Growing Hydroponic Arugula

Arugula leaves have a distinctive, spicy flavor often described as peppery and slightly bitter.  For those who don’t want to be overwhelmed with these flavors, adding it a salad made primarily of other greens can add just enough spicy kick to give it the perfect flavor.  Picking the leafy greens when they are younger also results in a more mild, widely enjoyed flavor.

Arugula is rich antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K and vitamin A, as well as calcium, potassium, and fiber.  You’ll be doing your health a favor when growing this unique green in your hydroponic garden at home.

Germination:

Arugula typically grows quite well from seed.  Consider using our Seedling Starter Kit, or simply using the paper towel method if you have any troubles. But, you shouldn’t have trouble sowing your Arugula seeds directly in the iHarvest® or uHarvest®.  Your seeds will likely be a little slower to develop seedlings, but you will still have a high rate of success.

Also – consider growing 2 seeds of this and other greens in your 2” net cups, as it will result in more produce, more quickly, without you needing to worry about overcrowding as long as you harvest frequently.

Light:

Arugula doesn’t need lots of light but will typically grow fastest with 16 hours of light.  IGWorks® products do a great job of conserving electricity, so there’s no need to worry about keeping your lights on for the full 16 hours.  But, remember, almost all plants prefer 8 hours of sleep, just like we do.

EC Range:

Your iHarvest® comes with an EC tester.  EC stands for ‘Electrical Conductivity’ and it is a measure of the nutrients in your water solution.  When growing arugula, keep your EC between 0.8 to 1.4.  This makes arugula great to grow with lettuce, basil, thyme and watercress, for example.

pH Range:

Adjusting your pH allows your plants to absorb the nutrients they need as efficiently as possible.  Keep your pH between 5.5-6.8 for optimal growth of arugula.

Nutrients:

Arugula is another leafy plant that you don’t want to flower and does not fruit, so it’s going to grow great with an all-around hydroponic growing solution for greens.  Mix your Green Machine nutrients in the reservoir until your EC is between the range of 0.8 – 1.4.  Remember to mix thoroughly, either by stirring your reservoir or letting the pump run for 15-minutes after adding nutrients, before measuring to determine if the EC is just right for your arugula plants.

Pruning and Harvesting:

Like many leafy greens, arugula will initially grow slowly until week 3 when it will begin to grow very aggressively.  Before long, you will be able to harvest its mature outer leaves, while keeping immature leaves on the inside and allowing them to grow larger quickly.  Remember, harvesting younger leaves will reduce the spicy, peppery flavor of the arugula, which some gardeners will prefer. 

Slowly pruning the outer leaves of your arugula plants will produce more greens for longer.  Then, as the plant matures after several months and the taste has become less optimal, you can harvest the remainder of the plant one last time, and plant new seeds in your hydroponic garden.

Time to Harvest:

Eventually, your arugula may begin to produce flowers.  This is called bolting.  It is most likely to happen in warmer temperatures.  Unless you want to let your arugula to go to seed, you should remove the flowers and consider removing the entire plant if it begins to taste less to your liking.

Conclusion:

Arugula is another fast, attractive and easy to grow green.  But it’s strong, peppery and sometimes bitter taste isn’t for everyone.  Don’t be afraid to pick leaves earlier, when they exhibit fewer of these traits, or to mix them with other greens like lettuce and spinach to create a wonderful balance of flavors. 

Let's grow together!