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Rocket

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Introduction

Rocket is an easy to grow salad crop. It adds a lovely pepper flavour to salads. Leaves can also be lightly cooked as a delicious spinach substitute. The flowers are edible too.

Crops will be ready to pick in about four weeks. Late summer sowings will carry on cropping into the winter if the plants are protected by cloches or similar.

Sow

Sow every 2-3 weeks, from April to early September in rich, fertile, well-drained soil. Sow in a sunny site, for a constant supply.

Sow thinly, 6-12mm (0.25- 0.5 in) deep in rows 25cm (10in) apart.

Thin to 15-25cm  (6-10in) apart, when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Allowing some plant to set seed, rather than sowing, is an easy option.

Sow autumn and winter crops in August and September, in a cool greenhouse or under cloches or fleece.

Grow

When the seedlings are large enough to handle thin out to 23-30cm (9-12in) apart. Keep the soil moist and the plants growing well to prevent premature running to seed (bolting).

Plants need some shade in hot weather to prevent the leaves from becoming tough and unpalatable.

Keep crops weed free and the soil moist. Do not over water as this dilutes the taste.

Harvest

Harvest from four weeks after sowing - regular picking keeps growth young, tender and tasty.

Treat plants as ‘cut-and-come-again’ crop or pick a few leaves from plants over the whole row. Picking lots of leaves from one or two plants, weakens the growth.

As flower buds appear, pinch them out to prolong cropping, unless you want the plants to set seed – they can be used as a garnish for salads, too.

Varieties

‘Apollo’: A tasty, fast growing form.

‘Runway’: Is fast growing.

‘Sky Rocket’: Combines the flavour of wild rocket with speed of growth.

Problems

Flea beetle: Leaves are peppered with small holes, damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible.

Remedy: Grow plants under horticultural fleece, keep the soil moist.

More information on flea beetle

Bolting: Crops start to flower and produce seeds prematurely, making the leaves unusable. This short lived crop will always flower at an early stage but avoiding dry soil can help.

Remedy: Keep the soil or compost in pots moist, especially during hot, dry spells. A temporary shade screen or shading material will help during very sunny weather.

More information on bolting

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Sow
Harvest

Do Now

  • Sow in rich, fertile, well-drained soil every few weeks
  • Thin to 10-15cm (4-6in) apart when the seedlings are large enough to handle
  • Harvest leaves
     
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