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The Complete Guide to Arugula Square Foot Gardening

Introduction

Arugula is a versatile and easy-to-grow crop. It is perfect for a square foot garden. Arugula square foot gardening provides an abundance of tasty greens and adds aesthetic value to your home garden.

The Perfect Spot for Arugula

Sunlight Requirements

Arugula loves sunlight! It is a cool-season crop that thrives in full or partial sunlight. When choosing the location for your arugula plants, make sure it receives 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day. This will ensure healthy growth and abundant harvest.

Soil Conditions

Arugula plants prefer soil pH 6.0-7.0. Make sure the soil is nutrient-rich. Mix compost with peat moss and vermiculite thoroughly.

Planning Your Arugula Square Foot Garden

How Many Arugula Per Square Foot?

When growing arugula, you should consider square foot gardening arugula spacing. Arugula is a small plant and requires less space compared to other vegetables. As a general rule, you can fit 4-16 arugula plants per square foot.

Companion Planting Strategies

Some great companion plants for arugula include dill, beets, radishes, and cucumbers. These plants will help deter pests and attract beneficial insects.

Seasonal Considerations

Consider the time of year when planning your arugula square foot garden. Arugula thrives in cool temperatures. So it is best to plant it in the early spring or fall. Additionally, you can stagger your planting throughout the season. This ensures a continuous supply of fresh arugula.

Planting Arugula in Square Foot Garden

Seed Selection

When selecting arugula seeds for your square foot garden, look for varieties that are quick-growing and bolt-resistant. Bolt-resistant varieties are less likely to go to seed quickly and will provide a longer harvest period. Some popular arugula varieties for square foot gardening include Sylvetta and Astro.

Germination Tips

Arugula seeds are small. So you should sow them thinly in well-drained soil. They require consistent moisture for germination. So be sure to water them regularly. Arugula seeds will typically germinate within 7-10 days in temperatures between 40-75°F.


If you are planting arugula in cold climates, consider using a cold frame. You can also cover the plants with row covers to provide protection from frost.

Transplanting Seedlings

Once your arugula seedlings have grown their first true leaves, you can transplant them into your square foot garden. Carefully lift the seedlings from their original container. Gently loosen any tangled roots.


Place them in a hole in the square foot grid and lightly water them. Be sure to space your seedlings according to the recommended distance for their variety.

square foot gardening arugula

Caring for Your Arugula Square Foot Garden

Watering Schedule

Arugula needs consistent moisture to grow well. So make sure to water your garden regularly. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot and other diseases. You should water your arugula garden every 2-3 days.

Fertilization Techniques

Since arugula grows quickly, it needs constant nutrients to support its growth. You can use a balanced fertilizer once a month. You can also opt for organic methods. For example, composting or using natural fertilizers like fish emulsion. Always follow the package instructions when using fertilizers. Be careful not to over-fertilize. This can damage your plants.

Pest and Disease Management

Common Pests

Flea Beetles: These small, jumping insects feed on arugula's leaves.


Aphids: These tiny insects suck the sap from plants. They can transmit diseases as they feed.


Caterpillars: Some common caterpillar pests for arugula include cabbage loopers and diamondback moths.

Organic Pest Control Methods

Manual removal: For small infestations, you can simply pick off the pests by hand and dispose of them.


Beneficial insects: Introducing ladybugs or praying mantises to your garden can help control pests naturally.


Neem oil spray: You can use this natural insecticide to deter many common arugula pests.

Common Diseases

Damping off: This disease is caused by a fungus. It affects the base of the plant. This causes square foot garden arugula to wilt and eventually die. To prevent damping off, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering.


Downy mildew: This fungal disease appears as yellow or white spots on the leaves. It can quickly spread to the entire plant. To prevent downy mildew, avoid overcrowding your plants. Make sure they have proper air circulation.


Powdery mildew: This fungal disease appears as a white powdery substance on the leaves and stems. It thrives in humid conditions. So avoid watering your plants from above and keep them well-ventilated.

Harvesting Your Arugula

When to Harvest Arugula?

You can harvest when the leaves reach 2-3 inches in length. The leaves will become tough and bitter if you wait too long. Harvest your arugula when it reaches maturity. This is typically around 40 days after planting.


You can also use visual cues to determine. Look for full, lush leaves with a dark green color. If the leaves start to wilt or turn yellow, then they are past their prime. You should harvest them soon.

Harvesting Techniques

Harvest in the morning when the leaves are still cool and crisp. You can use sharp scissors to cut the leaves. Sanitize your tools before harvesting. This prevents any potential contamination. Avoid harvesting during wet weather. This can lead to mold growth on the plant.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Yellowing Leaves

A lack of nutrients or pests can cause yellowing leaves. First, examine your plants and identify any potential pest infestations. If pests are not an issue, then add some organic compost or fertilizer to your soil.

Bolting

Another common issue with square foot gardening arugula is bolting. The plant starts to produce flowers and eventually goes to seed. This causes the leaves to become bitter and inedible. Harvest your arugula regularly to prevent this. Keep the plants in a cool, shaded area. If your plants have already bolted, remove them and start with new seeds.

Wilting and Overwatering

Wilting and overwatering can also be problematic for arugula plants. This is often caused by poor drainage or overzealous watering habits. Make sure your garden bed has proper drainage. Only water your plants when the top inch of soil is dry. Cut back on watering if you notice any signs of wilting or yellowing leaves. Allow the soil to fully dry out before watering again.

Success Tips for Arugula Square Foot Gardening

Succession Planting

This involves staggering the planting of your arugula seeds. You will have a continuous supply of fresh leaves throughout the season. Sow a new batch of seeds every 2-3 weeks to ensure a steady yield. Avoid having all of your plants mature at once.

Crop Rotation

Don't plant the same crops in the same spot every season. You should plant different types of crops in a designated area each year. By rotating your arugula plants to different areas, you can prevent soil borne diseases and pests from building up.

Winterizing Your Arugula Square Foot Garden

Cover the soil with mulch or a cover crop. This protects it from harsh winter weather. You can also add compost or organic matter during this time. This improves soil health and fertility. Additionally, consider planting cold-hardy varieties of arugula that can withstand colder temperatures.

Conclusion

Arugula square foot gardening is an efficient and rewarding way to grow this versatile green vegetable. You can enjoy fresh and nutritious arugula from your own backyard with proper care and maintenance.

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