Rocket Farming

I may have inadvertently started the potentially great Kapiti Coast rocket (Eruca sativa) weed problem. And I have mixed feelings about it. We simply don’t need any more weeds around this place. But I’m always happy when things self sow, it’s the way things are meant to happen.

The rocket came from certified-organic stock, and I first planted it 2 years ago. It’s been self-seeding regularly which has been fabulous, growing all year round. Now it has started growing in my lawn, proving that it doesn’t need great soil to do well. It’s frost-resistant and drought-tolerant. It does go to seed quickly though.

Many years ago my interest in lettuce waned. It was simply a case of over-use. I was uninspired by salady greeny leafy things until a relative newcomer rocketed into my world and rocked it! Rocket – I love your peppery flavour, the zest you bring into my life. You’re a match made in heaven with tomatoes and you are out of this world with haloumi.

The flowers are really pretty and are a tasty garnish or addition to salads. And a little reading at Plants for a Future suggests that the seeds could make a mustard alternative. The seed yields a semi-drying oil which is a substitute for rapeseed oil. It can also be used for lighting, burning with very little soot. The powdered seed has antibacterial properties.

I love it rocket – it’s one of those plants that deliver on flavour, attractiveness, medicinal and industrial properties. It’s a plant I’ll be nurturing in my garden for a longtime to come.