Name: Eruca sativa aka Eruca versicaria subsp. sativa, aka arugula or roquette
Type of Plant: A leafy green annual grown for great taste and versatility in the kitchen.
Why I Love This Plant: I love how arugula tastes, but beyond flavor, at this time of year I’m totally appreciating how I can still go up to the vegetable garden and cut this green even after over a dozen frosts.
I love that I can plant arugula seeds in April and sow them repeatedly through the summer so that many crops can be grown and harvested. I love that I can use arugula with basil in pesto, that I can put it on pizza, and that we can include it in our salads in December!
A Word to the Wise: Buy large packages of seed and sow a row every three to four weeks. Keep the areas where you’ve planted constantly moist, and if your plants start to flower, harvest the entire plant and sow more seeds in that location.
Pick the oldest leaves when plants are small, but leave the inner foliage to grow and develop. Know that e as these plants get more mature this is one of the “bitter greens,” so combining it with other, sweeter flavors (tomatoes, fruit, or sweet and sour dressing) is a good idea.