How can I stop arugula bolting?

Arugula    PA

My arugula plants have already bolted :-( I planted them from seed in containers and was hoping I would be able to harvest over the summer but the leaves are very bitter now. Does anybody have any tips on how to care for arugula to extend its harvest, would it be better to plant straight into the ground instead of in containers?

Posted by: Marsha Anderson (5 points) Marsha Anderson
Posted: June 16, 2013


Polyculture. When you grow multiple species in the same area they can keep the soil cooler by shading it. (Mulch or woodchips can also keep the soil cooler.) Bonus it keeps down the weeds. I've had success with preventing radishes from bolting by growing them around and under squash plants (sow at same time via seed balls). Also, this spring I planted with mustard and spinach - ok, but not as great as last year. Also, you can sometimes cut the budding part of the plant back to promote leaf growth (this is done with basil to keep the leaves from getting bitter and to keep the plant producing leaves).

Posted by: Jerome Case (4 points) Jerome Case
Posted: June 19, 2013

Tanya in the Garden commented,
I've cut back lots of annual kales when they've started budding and have been able to keep them going for several years. In my experience, this works only if you keep up with it. If you wait until most of the plant is sending out flowering stems, it's too late, and the plant stops producing leaves. If you pinch the flowering tops as soon as you see them, you can keep on harvesting leaves, and the plants stop trying to flower after a month or two.
almost 6 years ago.

Arugula (like most leafy greens) prefers cool weather. When things heat up, it tends to get tough and bitter and send up those seed stalks.

Look for varieties described as "slow to bolt" such as Slow Bolt http://bit.ly/12Prv42 or Adagio http://bit.ly/12PrrkY. (There may be more.)

Another idea: direct-sow a short length of row or a small block (garden soil or container) every 10 days or so, and eat 'em while the leaves are small and tender. By the time one planting has past its prime, the new one should be ready. You could also give them a little shade with shade cloth or by planting them in a spot that's out of direct midday sun.

Posted by: Peg Boyles (2 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: June 16, 2013

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