How To Harvest Arugula

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Nothing livens up a salad more than a handful of fresh arugula from your own garden!

This amazing vegetable is super versatile and delicious, but if you’re a novice gardener, you might be wondering about the best way to harvest your arugula. Please refer to this handy guide to answer all your questions.

How To Harvest Arugula

In this article, we’ll tell you how to harvest all types of arugula, including the best time to harvest it and how to harvest your plants’ seeds so you can grow it again!

When To Harvest Arugula

Arugula harvesting time is primarily influenced by when it was sown. In zones 3 through 6, you can plant it as soon as your soil thaws in the spring because it is a cool-weather crop. 

You should plant it in early spring in zones 7 to 11, or in late summer for a fall yield.

The fastest-maturing kinds of this plant are ready for harvest just 35 days after seeding. After 50 days, other types are usually ready for picking.

The best guide for when to harvest is to know the variety you are growing, but bear in mind that you don’t have to wait until the entire growing season is over.

The time of day you harvest is one of the keys to getting good greens. Always pick when it’s coolest and driest, which is usually in the evening as the sun sets or in the morning if there isn’t any dew.

How To Harvest Arugula

Arugula is a fast-growing crop that can grow until the weather gets too warm or cold.

You can make sure the plant stays healthy and keeps producing by just collecting one-third of it at a time and waiting roughly a week between harvests.

In the ideal environment, you can pick your arugula more than a dozen times before the plant bolts and gets overly bitter or dies back from the cold.

You can learn how to harvest young arugula, mature arugula, and arugula seeds in the sections below.

How To Harvest Baby Arugula

Baby greens can be harvested in one of two ways: cutting or pinching. Make sure the leaves are long enough before you start.

They are mature as baby greens when they are two to three inches long. Depending on the variety, it typically takes three weeks from seeding to reach this stage.

Pinch off a few young leaves from the outer part of each plant if you only need a few for a small salad or garnish, leaving plenty of even younger ones to continue growing and maturing at the core.

Pick your baby arugula in bigger bunches if you’re making a larger dish.

Using a pair of clean gardening shears or kitchen scissors, begin cutting the larger, outer leaves first, making sure to cut them at the base of their stems.

This will allow you to gather more leaves in bunches. Then remove the younger leaves from the plant’s center.

All of the new growth on the central stalk should be removed, along with the smallest baby leaves and only a few large ones.

Without causing the plant any harm, you can harvest half of it at once.

Cutting it back can actually promote new growth, which will delay bolting and enable you to reap the benefits of harvesting once more.

How To Harvest Arugula

How To Harvest Mature Arugula

When the leaves are at least six inches tall, you can harvest mature arugula for a more robust, peppery flavor.

Similar to harvesting baby arugula, you can take a clean garden knife or pair of shears and cut up to half of the leaves from each plant at the base of the stalks.

If it’s hot outside, keep an eye on your arugula plant for warning signs that it’s about to bolt, which include the appearance of little, weed-like leaves on the top of the plant.

You’ll have to work quickly if you see these signs to make sure your arugula is still good to eat.

By loosening the dirt surrounding the plant with your fingers and gently pulling it up, roots and all, at the end of the season, you can quickly and completely harvest the entire plant.

Don’t forget to pull the plant in the morning or evening to avoid picking wet or dewy leaves.

How To Harvest Arugula Seeds

The arugula plant produces long pods of seeds that resemble little green beans. Once the weather becomes hot, these pods will start to form after the flowers have fallen off.

Arugula plants should be left alone until the flower stalks and pods turn yellow and are completely dry.

Grab the dried stalk and shake it to see if the seeds are ready for harvest. When the seeds are ready, they will rattle around inside the dried pods and make a sound akin to a rainstick.

Cut the stalks below the lowest pod as soon as you hear this sound and carefully move them to a prepared area away from the garden to harvest.

The best strategy is not to collect the seeds one at a time because each stalk will yield hundreds of them.

Instead, firmly rub the stalks between your hands while holding them over a large colander with a bowl underneath.

By doing so, the seed pods will be cracked open, letting the seeds and other loosened material fall into the colander.

While the remaining plant matter is left behind, the tiny seeds will fall through the openings and into your bowl.

To ensure an endless supply of fresh, homegrown arugula, store the seeds in a paper envelope in a dark, cool place. Then, sow them the following fall or spring.

Final Thoughts

Harvesting home-grown arugula is easy once you know the best time to do it.

You can get an incredible variety of arugula from just one plant, and if you follow this guide, your arugula plant will thrive until the end of the season.

Further Recommendations:

Video: How to harvest Arugula

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