Before arugula dies, it goes to seed. Its flower stalks turn into waves of slender seed pods, seed pods with a hundred or so tiny seeds. Each flower stalk of arugula has twenty to thirty seed pods. Each arugula plant has twenty to thirty flower stalk, which means each arugula plant produces 40,000 to 90,000 seeds. How many million seeds are in my arugula bed? It boggles the mind.
It is no wonder a bed of arugula will self seed if you let them bloom and go to seed. When the seed pods dry, they pop open and drop all those seeds onto the ground. In the spring, without needing to plant a single plant, a whole bed of arugula will grow all on its own. All I need to do is to thin the bed and keep it weeded.
There are other vegetables that will do this, kale, ruby streaks, chard, magentaspreen, sorrel, poppies, and the list goes on an on. With a little planning and weeding, you can have perpetual beds of produce, growing, blooming, seeding, all on their own. Pick and eat them while they are green. Enjoy their blossoms when they flower. And marvel at the sheer abundance of seed they make. Let them have a good sleep through the winter months, and smile when their shoots pop out of the ground in the spring. The advantage of this method is that you never have to guess when is the right time to plant them. They will sprout on their own when the conditions are just right.