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Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S P P              

(Best months for growing Chicory in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant in the garden.

  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 10 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 16-24 weeks. Will need forcing before final harvest.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, onions, Florence fennel, tomatoes.
  • Forced (blanched) witloof
    Forced (blanched) witloof

Harvest - to prepare to store for forcing at around 4-5 months . The second stage, blanching will take 8 - 12 weeks. To Blanch:- Lift the plants and cut off the leaves about 5cm (2in) above the roots. Shorten the roots to about 20-25cm (8-10in) and replant close together (3-5cm apart)in a pot filled with loose soil. Keep damp but not soggy. Cover to exclude light and keep out of the sunlight, but not below 10 C (50 F)

Exclude light until you use the witloof, if it goes green it will be bitter.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chicory

Good in salads
Grill lightly with butter
Bake with ham and cheese

Your comments and tips

05 Feb 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
Would love to grow witlof /chicory where can I buy the seeds, I live in PE, thanks
06 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Eden Seeds have chicory seed. I'm not sure whether they are in far northern NSW or SEQld but you will find them on the internet.
18 Jan 17, Te Pi' (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, I had red lettuce seeds now it appears I actually have some type of dark-red leaved chicory, its very bitter as a lettuce lol, would anyone be able to give me an idea of what variety this might be? Can Chicory and lettuce cross breed at all? Does anyone want some seeds to try out if they germinate etc after harvest?
20 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It appears your 'red lettuce' is aactually Radicchio which has a hot peppery taste. It is generally loved by Italians and there are many recipes on the internet for its use. If it is grown fast with less light it is likely to be les bitter. Sorry I can't help you more. Trust this helps.
01 Feb 17, anna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
well hot peppery does not quite describe the flavour in my eyes. it´s bitter and tangy, needs some getting used to for raw consumption. one of my favourite recipies is risotto with radiicchio or simply slicing it thinnly, add oil, a splash of balsamic/lemon or wine and top with grated blue vain cheese,put under grill for 10 or until tender- eat with toasted white bread ;-)
16 Jan 17, Wilbur van Wyk (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I live in Pretoria and want to know where i can purchase witloof seeds I will appreciate any information Regards Wilbur
24 Aug 16, Peter Reynders (Australia - temperate climate)
Witlof: The Gardenate webpage shows (seed? or seedling -) planting in the diagram to be in June and July . (For Sub-Tropical Australia only - Check other areas: Liz) The above Verbruggen story from Belgium ( quite good) indicates sowing in May. That equates with Australia to about October/November. Q: Can that be changed? Seeds collecting from ones own plants is also indicated there. The root tips cut of for forcing can also be planted in the garden as they also sprout if just at the surface. They may bloom and seed as well. Seed is usually not available in shopping centre seeds racks. But in seed racks of larger nurseries they often are. PR
27 Aug 16, Geoff (Australia - temperate climate)
Chicory, including the red variety called radicchio in Australia, is a very diverse group of plants from small and mid-sized pale and dark green varieties grown for their leaves and stems, variegated red and green heading varieties to red heading varieties with white ribs such as the classic Treviso, palla rossa, rossa di Verona etc. There are also varieties, including witloof or Belgian endive (actually a chicory) that near maturity leaves are cut off at ground level and the roots either lifted and replanted in a dark area such as a cellar or covered by a light-excluding bucket or the like. the shoots are white or pale coloured because they are grown in the dark. Grumolo varieties of chicory are treated similarly, except they are grown with full light exposure after cutting and develop the most attractive rosettes of either red or green leaves. Small cutting chicories such as zuccherina di Trieste can be grown all but mid summer in temperate zones, while the larger varieties, particularly the heading varieties need to mature in cool or cold weather so need to be planted in mid to late summer. Think of them as savoy cabbages or Brussel sprouts.
18 Jun 16, james kwon (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Is available at my area? what is this vegi good for?
30 May 16, (Australia - temperate climate)
where can I buy witloof around Perth?
Showing 1 - 10 of 35 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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