8th October 2008


Rocket originated in southern and central Europe (where it is known as arugula or rucola). It is a hardy annual herb, but it self-sows and is likely to come up every year in your garden once you have planted it.

Planting tips :

  • Choose a sunny spot, and make sure that the soil drains well. Dig up the soil well and work in a generous amount of compost the day before sowing. Water well and rake the soil even.
  • Sow rocket seeds 1cm deep in rows 30cm apart. Water well and keep the soil moist to prevent the plant from going to seed too quickly.
  • When the plants are about 15cm tall, thin them out and use the trimmed leaves in your salads.
  • Pinch off the flowers and seed buds as soon as they appear – this will prolong your harvest of rocket leaves.
  • The older the leaves, the more intense the flavour, so wait longer before harvesting if you’re after a very pepper flavour.

Uses :

  • Rocket adds an immediate tang when added to other salad leaves. Its flavour is described as peppery, nutty and spicy.
  • Add rocket leaves to Italian pastas just before serving to add extra kick.
  • For a more subdued flavour, try lightly steaming rocket and serving it as a substitute for spinach.