Wild Rocket, Arugula, Rucola

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Misc Culinary

Diplotaxis tenuifolia

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SIZES 1-2 3-89+
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Wild Rocket - Diplotaxis tenuifolia

Wild rocket, also widely known as Arugula or rucola, became immensely fashionable in the '90s and has remained so ever since. The peppery pungent leaves are a ubiquitous garnish in restaurants and taste zingy and delicious in a salad. The leaves are lance shaped and resemble a mini acanthus leaf in their convolutions. The flowers shoot up out of the leaves in summer and are also edible. They start off a yellowish colour, becoming purple with white veins as summer progresses. In autumn, almost everywhere in the UK, rocket dies. Just one of the range of herbs we grow here at Ashridge Nurseries.

Rocket, a transient visitor

Rocket is an annual so you need to plant it every year. Choose a shady spot so that the soil never dries out (which encourages it to bolt). Once the plant has decided to flower, as a member of the cabbage family, it sends out long stalks with delicate white flowers that are enormously attractive in salads, or as garnish on a starter. At this point, the leaves really do not taste that nice so you need to pick the leaves like topsy in summer to prevent the plant running to seed. You should also try to plant rocket really early in the season to prevent this. To protect rocket from flea beetle cover it with horticultural fleece in the summer months.

Rocket is a tasty addition to risotto, and is an alternative to basil to make pesto and is one of the many leaves included in the Provencal salad mixture called mesclun.

Wild rocket Features

  • Height: 60-90 cm
  • Colour: bright green, lance shaped leaves
  • Flowers: delicate, white with purple veins
  • Uses: garnish, salad
  • Taste: pungent, peppery
  • Harvest: summer
  • Spacing: 20 cm
  • Life: half-hardy annual
Rocket Rumours

Although only recently "rediscovered", rocket was terribly popular with the Elizabethans who ate it a great deal. There is much lore associated with rocket leaves, one of the odder bits being that people used to eat them before being whipped to help to mitigate the pain. One for Christian Grey we feel!

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Bareroot planting is best done between October and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

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