Pros: Easy to grow, superb flavor, tolerates cold very well.
Cons: None that I can see.
Arugula Sylvetta is far and away my favorite salad green. I first became familiar with it in Europe, where its robust flavor is widely appreciated. In the US it is sometimes referred to as rocket. I am unsure of its exact relationship to standard arugula, but the Sylvetta variety is easily distinguishable by both appearance and flavor. Unlike plain old arugula, with its lobed shape and flabby texture, Arugula Sylvetta features long spiky leaves with a central stem/rib sturdy enough to give it some form.
Some people find the flavor of Arugula Sylvetta to be too assertive, and the flavor definitely gets more intense and peppery as the plant grows and goes to seed. But I find it palatable even after the plant has gone to seed, though by that time there aren't many leaves left.
I have grown this variety of arugula for several years. Like any arugula variety, it is exceptionally cold hardy. It will overwinter in many zones, and where it cannot overwinter, it will self-sow readily if allowed to set seed, which it will do abundantly. Seed collection is very easy with Arugula Sylvetta once the seed pods have dried. (Incidentally, the seed pods are themselves edible when young and green. They're on the small side, but there are plenty of them, if you're looking for a novel item to include in a stir-fry)
The plants grow very easily in average soils with average moisture. Like most greens, it will tolerate a little shade. It does better in hot weather than my lettuces, which turn very bitter after the mild spring weather. After preparing a bed, all I need to do is scatter the seeds, rake lightly, and give the bed an initial watering. The seeds can germinate, albeit slowly, at temperatures down into the 40s F. This makes Arugula Sylvetta an obvious choice for extended season growing and coldframe cultivation. I have grown Arugula Sylvetta in a small coldframe for three years in a row. After that first planting, I haven't had to reseed, though some light weeding was needed since the coldframe remains propped wide open during the summer months.
I have seen very little insect damage to Arugula Sylvetta. There are some few pinhead holes in the leaves, but nothing beyond that; nothing that would dissuade me from eating the leaves anyway. I've never taken any measures to discourage pests away from this plant. My sense is that there are things more appealing to munch on, to insect pests.
My favorite use for this green is to throw it on top of thin crust pizza the moment it's pulled from the oven. This causes the Arugula Sylvetta to wilt just slightly. It contributes a fantastic flavor to pizza, especially nice when the pizza is topped with a mild cheese. Arugula Sylvetta is also excellent in salads and sandwiches. I have always eaten this green in the raw (or only wilted) state. The leaves are small and tender enough that cooking them has never seemed necessary, and the greens are so flavorful that I don't need to cook them in order to add flavoring ingredients to them. I have heard that some people enjoy making pesto out of Arugula Sylvetta.
If you're looking for an easy to grow salad green that actually tastes like something, look no further. I highly recommend Arugula Sylvetta to novice and experienced gardeners alike.
Other garden reviews
Seeds: Arugula Sylvetta, Peacevine Cherry Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Bleu de Solaize Leek, Kale Lacinato, Spicy Bush Basil, Dark Purple Opal Basil, Purple Ruffles Basil, Sangre Heirloom Potato, La Ratte Heirloom Potato, Cherokee Trail of Tears Soup Bean, Moon & Stars Watermelon,
Tools: Ironwood Dibble, Johnny's 520 Broadfork, Biostack Composter, Hori Hori Garden Knife, Forged Bypass Pruners, Anvil Pruners, Vigoro Polyleaf Rake, Ace Select-A-Spray Garden Nozzle, Buffalo Mud Boots, Pick Mattock
Reference books: Four-Season Harvest, Backyard Composting, 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden, Root Cellaring, Complete Guide to Making Great Garlic Powder, Great Garden Companions, Living with Chickens, Mycelium Running, Apples
Seed Vendors: Seeds of Change, Seed Saver's Exchange, Gourmet Garlic Gardens