Common Name: Endive
Botanical Name: Chicorium endiva
Type and Use: Biennial grown as an annual with edible leaves and flowers
Location: Sun to partial shade
Planting Dates: For spring, plant seeds 2-4 weeks before the last average frost. For fall, 8-10 weeks before the first average frost. For best production, use a succession of plantings. In general February 7 - March 15, August 10 - September 30.
Planting Method: Broadcast seed or plant in rows ¼ inch deep. Seeds need light to germinate. When the seedlings have 2-3 leaves, thin to 2 inches on center, later thin to 8-10 inches. The small plants that are removed are excellent for use in salads, or eat them fresh in the garden, if you are a grazer like me.
Seed Emergence: 3-10 days in soil temperatures ranging from 40-85°. Lettuce will germinate as low as 35°.
Harvest Time: 60-80 days
Height: 12-40 inches
Spread: 18-24 inches
Final Spacing: 8-12 inches
Growth Habits: Leafy vegetable plant that grows in a similar manner to lettuce. Chicory forms tall slender heads and endive has looser heads similar to leaf lettuce. Very cold tolerant.
Culture: Endive is related to wild chicory and likes cool weather and growing conditions similar to lettuce. Bitter taste is lessened by freezing temperatures. Warm weather increases bitterness.
Troubles and Solutions: Imported cabbage worms, cabbage loopers, flea beetles, and other insect pests can be controlled with regular foliar feeding, healthy soil, and planting at the right time.
Harvest and Storage: The inner leaves are usually sweeter than the outer leaves. Can be harvested with their roots in the fall and stored in a cool, dark place. Can be grown larger before harvesting in cool weather.
Notes: Chicory is Cichorium intybus. The endive you usually get in restaurants is chicory that is blanched by withholding light for 2-3 weeks which lessens the bitter taste. Radicchio is the red leafed chicory.