Shout-out for arugula!

My wife and I experimented with some cool-weather crops this fall, our first time doing so since recently relocating to northeastern Washington state (zone 6).  We planted spinach, kale, and arugula from seed in late September, but then winter came early and we had 2 hard freezes (when the temperature drops below 27 degrees f), 10+ frosts, and 3 snowfalls totaling about seven inches, all before the middle of November.  I all but gave up on the crops, but as the snow melted off we were pleasantly surprised that things were still alive, and the arugula was nearly ready to harvest.  Granted, the growth was rather stunted, but after spending a week covered in snow I was amazed we had anything.  The spinach and kale produced enough to garnish a salad, but the arugula stole the show.

Note the frost in this picture!



  • Comments (3)

    • 4

      That sure is awesome! The user @Redneck taught me about cool weather crops last month and I definitely want to try to grow some! Especially if they are as hearty as yours turned out to be.

      • 5

        Yes, give it a try!  If my memory serves correct you are in the mountains of Colorado.  I have a hunch arugula would do quite well there.

    • 6

      My Tuscan kale & collards have handled our freezes well & are still growing.  Had another freeze last night.  Siberian kale can handle even colder temps so you might want to try it.  I understand mature plants with some mulch can handle -20 degrees. As a winter cover crop, I like to grow Austrian winter peas.  They can stay alive as long as it doesn’t get below zero… which never happens anymore here in north Mississippi.  Their growth slows way down in the coldest part of our winters but the leaves stay healthy & green and in the spring, they just explode with new growth.  Being a legume, they fix nitrogen & put it back into the soil.  Best part is, the leaves taste amazing.  If you like to garden & have ever enjoyed raw English peas straight from the garden, well Austrian winter pea leaves taste just like that.  So cool to go out in the middle of winter & pick green, tasty leaves.

      In spring when I’m ready to plant my garden, I just chop down the peas & leave them where they fall.  They continue being ground cover & become green manure as they slowly decompose.  I just plant in and around the dead plants.