Does Arugula Need to be Thinned?

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Does Arugula Need to be Thinned

Growing arugula can be pretty easy. It’s a fast-growing, low maintenance plant that doesn’t have a lot of needs beyond the appropriate soil, water, and lighting.

But many other equally low maintenance plants need to be thinned. Does arugula also need to be thinned?

We’ll answer that question and describe the ideal gardening practices for arugula in this short post.

Quick Answer: Does Arugula Need to Be Thinned?

Whether or not your arugula needs to be thinned depends on one factor: how big do you want it to grow?

If you’re harvesting it when it’s young, it may not need to be thinned. However, if you’re wanting to harvest it when it’s fully grown, you will want to thin it in order to prevent it from growing too densely.

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Arugula Growing Tips

We’ve written about growing arugula before, but we’ll discuss the basics and a few growing tips again here.

Arugula needs soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Once you have this soil, plant your seeds around half an inch deep. Because it needs light to germinate, you can’t put the seeds too deep, or they won’t get the sunlight they need to sprout.

As for location, remember that arugula likes light. Put it somewhere it’s fully exposed to the sun, or somewhere that only has a little light shading.

When it comes to timing, plant your arugula when temperatures are between 40 and 60 degrees. It’s a tougher plant, so it can handle some frosts.  

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The seeds should be about an inch apart. As they start to grow, you can thin the plants down until they’re four to six inches away from each other.

You can harvest arugula at different times depending on what you’re looking for. Most people harvest it when it’s fully grown, at which point the leaves will be a couple inches in length.

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How to Thin Arugula

As your arugula’s leaves get bigger, you’ll want to consider thinning the plants so they don’t grow too close together. Ideally, there will be anywhere from four to six inches of space between each plant after you’ve thinned them.

The process of thinning isn’t that difficult. You can either use scissors or your bare hands.

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Your objective is to trim down the plants until there’s enough room between each one. With scissors, you can just cut them down close to the soil.

If you’re using your hands, you can pinch and pull the plants out. However, be very careful if you do this. Arugula’s root systems grow close together and near the surface of the soil, so pulling them out risks disturbing the roots of neighboring plants.

Check out the below video for a demonstration on how to thin your arugula.

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Wrap Up

Thinning your arugula can be crucial to keeping it healthy, especially if you’re growing it to a full adult size. If you don’t thin your plants, the leaves will grow over each other and prevent them from growing in a healthy manner.

The only reason you wouldn’t thin your arugula is if you’re harvesting it at a very young age, before the plants start to overtake each other’s space.

Fortunately, thinning your arugula is a quick and easy process. Once you’re finished, your plants will thank you for it – and you’ll be able to use the ones you trimmed in your next lunch or dinner.