Grow Your Own

Rocket

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.

Salad leaves in growing bags

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.

Problems

Flea beetle: Leaves are covered in small holes and damaged areas turn brown. Seedlings are particularly susceptible.

Remedy: Grow plants under horticultural fleece and keep the soil moist. Water in nitrogen-rich fertilser to help the crop outgrow the pest.

More info at rhs.org.uk

Bolting: Plants flower and set seed, rather than producing edible roots. This is usually caused by stress – a cold spell or drought.

Remedy: Sow bolt-resistant varieties and keep the soil moist.

More info at rhs.org.uk

Harvesting

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.

Recipes

An unusual combination that makes a delicious dish such as this roasted squash, sheep’s cheese and hazelnut salad, will keep the vegetarians in your life happy.

Varieties

‘Sky Rocket’: Combines the flavour of wild rocket with salad rocket's speed of growth

‘Runway’: Fast growing

‘Apollo’: A tasty, fast growing form


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
     

Month by month

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Plant out
Harvest

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