Arugula Microgreens Datasheet: health benefits and growing guide

by Jason Lee • 2/5/2019

Arugula is closely related to kale and broccoli. Yet its sharp and peppery flavor is what makes it so distinct and makes a great addition to your salad.

While it’s not as inexpensive as broccoli, you can find arugula seeds in bulk for about 25 dollars a pound at the time of this writing. Arugula is only 1.5x more expensive than broccoli.

Arugula Health Benefits

Arugula is rich in Vitamin A, E, and K. And it is also abundant incalcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Compared to other vegetables in the brassica family, it’s one of the least nutritious in just about every vitamins and minerals with the exception of folate.

Arugula microgreens are rich with cancer fighting glucosinolates and phytochemicals. However, the concentration of phytochemicals is only 75% of kale and broccoli (1).

Arugula also has one of the highest levels of myrosinase. This is an enzyme that metabolizes glucosinolates. It gives arugula the sharp flavor, but also lowers the beneficial cancer fighting benefits of glucosinolates.

Fortunately, you can cook your microgreens to denature myrosinase activity. That said, arugula microgreens is still one of the healthiest vegetables you can grow relative to vegetables found in the grocery stores.

Preparing the Growing Medium

Arugula takes 2 to 3 weeks to harvest after germination. For this growing timeframe, I like to use a more complex growing medium: peat moss mixed with 10% vermiculite by weight. Vermiculite increases aeration while supplying additional moisture, which allows a buffer for longer growing conditions.

In addition, I use fertilizer at a concentration of 0.5% Nitrogen by weight, which increases nutrient avialiability to the microgreens.

Peat moss medium should be mixed with water before usage. Peat moss repels water and floats when dry, which makes it difficult to water when it's already in use. Use at least 1 inch of growing medium to avoid root saturation.

Seeding Arugula Microgreens
Weighing arugula seeds. Actual seeding rate is 25.12 g per square meter.

Arugula should be seeded at a maximum than 25 g per square meter or 1/32th ounce per square foot. However, seeding rates half that amount would be reccommened because it would improve air circulation and decrease root saturation and fungal infections.

Since arugula seeds are small, cover with at most 1/8th inch of growing medium or use a humidity dome to germinate the seedlings.

Seeding Arugula Microgreens
Arugula seeded directly on growing medium

Growing Arugula Microgreens

After germination, water arugula microgreens every 2 to 3 days. It’s also important that the medium dries out a bit in between watering in order to increase the oxygen availability to the plant roots and prevent fungal damage.

3 days post seeding, arugula microgreens germinated.
3 days post seeding, the seeds have germinated.

Three weeks after germination, arugula would be about 2 inches in height and has fully developed its second set of true leaves.

harvesting arugula
harvested arugula microgreens.

Arugula microgreens are grown for its flavor. While you can harvest prior to three weeks, I find that the flavor peaks at 3 weeks.

To harvest arugula, simply pull it off the growing medium with the roots intact and wash off the remaining growing medium. You can re-cycle the growing medium for the next cycle of growth. Just make sure to re-add fertilizer every 6 weeks of growth.

Citations

  1. Dunja Samec, Comparative analysis of phytochemicals and activity of endogenous enzymes associated with their stability, bioavailability and food quality in five Brassicaceae sprouts

About the Author

Jason Lee

I am the author of this website and owner of growyourmicrogreens.com. I am an hobbyist gardener and a passionate scientist. I was trained as a scientist in the Molecular Genetics program in University of Toronto, where I received my Masters of Science and published a journal article.

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