Arugula is one of those typically Italian vegetables that has become mainstream in America. And for good reason. It's a delicious green, with a lot more flavor than lettuce, plus it's quick and easy to grow. We offer three types and here is a quick explanation of how they differ:
Arugula Coltivata is the quickest of all types, ready to pick in just 30 days from direct seeding. It tends to be most responsive to temperatures, changing leaf shape and flavor between cool and warm weather. When the weather is hot, the flavor gets spicier and the leaf margins get more deeply scalloped. The leaves are larger than other types and have more substance, so they are a great choice for wilting on pizza or pasta. We offer it in regular and large packets, and in organic seed.
Arugula Ortolani (market grower) is a strain of Arugula Coltivata that was selected for uniform maturity and appearance. The packet is also larger, so it's a good choice for anyone who is growing for market.
Arugula Selvatica is also known as wild arugula. It has a much smaller, deeply serrated leaf than Arugula Coltivata. This is the arugula you have seen on sandwiches at popular chains such as Panera as well as in high-end restaurants. The flavor is generally a little stronger than Coltivata. It takes longer to germinate and grow, ready for harvest in about 50 days. We have it in regular and large packets, as a Special Selection (Extra) and as organic seed.
Olive-leaf arugula behaves much like Selvatica and has a similarly assertive flavor. The leaves are not serrated like Selvatica but are instead smooth on the margins.
In general, all three types are similar in flavor and differ primarily in time to harvest and leaf size and shape, so choosing a favorite is really a matter of personal taste. All are grown the same easy way: sprinkle seed directly in the garden, cover lightly, and keep moist until germination. They don't need to be thinned; just cut leaves as you need them and enjoy!