Arugula microgreen, a peppery leafy green with high nutrient content, has a tangy, sweet and earthy taste. It provides many health benefits like reduced cancer risk and osteoporosis prevention. It also reduces a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and increases heart health.
These microgreens are full of flavour and rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and L, as well as iron, potassium, calcium, niacin, magnesium and essential amino acids. Compared to iceberg lettuce, they contain five times the vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, almost eight times the calcium, and four times the iron.
Let’s see how we can grow these at home.
- Growing trays or container
- Potting soil (Can also mix coconut coir)
- Grow light
- Spray bottle to water
Arugula microgreens can be planted in a variety of soil types but they prefer well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH. They are happiest in a nutrient-rich loam. To plant arugula, one needs a flat and smooth surface of the growing media. Use a minimum of 1″ of soil or growing media. Before planting, slightly moist the soil and then use the right amount of seed. If you are using a 10×20 grow tray, you can use 30ml of arugula seeds for the even distribution.
Once the seeds are planted, cover the tray to block out all the light. Easy method is to use another 10×20 tray flipped upside down. This will help in providing a good environment for the germination of the seeds. Make sure to keep the tray in a relatively cool area.
Normally an arugula plant will take about 4 to 6 days to germinate. To avoid drying the soil, spray water once or twice a day. Keep the soil moist even after germination. If the soil depth is more, there is no need of watering it frequently as soil can withhold the moisture.
After four or five days, these greens will be ready for light and can be taken out. Uncover and move them to a well-lit area. If you are growing them outdoors, water them more often to withstand the intense light of the sun. Otherwise if you are growing them inside, you won’t need to water them much frequently. Arugula can neither survive in a frost nor in a high heat. A good temperature range is between 7.2 to 18.3 degrees Celsius.
They will be happy in nitrogen-rich soil. Unless the leaves are light green or undernourished, they do not need any additional feeding. Nitrogen is the main nutrient for microgreens. A good compost mixed with soil or a single application of high-nitrogen fertilizer will be more than enough. For healthy growth and good flavour, water regularly but not too much to make them soggy.
After 7 to 14 days, when the microgreens are two inches tall and the leaves are open and bright, they are ready to harvest. Make use of a sharp knife or scissors. While cutting them, leave some length above the soil of about 1/4″-1/2″. This way you don’t have to worry about washing them to remove the excess dirt or seed husks. If you have washed them, ensure they’re as dry as possible before storing. If stored properly, you can enjoy the fresh greens for about a week.
These microgreens are crisp bearing zesty, nutty and peppery flavour, and they can be best suited as an edible garnish. They are a good source of vitamin K and calcium, which will help in wound healing and good bone health. They also contain vitamin C to boost the immunity, potassium to balance the fluid levels in the body.
They can be primarily used in savoury dishes, and as a dressing in lighter sauces and vinaigrettes. Mix them with other lettuces to create a flavorful salad.They go well with cheese and you can chop and layer onto burgers and sandwiches. They can also be used as a bed of greens under roasted meats and seafood. They will be fresh for 5 to 7 days if you store them in a ziploc bag or a sealed container in the refrigerator.