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Want a microgreen that packs an amazing phytochemical punch with a spicy taste? You have got to try arugula microgreens!
Arugula microgreens are one of the most popular microgreens out there. They are as delicious as their more mature counterparts but more nutritious.
Arugula microgreens are very easy to grow, so they are a great choice for those who are newer to the world of microgreens.
Arugula Microgreens Profile
Flavor: Spicy, peppery flavor that gets milder as the plants mature
Texture: Fresh, crisp
Germination: 1-2 Days
Harvest: 6-10 Days
Difficulty Level: Easy
Arugula Microgreens Nutrient Profile
Serving Size: 100g
Each serving also is also high in nutritional value of Vitamins A, C, E, K as well as the B complex (thiamin, niacin, folate, etc) as well as minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and they also are packed with phytochemicals.
And these little guys are up to 25% protein!
Growing Tips and Tricks for Growing Perfect Arugula Microgreens
1. Pick the right soil. There are many types of soil you can grow your microgreens in, but it is not recommended to use soil from outside due to bugs and the possibility of bringing in mold or fungus. If you prefer not to have messy soil inside, arugula microgreens are good candidates for growing on jute mats.
2. Once the seeds sprout, you need to water the arugula from the bottom to prevent mold. A lot of microgreens can be sprayed with water, but you will want to avoid that with arugula as it can cause dampening off.
3. If you notice tiny white hairs on your growing sprouts, don’t fret – these are the roots! They do look a little like mold, but let them grow and you will see they are a tiny, hair-like root structure.
4. Arugula needs a few days in the dark to germinate, and prefers temps around 70 degrees F while it germinates.
Growing Arugula Microgreens (Step by Step)
Supplies You Need to Grow Arugula Greens
Seeds are the first thing you will need to grow your micro greens. Without them, you won’t be able to grow anything!
The best type of seeds to buy for growing arugula micros are seeds specifically labeled microgreen seeds or other organic arugula seeds.
Best Types of Arugula Seed for Microgreens:
You will need some type of container for growing your seeds in. Arugula doesn’t need a super deep container, but it will depend upon how long you plan to grow it.
The right container for this type of seed is about 1-2 inches deep, depending upon how long you plan to grow your microgreens. If you are going to harvest at the early stage of 8-10 days, one inch is sufficient. Go for 2 inches if you plan on growing them longer.
There are a million different containers that are of this depth, and all can work as long as there is ample drainage. If you don’t allow drainage you will find that the water just pools in the container and can rot the roots, so be sure to choose a container that can drain.
You also need to ensure that your container is durable and food-safe, so be sure not to use pressure treated wood or another material that could make the greens unsafe to eat.
Remember that this type of microgreen needs to be watered from the bottom, so it might be good to invest in a system that has holes in the growing container and then a separate watering tray.
If you want to buy some durable, safe containers, here are my recommendations:
The right soil is the next key to growing great microgreens. If you’re growing some greens outdoors, pretty much any soil will do. But most people grow microgreens indoors, which is a big part of the appeal of these mini greens.
You want the soil you choose to have great nutrients for your baby greens. Indoor potting soil is going to be the best choice for this. This is because they are safe to use indoors (no fungus, bugs, or molds!), they allow for ample drainage but still retain moisture for baby roots, and they allow for air pockets in the soil. Choose organic soil if possible.
You can also grow arugula microgreens in half potting mix and half coconut coir. This growing medium is made from – you guessed it! – coconut! Specifically the husk of the coconut fruit.
Recommended Soils for Microgreens:
Soaking the seeds is an important step in certain types of microgreens, such as sunflower microgreens, but for arugula you can skip this step!!
You’re ready to plant!
Growing arugula microgreens is pretty easy as long as you keep the above tips in mind.
First, you will want to fill your soil almost to the top of the growing tray. It doesn’t really matter what type of soil you are using as mentioned above. Just ensure that it’s clean and made for using indoors (preferably).
Moisten the soil, then add your seeds. You want to completely cover the top of your soil with seeds, making sure there aren’t any stacked on top of each other. Just scatter them on the soil surface.
You really don’t need to cover your seeds, so you can leave them on the soil surface. The seeds do need dark to germinate, so place them somewhere dark for around 72 hours. During this time try to keep the seeds around 70 degrees F and mist daily.
I know, it seems weird to put the plants out of the sunlight since you want them to grow, but plants actually need dark to germinate. Think about it, they are usually deep in the ground, not in direct sunlight when they are planted.
I check mine on the third day to see how they are germinating. Usually always I will see that most all of the seeds have “woken up” and are sprouting.
The seedlings are ready for light around day 4-5 when they are around an inch tall. All seedlings need sunlight (or a grow light) on those new baby green leaves to grow, so make sure to move them into the sun or a grow light after they develop their first seed leaves.
You want to keep the soil in the container slightly damp, but not soggy. Remember to water from the bottom once they have sprouted as this green is sensitive to fungus.
Be sure not to overwater. This is another early mistake I made! You only want to water enough for the soil to be damp, not wet. You can rot your plants this way (yep, been there) and can also grow fungus on the plants.
Some sources tell you to mist arugula greens but since they are so prone to fungus I always bottom water mine.
The ideal harvest time is 6-10 days after planting. You want the greens to be around 3 inches tall when you harvest, although you can let them grow taller if you prefer a milder taste. Try them at different stages to see what your preference is.
You want your sprouting arugula seeds to have developed two big leaves (the cotyledon), known as seed leaves and the true leaves just beginning to emerge.
To harvest, use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut the seedlings off about half an inch above the soil line. This green is so delicate that you should be very cautious about getting soil on the plants and try not to wash them unless you have to, as it is very hard to dry them.
Harvest as many as you want to use and leave the rest to harvest later. I find that this works better than harvesting them all at once and storing them in the fridge. Plus I really like mine to mellow a bit in their peppery taste so I like them to grow a bit longer.
While these are best eaten directly after harvest, you can store them in a ziptop bag in the refrigerator. If you grow more than one type of green, I recommend labeling your bag with the type and date of harvest.
Try not to water the greens 12 hours before harvest if you are going to store them, and don’t wash them until you are ready to use them. Moisture is their enemy when storing, so keep them as dry as possible.
Preferably, you will want to gently fold them in a paper towel and then place in a ziptop bag. These greens will actually store well for 7-8 days, maybe longer if you don’t allow moisture to gather in the bag.
Once cut, an arugula sprout will not regrow, so you will need to compost the soil that the roots are left in. Some people reuse the soil, but I have not had much success with this. Since so little soil is used anyway, it makes sense to just compost and start with new.
Can you Grow Arugula Microgreens Without Soil?
This is a very common question and the answer is YES. Some microgreens, such as amaranth, don’t do well on mats, but arugula can be grown this way as it is a shorter type microgreen.
To grow these greens without soil, you will need the same supplies as above, but without the soil. Instead, you will need a jute or hemp mat.
If using a jute mat, place it in your growing container and place the seeds on top of it. Keep it moist and the seeds will put down roots into the mat.
Water from the bottom as above and harvest at the same time as the soil-grown counterparts.
How do You Eat Arugula Microgreens?
These amazing little fresh greens are best consumed raw or added to the end of the cooking process to retain their texture and delicate nutrients.
They do especially well in salads or soups. You can also use them to garnish tacos and other similar items or even on pizza. Substitute the lettuce on salads and wraps for arugula microgreens. Pasta dishes are also great with a little bit of this green.
One thing I really do not like to use them for is in smoothies. I love smoothies (I’m a huge fan!) but this green is too peppery for my taste. If you love the taste of arugula, you might like it!
You can even snip and eat them straight from the growing tray!
Common Problems Growing Microgreens
We are going to assume that you are growing your greens indoors and address some common problems you might encounter when growing arugula microgreens.
1. Mold, Mildew or Fungus
This is by far the most common problem with growing arugula microgreens. Remember not to mistake the white root hairs for mold!
Too much moisture is one of the main culprits when it comes to mold, mildew or fungus. These types of things love soggy conditions, so be sure not to overwater and get soggy soil. Be sure to allow ample drainage so this doesn’t happen.
You can also get too much moisture by having your humidity too high. This is what happened to me when I didn’t take the top off of the greenhouse (okay, one of the things!). It also allowed for too much moisture and caused my plants to rot.
Mold, mildew or fungus can also happen to arugula microgreens when sprayed or misted with water. Remember to only water from the bottom once the leaves begin to appear.
If you do start to see a bit of mold, try spraying the plants with a fine mist of food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
2. Yellow, “Leggy” Stems
This is a problem I used to have with all of my seedlings and it took me a long time for me to figure out why it was happening!
Most microgreens will be yellow in appearance when they first emerge from their seeds, but once the young plants get some light they should turn green.
If you find that your seedlings are staying yellow and they are getting tall and “leggy”, the problem usually is that they are not getting enough sun.
Some people have found that arugula microgreens do better under a nice grow light or even a fluorescent light, so experiment and see what does best for you.
3. Seeds are Slow to Germinate
It’s so disappointing to check on your greens expecting to see growth and find that nothing is happening. I’ve been there! However, there are a few things you can do to help in this situation.
First, ensure that you did not flood your seeds. Leaving them in a soupy soil can rot them before they’ve even had a chance to sprout, so ensure that the soil is moist, but never wet.
You can use a seed mat to speed up the germination process. It helps warm up the soil to encourage the seeds to sprout.
Finally, make sure you bought quality seeds. Seeds from different companies will have different germination and growth rates, so be careful when picking out your seeds.
4. Plants fall over and lie to side
If you see this happening, it is usually a sign of underwatering. Give the plants a good drink and they should perk up in a few hours.
Common Questions about Arugula Microgreens
Yes! The microgreens have more nutrients than the mature vegetable. Studies have proven that microgreens can contain up to 40 times the amount of nutrients than their mature counterparts.
The taste of this microgreen is similar to its full-grown counterpart, but it can be more peppery and people describe it as spicier.
No, since the leaves of these plants are cut off, the arugula microgreen will not regrow. It is best to compost the soil and start anew.
There are many ways to eat these healthy little greens. Some mentioned above are in salads, pasta dishes, pizza, sandwiches or wraps, and even in soup.
Microgreens are also wonderful plants to grow for profit! You can have a healthy side business selling these greens to local businesses.
What are the Health Benefits of Arugula Microgreens?
Arugula is high in Vitamins A, C, E, K as well as the B complex (thiamin, niacin, folate, etc) as well as minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and they also are packed with phytochemicals.
And these little guys are up to 25% protein!