here's what's ahead:


Getting Started

Quick tips at a glance:

  • Germination temperature: 15-20 ° C

  • No-till in-house: March – December; sowing outdoors: April – September

  • Sunny to partially shaded location

  • Nutrient-rich, sandy soils

  • Row spacing: 20 cm

  • Sow at 2 cm and later separate to 10 cm

  • Germination depth: 0.5-1 cm

  • Germination time: 5–10 days

  • Pay attention to crop rotation: no cruciferous vegetables in the last three years

  • Leaves can be harvested continuously

  • Annual seeds

Rocket, also known as “arugula” to our primoza family in North America, carries the occasional nicknames “oil rocket” and “mustard rocket”, because oil can be extracted from it, and its taste is reminiscent of mustard with its spicy sharpness. It differs from wild rocket in particular due to its larger leaves and ist annual cultivation cycle.

Since you can harvest the leaves when they are small and tender, you can sow the rocket inside your home almost all year round. Remember, however, that your plants won't grow as quickly in winter because they don't have as much food (tasty light).

Rucola Balkon
In winter you harvest either the rocket sprouts or the young, tender leaves.

Of course, rocket can be grown just fine in a pot on your balcony or windowsill.

If you want to harvest more, or if you want the rocket to bloom and seed, you can plant it outdoors between April and August, if not earlier. This way, the rocket can sow itself on its own, surprising you with little bursts of green joy several times a year.


Sowing

Here's what you need:

  • Pot or balcony box, depth approx. 15 cm

  • Potting soil / herb soil

  • Ball shower, spray bottle, watering can

  • Loosen the soil a little in the field

First, make one or more shallow grooves (20 cm apart) in your bed or balcony box. Then you tear your seed paper into snippets and place them in the grooves with the writing facing down at a distance of 2 cm. If you are using a pot, instead of making grooves, make seed holes with your fingers. The seeds are sown so closely because not all of them always sprout.

Cover the seeds with soil (0.5–1 cm) and keep them moist until they germinate. When sowing in the pot or balcony box, make sure that there is no possibility of waterlogging – it is best to use pots with drainage holes if possible.

Keimlinge Rucola
The seedlings of the rocket salad have the heart shape typical of cruciferous vegetables.

If a lot of the seeds sprout, you'll need to thin out the seedlings a little. The fully grown plants should be at least 10 cm apart. You can of course try to put the discarded plants back in another place - or you can put them right on your sandwich, if you are feeling particularly peckish. (We usually are.)

Pre-culture for outdoor plants: If you want to grow your rocket for outdoor use, sow the seeds in seed trays from January to April. You can move into the bed from May to July (distance 10 cm).

Winter sowing: To get your seeds to germinate as quickly as possible, you can sow them in a mini-greenhouse. But don't forget to ventilate regularly so that mould does not form. After germination, remove the lid, store in a cool, light place.

If you sow indoors, you can usually do so without thinning your plant, because the young leaves will be harvested before the plant grows to the point at which it needs thinning.


Location

When sowing indoors, and especially in winter, you should choose a cool, but definitely bright location.

Although rocket prefers to grow in nutrient-rich, well-drained soils, it can often make do with rather poor soil in its outdoor habitat. When sowing in a pot, be sure to provide a moderately nutrient-rich, sandy substrate and do not fertilise the rocket too much, otherwise excess nitrate will be stored in the leaves. Rocket prefers a sunny to partially shaded position.

Tip: Rucola also grows on partially shaded east or west balconies - just a little more slowly than in bright, sunny locations. You don't have to water and fertilise it so often in partial shade.

Rucola Sämling in Hand

Diseases and Pests

Like radishes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and mustard, rocket belongs to the cruciferous plant family. Therefore, if possible, no plants of this family should have been grown in the same location in the last 3 years. Change location next year if you discover the following pests on your cruciferous vegetables:

  • Cabbage fleas

  • Downy powdery mildew

  • Other cabbage diseases, e.g. cabbage hernia

Attaching a close-meshed culture protection net shortly after germination and maintaining a sufficient distance from other cruciferous vegetables helps against fleas. In the case of fungal diseases, you should remove the relevant plants and dispose of them in the organic waste.

Good neighbours and bad neighbours

Good: garlic, parsley, marigold, lettuce, chives, onion

Bad: Borage, pea, chervil, coriander, cress, Swiss chard, horseradish, celery, spinach, mustard, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables


Gießen
You should water your rocket regularly - but avoid waterlogging at all costs!

Care for Your Rocket

  • Water regularly in the pot

  • Water outdoors only when it is dry, the long taproots also reach deeper water

  • Only fertilise very sparingly with compost

  • Keep the bed free of weeds and mulch, e.g. with autumn leaves


Harvest and Storage

  • Harvest young, tender leaves after just a few weeks

  • Larger leaves have a more hearty taste

  • Harvest the outer leaves first - new ones follow from the inside

  • Flowers from May to September, leaves are edible even during flowering

  • Remove flowers for stronger leaf growth

  • It is best to harvest as needed

Rucolablätter auf einem Tisch
Rocket cannot be stored fresh for long because it smoulders quickly. It is best to harvest or soak in oil as needed

And…bon appétit!

So your rocket is ready. Now you can pop those freshly-harvested leaves straight onto your favourite dish, either as a vitamin-rich base or as a tasty, colourful topping.

Rocket works beautifully as a juicy pizza topping. Make sure to sprinkle the leaves on the pizza only after baking - heat destroys the taste and vitamins.

Rucola Salat mit Tomaten
Rocket gives a mixed salad with tomatoes that special kick of flavour it needs.

Due to its large leaves, the rocket salad is also the perfect ingredient for mixed salads or pasta salads, e.g. in combination with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and feta or goat cheese.

To preserve them, we recommend soaking them in oil, or you can make a hearty pesto from the leaves.

What about you?? What do YOU love about rocket? From the growing to the enjoying, tell us in the comments below about your experience growing these seeds!