Arugula Thrives in Vancouver’s Winter Weather

Beyond potatoes and rutabagas... Vancouver's moderate climate allows for a host of interesting green winter veggies.

Credit: Flickr / Elana Amsterdam

Vancouver’s moderate winter climate is ideal for arugula and other greens

Normally, I’d be the last person to give anyone gardening advice but events in our rooftop garden this winter have got me quite excited


When the first cold snap of winter hit Vancouver in November we were completely unprepared. We hadn’t got around to erecting any sort of covering or hoop house over our gardens. Looking at our rooftop gardens covered in snow we mourned for the loss of our arugula and cilantro who had held such promise and died so young.


Days later when the snow had melted, we were pleasantly surprised that not only were our plants still alive, their leaves were a lustrous springtime green. Upon further research we discovered that these plants prefer a cooler climate.


Other plants that do well in Vancouver’s winter conditions:

  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Mesclun lettuces


Post-Christmas blues

Last night, after another gloriously sunny but crisp day in Vancouver, we enjoyed a dinner of barbecued trout and arugula salad; a meal I thought more likely to be enjoyed in New Zealand at Christmas than in Canada. It lifted my spirits from the post-Christmas, post-family blues with promises of Spring foods to come.


Arugula ideas

Beyond making a peppery salad, arugula can also be pestled into a zesty pesto with a little olive oil and lemon juice. It’s a marvellous way to add a fresh taste to potatoes or other traditional wintry dishes.


If you can’t be bothered to pulverize it, arugula is the one “salad leaf” that I can tolerate to be hot. Try stirring it through a bowl of casareccia or fusili pasta with some baked proscuitto, crumbled feta (or chèvre) and a twist of pepper.