Among the many members of the cabbage family that I have tried planting, Arugula (also called Salad Rocket or Rucola) is the absolute winner in terms of ease of growing and resistance to pests. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out how good it is for your health, packing as much nutrients as its close relatives broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale.
This is very good news, as our very warm climate here in the Philippines (except in the highlands) does not allow successful growth of those other leafy greens. When I sowed seeds of Arugula months ago, I didn’t really have high expectations because of two main reasons: 1) It sounded very exotic to me, and is not very popular in the Philippine market, and 2) I just lost a difficult organic war with insect pests that targeted members of the cabbage family.
But surprise, surprise… Arugula was the only man (or vegetable) left standing after that great battle. I didn’t even have to fight the pesky cabbage worms — Arugula did it all by itself! The variety I planted seemed to be resistant to those caterpillars. What a treat!
And your body will definitely be treated to loads of good stuff when you consume this salad green, which has a flavor that some have described as spicy or nutty. One of the main natural components found in Arugula and other cruciferous plants are glucosinolates. These sulfur-containing organic compounds give cabbage and mustard their pungent smell and taste. Several research studies have shown certain anti-cancer properties of glucosinolates. Scientific studies on these compounds in Arugula have also demonstrated that they have antidiabetic, antioxidant, and anti-ulcer properties. What a great and yummy way to be healthy!
I really recommend planting Arugula in your home gardens, as it takes the utmost minimum effort to grow. It does well even in small containers. All it needs is a sunny spot and a little bit of watering. It’s very low-maintenance, it grows well in the tropics, it’s better at tolerating wilt than a lot of other leafy greens, and it has very good defenses against common garden pests. Try planting it, and do let me know about your gardening adventures. 🙂