[Image courtesy The Food In My Beard]
Arugula is my favorite type of lettuce to grow. It is a delicious green that is slightly spicy and very flavorful. It’s also versatile since, like spinach, it can be eaten raw or cooked.
But even more useful to me as a gardener is how forgiving the plant is. Living in California, I regularly have a problem with cool-season crops like lettuce bolting, i.e. growing flowers. Usually when this happens the greens get tough and unpalatable, but not so with arugula. In fact, not only do the greens taste great when the plant bolts but the flowers are also delicious to eat.
And here’s the best thing about arugula: it is self-seeding. Once you have a patch, you can let it bolt and then either collect the seeds or just let the plant seed itself and next year, you’ll get a whole new patch with zero work.
Oh, and did I mention that arugula likes shade? Around here at least, arugula is one of the rarest things in a garden–a vegetable plant that grows well in the shade.
Of course, not everyone likes the spiciness of arugula, but gourmet chefs certainly do. Here’s an article on NPR with some arugula recipes to check out.