How to Harvest Arugula


Arugula is one of the more flavorful of the salad greens. Its lobed, deep green leaves have a slightly spicy horseradish-like flavor that complements other greens and vegetables in a salad. Arugula grows in the cooler spring or fall season in most climates, though it may grow as a winter crop in areas that experience only mild frost. Harvesting occurs continuously from the time the leaves reach a mature length. The plant continues to produce a fresh crop of leaves until it sends up flower stalks or is killed by severe frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears
  • Pick individual outer leaves from the arugula plant when they reach a length between 2 and 3 inches. Grasp the leaves by the stem near the base and pull them from the main plant.

  • Harvest clusters of outer leaves at once if they have reached mature size. Cut them off at the base with a sharp pair of small shears. Leave the interior of the plant to continue growing.

  • Pluck leaves every three to five days once the plant is producing. Frequent harvesting encourages the plant to continue producing and helps prevent the arugula from setting seed.

  • Cut the entire plant off at soil level and harvest all the leaves when the arugula sends up a flower stalk, but before it flowers. The leaves become bitter and inedible after blooming.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't harvest the entire plant before blooming, you can still use the flowers in salads, although you can no longer use the leaves.

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