Curly endive is a salad green that is appreciated for its crispy fresh leaves, for the ease of its growing and its hardiness.
Summary of curly endive facts
Name – Cichorium endivia or latifolium
Family – Asteraceae
Type – annual
Height – 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary
Harvest – around 6 weeks after sowing
Sowing, planting, caring for it and harvesting will help you get great curly endive.
Sowing curly endive
Curly endive is traditionally grown in summer and fall, but it can also be sown earlier for a harvest in spring.
It is sown directly in the plot in rows from February to October. Starting early is possible, but you’ll need to protect your seedlings from the cold with cold frames, garden cloches or tunnels.
As for summer sowing, know that curly endive loves staying cool to develop well.
- Spring curly endive: sow in a nursery in February or March.
As soon as frost spells are over, you may remove the tunnel.
- Summer curly endive: sow directly in the plot from April to June.
- Fall curly endive: sow in situ from May to June.
- Winter curly endive: sow in a nursery from August to October.
In all cases, thin sprouts down to one every 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) as soon as the first leaves appear.
Did you know that curly endive is perfectly suited to growing in pots? You’ll be able to savor it directly from your balcony or terrace.
Planting curly endive from store-bought nursery pots
If you wish to avoid the seedling stage, it is often possible to purchase your curly endive in a nursery pot, ready to plant.
You can plant them in the ground, either in your vegetable patch or in a garden box on a terrace or balcony.
- Space each curly endive 12 inches (30 cm) apart and water regularly.
- Once again, just plant what you need and repeat planting regularly.
Blanching chicory or curly endive
Farmers like blanching curly endive to remove the bitterness from its leaves before eating.
- This step usually lasts about ten days.
- With string or raffia, raise and bunch the leaves to cluster them around the head.
- Cover with an opaque garden cloche or a terra cotta pot.
- Keep watering if you feel your curly endive needs water.
It is best to blanch only as much as you need to harvest, because once blanched, curly endive won’t keep for very long.
- Certain varieties have the knack to blanch themselves on their own.
Harvesting curly endive
Curly endive resists very well when the first colds hit, and will thus last deep into fall.
After having forced (blanched) them, harvest your curly endive by cutting them off at the root crown.
Growing curly endive in winter
It is possible to harvest curly endive all season round, and even during winter.
- These can be sown from August to October directly in the ground.
As soon as the cold hits, protect your seedlings and plants with a small greenhouse, a tunnel, or any other device that will help your curly endive grow even though temperatures are below freezing, providing as much light as possible.
All there is to know about curly endive
A sub-species of endive, curly endive is rather easy to grow. Curly endive doesn’t require much care during its entire growth phase, except for light regular watering.
An annual belonging to the Asteraceae family, curly endive doesn’t deliver very energy-laden nutrition, but contains high amounts of water and facilitates digestion.
There are also many trace elements, fibers, minerals and vitamins that our bodies require.
- In a nutshell, remember that lettuce is easy to grow and boasts high nutritional content: great assets for any gardener!
Smart tip about curly endive
Stage curly endive sowing dates and varieties to produce curly endive almost all year long.