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Endive, chicory, from seed to harvest

Growing endives is easy, especially if you know how to force them

Endive, also called chicory, is a delicious vegetable that is appreciated both raw and cooked.

Core Chicory endive facts

Name – Cichorium
Family – Asteraceae
Type – Vegetable

Height – 8 to 20 inches (20 to 50 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary

Harvest – November to March

Caring for it is easy and the harvest is often abundant if this advice on caring for it is followed.

Planting chicory endive

To grow chicory well, proceed to sow directly in the plot starting from the month of May.

The Nature-and-Garden gardener knows to mix the very tiny seeds with dry sand to make it easier to spread the seeds out when sowing.

  • Space the seedlings by about 10 inches (25 cm) and thin down to 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) as soon as the first leaves have appeared.

Forcing and harvesting endive

Forcing has become much better thanks to the genetic evolution in the past years. It became much easier to succeed and can now be performed in a cellar, large pot or even a crate filled with peat.

  1. In October/November, pull out the plants from where you’ve sown in May.
  2. Cut the leaves down to ½ an inch (1½ centimeters) from the root crown.
  3. Cut the tips of roots, so that they all are the same length.
  4. Find a dark spot: cellar, light tight box, or trench dug out in the field.
  5. Line up the roots next to each other and cover with soil mix or compost.
  6. Harvest 3 to 4 weeks later, breaking the endive off at the base.

It is possible to harvest the endives twice from the same root, at an interval of a few weeks. Simply keep the root in the sand after the 1st harvest.

Smart tip about chicory endive

Don’t throw the roots out after the harvest, because many small “tiny endives” will appear which you can harvest as they appear.

Stage the forcing in time, so that you may harvest endives all winter long.

Read also: health benefits and therapeutic properties of endives

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