I’d like to dedicate this one to the mamas and the pappas…
Well, singular actually.
Though all mammas and pappas are welcome to join in.
Come on!…”and the skies are grey”
See, I happened to be “out there for a wa—-alk, on a summer’s day” when I came upon the sad, sad arugula in my parents’ garden. And I gasped. Actually I didn’t. I said, “well, um, it’s just a little overgrown.” They wondered how you get those cute little arugula leaves that you can buy for salads. Their one plant was just making great-big leaves.
And here is your answer:
You grow a lotta little plants.
Just prepare your soil with plenty of organic matter. Sprinkle the seeds on top, and then sprinkle another thin layer of soil on top. The seeds will be only 1/8″ or so under the top layer of soil. Tamp it down lightly to make sure that there is good contact between the soil and the seeds. Then give it a gentle watering. Make sure that the seeds remain moist while they’re sprouting.
When you’re watering your plants, consider this: the roots need water. So if your little baby plant has only just sprouted roots, then you needn’t water very deeply. However, you must water often since that top layer of soil will dry out readily. But as your plant grows, the roots will go deeper and deeper. Therefore, your water must soak deeper and deeper to reach the roots. The deeper you get though, the longer it will take for the soil to dry out. So you can water less often.
First the arugula will sprout, and then you’ll see more and more leaves pop up. When they are “salad sized” just go out and trim one or two leaves from each mini-plant. (If you gently push the leaves back a bit, you’ll be able to see where each mini-plant is. ) By taking only one or two leaves you will allow that plant to continue growing, and it will continue sprouting new leaves for quite a while.
Eventually, the plant will mature, get bigger, and try to send up flower shoots so that it can finish it’s growing cycle. Eat the flowers too- they’re fun in salads. If you let the flowers bloom and die, the plant will go to seed and “re-plant” itself. Otherwise, you can just rip the plants out and do it again.
I find that my arugula grows really well in a spot that gets some shade during the day. That way the leaves stay nice and tender.
Then you can get back to your California dreamin.