Arugula is an aromatic salad green. It is also known as rocket, roquette, rugula and rucola, and is popular in Italian cuisine. You have probably eaten arugula in one of those salad mixes that includes radiccio, frisee and a variety of baby lettuces. Arugula is a herbaceous annual plant native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia. This pungent smelling vegetable was also known to the Romans. This member of the cabbage family is noted for its two tiered taste experience: first nutty finishes with a radish flavor. In parts of the Far East, it is treasured not for its leaves but for the oil of its seeds. Arugula, like spinach, is rich in beta carotene, yet arugula contains more than three times the vitamin C and calcium of spinach. Like most salad greens, Arugula is very low in calories, a 1/2 cup serving is two calories, as well as a good source of Vitamin A, Folacin, and Calcium. It also supplies Potassium, Magnesium and Iron. In addition to being a zesty accent in salad, it can also be steamed or used in soups. This is a very undemanding plant. It grows rapidly in most any soil, provided there is adequate moisture. In fact you'll get more tender leaves if you encourage the plants to grow quickly by frequent watering. It doesn't like hot weather, running to seed rapidly, so it best sown in a shady spot. Harvest leaves, or the entire plant, until the flower stem start to shoot from the center. After this time, the leaves are too coarse, and too hot to be used as a salad green. You can let the plant flower (very attractive to bees) and seed for a never ending supply of 'volunteer' plants. The flowers are edible and the seeds can be used to make a peppery mustard. Sow the seeds in a sunny location in succession plantings (approximately every 20 to 30 days) from early spring. Space plants 8" apart. Arugula performs best in spring to early summer. After that time, you plant it under the shade of an "airy" tree (not dense shade), or under shade cloth. Side dress with compost or well-rotted manure, every other week. To harvest simply pick the young leaves and the plant will keep generating new ones for months. Older leaves that have become too hot to eat on their own can be pureed and added to soups, sautes, etc. To store- rinse the leaves in cool water and dry on paper toweling. Wrap leaves tightly in plastic or a zip lock bag. Best if used within two days.


Keeping a file of ideas you like, or photos of properties or gardens you admire is a great idea. Pictures of the vegetables or flowers that you like best give you a starting point to work to. Any new products that are advertised that you think you would like, should be saved also, this includes plants, fence products, tiles, outdoor statues and containers... the list is endless! But keeping a file like this all together makes planning your garden fun. Put them in a three ring binder and don't throw them away. If you didn't use them this year, maybe you will next year.


Packing up for winter

Have you ever worried that your container plants might not make it through winter? Containerized plants have special wintertime needs that their in-the-ground cousins don't. There's less soil surrounding their roots, so container plants have limited stores of water and nutrients. They can desiccate, or dry out, more quickly. And a container is completely surrounded by outside air, exposing the roots to potentially damaging temperatures. To deal with this, give your potted perennials time to go fully dormant in late fall, then cut them back and give them a good soaking. Next surround each pot with bubble wrap and places it into a container of a larger size: 10 inch into 14 inch, 16 inch into 24 inch and so on. Then pour in foam packing peanuts (not the biodegradable kind, they break down too easily) to fill the larger pots up to the rims. Finally, wrap burlap around the pots and lower parts of the plants to protect against the cold. This works for plastic, terra-cotta and even wooden containers.



1/4 C. castor oil

6 T. water

2 T. liquid detergent

Blenderize the castor oil and detergent until the mixture is like shaving cream. Add water and mix again. Fill a regular garden sprinkling can with warm water and add 2 tablespoons of the castor oil mixture. Stir and sprinkle liquid over areas of greatest damage. For best results apply after a rain or a thorough watering.



*God made rainy days, so gardeners could get the housework done.*






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