Garden witchcraft – the haircut rocket

I live in Perth, Western Australia – or “the Western desert” to quote some Midnight Oil lyrics.

Plants need 3 things to survive and thrive.  Good soil, water and sunshine.  The latter is thankfully in plentiful supply but the soil and water situation is less than ideal.

The solution to all three of these factors is pot gardening.  After moving house a few times I became tired of leaving behind gardens and began growing things in large pots.  The result was an unexpected holistic solution.

Water – less required.

Soil – constantly improving into a nutrient rich growing base.

Sun – move the pots when the sun seasonally shifts.

Other perks are almost zero weeds, the dog can’t dig it up and it’s easy to net and trellis the plants.  So much winning.

I’m going to start with my favourite accidental success, affectionately known as the ‘haircut rocket’.  Perfect for those who want to grow something easy and useful, have no garden space or no time to garden.


The wine guy and I love a bit of peppery rocket – in salads, pasta, topping a pile of scrambled eggs or a pizza.

Find a pot, fill with potting mix and sow a scatter of rocket seeds.  Less is more, every rocket seed you plant will turn into a rocket plant, just like basil.  They are so kind to the newb gardener!

Once your rocket gets to the length you like the taste of (the leaves with increase in bitterness with age/size), it’s time to harvest.  Grab a handful of leaves at the top and chop halfway down with a pair of scissors.  Repeat for the whole pot until you’ve given your rocket a good haircut.

rocket2Depending on your climate, it will take between 3 days and a week for the smaller leaves below the haircut mark to grow to harvest size.



Or until the pot begins to look like the top of Prince William’s head – a little sparse and you can see the soil.  Time to pull the plants, turn the soil a little and plant some more rocket seeds!

Note: the pic above of the haircut rocket includes one uninvited basil plant and the twigs of an old jalapeno bush.  I will post about companion planting further down the gardening path a little..