How to grow rocket leaves from seed

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep

Takes just:

15 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Apr, May

Rocket is best sown between March and September but even late sowings can produce a good crop of spicy, peppery leaves for salads. Keep nipping off the rocket leaves and it will provide rich pickings for weeks, and ensure a continual supply by making successive sowings throughout spring and summer. As autumn approaches, cover crops with sheets of horticultural fleece to keep the cold at bay, and you could be cropping right through to first frosts.

You will need

  • Rocket seed
  • Line for sowing
  • Hoe or trowel

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Use a line to mark out the row. Sowing in a straight line allows you to identify where your rocket seedlings are and which are the weed seedlings to pick off. You'll find a row 1m - 2m long is enough to get you started, so long as you plan further sowings in a few weeks.

There are always plenty of seeds in a packet - usually enough to sow a row up to 6m long. But that would give you a glut all at once, so sow just a small quantity at one time, then sow regularly (known as successional sowing), to harvest over a longer period.

Carefully sow the rocket seeds thinly along the row, spacing them out as evenly as possible. The distance between the seeds should be about 3cm.

Use the edge of a hoe or a trowel to cover the seed lightly with soil. Remove any weed remnants or large stones as you go to ensure the plants have a good start.

Water the seeds in well using a watering can with the rose attached. This means you drench the soil but minimise disturbance to the seeds.

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Flea beetle can be a problem in summer, nibbling holes in rocket leaves. The best defence is to cover the row with a length of horticultural fleece or a fleece-covered mini tunnel.

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