Growing herbs or leafy vegetables is one of the easier things you can grow so why not learn how to grow your own rocket with our guide!
Rocket, used as a leaf vegetable, is one of the fastest and easiest foods to grow. It is commonly used in salads, because of its hard, peppy, and spicy leaves. Rocket, also known as Eruca Sativa, has gained greater importance with its antigenotoxic properties.
Rocket is considered a rich source of sulforaphane, a powerful anti-cancer, anti-microbial, an anti-diabetic compound, enriched with antioxidants and essential minerals.
Many will say rocket is one of the easiest things for beginner gardeners to grow so we thought it was a good idea to provide this step-by-step guide.
How To Plant Rocket
Rocket is best sown between April and September. The place for growing rocket in your garden should be sunny and have well-drained soil. After that, you need to mix fine compost and a little fertilizer to enrich the soil. Now, carefully sow rocket seeds along a row of holes about 3 mm deep and 1-2 inches apart.
Make sure you sow seeds spaced out in a row, as evenly as possible. Then, cover the seeds lightly with compost mixture (available in bags) and press it down. For a continuous supply, plant the seeds every few weeks.
Once seedlings appear in your plant, fertilize weekly with liquid plant food. Keep watering them regularly to encourage high leaf growth and keep the soil moist. While using pots, make sure the pot’s length is 30 cm wide and position them in a sunny place.
How To Care For Rocket Plants
Keep the moisture without letting the soil dry up so that you get the best-flavoured leaves. Soil moisture will also prevent your rocket plants from prematurely running to seeds (bolting.)
Rocket plants need shade in hot weather to prevent the plant leaves from becoming tough and unpalatable. Also, make sure you keep the crops weed-free and it would be best if you avoided over-watering, as it will dilute the taste of rocket leaves.
How to Harvest Rocket
Rocket can be harvested after about four weeks from the date of sowing the seeds. You need to harvest as a “cut and come again” crop, by nipping off a few leaves when large enough.
Regular picking is also suitable for growth and taste. As a side not and added bonus, when flower buds appear, you can pinch them out and use them to garnish your salads.
If you’ve had a bumper crop of rocket leaves this year and want some inspiration for recipes, you’re welcome!
Tips & Common Problems
Make sure you thin the seedlings out because they tend to flower and set seed prematurely. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist to avoid this.
Keep your rocket plants well watered in dry and hot weather; otherwise, the taste will become very bitter and bolt.
Flea beetles can cause severe damage to rocket plants by nibbling holes and making them look unsightly. To avoid them, grow your plants under horticulture fleece and provide moisture to the soil.