I had started two seed trays last week, one of herbs and tomatoes and one of rocket, chillies, chives and strawberries, as seen above. I put a heavy handed dusting of compost on top of the herbs and tomatoes and was concerned that it would be a bit too much for the delicate seeds to handle so I have actually started those afresh. The rocket above is properly going for it and thanks to Kay Sexton for pointing out that is why they call it rocket...I had never thought of that before! But that got me thinking, which came first shooting rockets or edible rocket. Presumably rocket was around first but I was wondering if the etymology was related to fireworks or China. I went over to the
Online Etymology Dictionary
to see what I could find out:
The first entry for rocket is:
"garden plant of the cabbage family," 1520s, from M.Fr.
, from It.
, dim. of
"a kind of cabbage," from L.
"colewort," perhaps lit. "hairy caterpillar" (the plant has downy stems) and related to
"hedgehog," also "a beam set with spikes."
The second entry for rocket is:
"projectile," 1610s, from It.
"a rocket," lit. "a bobbin," dim. of
"a distaff," so called because of cylindrical shape.
I was quite interested to find out that the etymology of both words is Italian and that projectile rockets came not long after edible rocket.